The American Antitrust Institute (AAI) presented William J. Baer with the 2017 Alfred E. Kahn Award for Antitrust Achievement during the luncheon program at AAI’s 18th Annual Conference on June 21. Baer recently served as Acting Associate Attorney General and was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Baer was introduced by Renata B. Hesse, former Acting Assistant Attorney General at the Antitrust Division and partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.
“The AAI is delighted to honor Bill as the 2017 award recipient, particularly as we explore the value of antitrust in this year’s Annual Conference program,” said AAI President Diana Moss.
The award honors outstanding contributions to the field of antitrust. Moss explained, “Bill continues to be the front-runner in the antitrust community. He has effectively applied his insight, vision, and leadership to promote antitrust as a key policy tool for protecting markets, the competitive process, consumers, and innovators.”
Baer’s career has spanned decades of public service as an antitrust enforcer and leadership of the antitrust bar in private practice. At the DOJ, Baer led key civil and criminal actions as part of a vigorous enforcement program in critical industries such as airlines, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, high technology, energy, financial services, beer, and consumer products. Under his leadership, the Antitrust Division addressed both traditional and emerging competition issues. These novel challenges included, among others, prosecuting online price-fixing agreements, preserving competition in innovation markets, and tackling issues at the intersection of competition and intellectual property law.
During his DOJ tenure, Baer was the first to frame an enforcement approach to certain uniquely large mergers, which are difficult to remedy without suppressing the public’s interest in competitive markets and consumer choice. Instituting a progressive enforcement agenda at the Antitrust Division, Baer recognized the importance of other tools and programs to enhance awareness of markets, competition, and consumers. These included broader and deeper cooperation with other federal regulatory agencies and state enforcers, technical assistance and coordination on international enforcement and policy issues, and key advocacy initiatives.
From 1995 to 1999, Baer was the Director of the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Between 1975 and 1980, he held a number of positions at the FTC, including Assistant General Counsel for Legislation and Congressional Relations and Attorney Advisor to the FTC Chairman.
In private practice, Baer was a partner at Arnold and Porter from 1983 to 1995. From 2000 to 2012 he served as head of the firm’s antitrust practice, handling complex civil and criminal investigations and litigation in the antitrust and trade regulation areas. Baer is returning to the firm on June 1.
Baer is the past recipient of numerous awards that recognize his influence and contributions to advancing competition law as a practitioner, enforcer, and policymaker. In 2015, the FTC honored him with the Miles W. Kirkpatrick Lifetime Achievement Award for public service.
Baer received his Bachelors of Art degree, cum laude, from Lawrence University and his Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School. He joins past honorees: Joel Klein, Robert Pitofsky, F.M. Scherer, Alfred Kahn, Lloyd Constantine, Thomas Leary, Senators Herb Kohl and Mike DeWine, Maxwell Blecher, John Shenefield, Eleanor Fox, Steven Salop, Mario Monti, Roger Noll, Kathleen Foote, John Connor, Donald Baker, and Jonathan Cuneo.