President Barak Obama has nominated William J. Baer to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Bill Baer is a widely-respected antitrust expert who was Director of the Bureau of Competition of the Federal Trade Commission during the Clinton Administration. While Baer was its chief competition lawyer, the FTC brought significant cases successfully challenging exclusionary practices and allegedly anticompetitive mergers.
Baer currently is the chair of Arnold & Porter’s global antitrust/competition practice group and maintains offices in Washington, D.C. and Brussels, Belgium. He has represented well known companies in a variety of merger and conduct matters.
Baer’s long experience as a competition law enforcer and private practitioner in the U.S. and Europe lead many to believe he will be an effective head of the Antitrust Division. Greenberg Traurig’s Irving Scher and Allan Van Fleet joined other Former Chairs of the American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law in a letter to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee urging swift confirmation of Baer. However, Senate Republicans have vowed to block all of President Obama’s nominations for high Justice Department posts, and it is far from certain that there will be any vote on Baer’s appointment before the November election.