What every lawyer needs to know about antitrust laws

Issue October 2014

Hollis Salzman and Kellie Lerner, two partners with Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi LLP, will be speaking on Oct. 15 about the key antitrust issues all lawyers should be aware of when counseling their clients. Specifically, Salzman and Lerner will provide a primer on the most important aspects of antitrust law that affect businesses.

For example, the antitrust laws are designed to protect businesses from the harmful effects of anticompetitive conduct, such as unlawful monopolization and collusion by the large, powerful companies from which they purchase goods. Small businesses are often the first and most directly affected victims of anticompetitive activity because suppliers control the price, availability and other essential inputs that they need to transact business and make products. Thus, when suppliers violate the antitrust laws, businesses face higher prices, lower quality products, poor service and fewer options. The result is higher costs and lower profit margins.

With a basic tutorial on antitrust law, lawyers will be able to advise their clients on the fundamentals of antitrust law so that they can both avoid antitrust scrutiny and know what to look for to avoid being harmed by antitrust violations themselves.

Additionally, Salzman and Lerner will explain the process for submitting a claim when an antitrust class action case results in a large settlement that impacts businesses. An antitrust class action lawsuit is one brought on behalf of many similarly situated plaintiffs (in legal parlance, "class members"), which alleges that a company or companies have engaged in anticompetitive practices.

While some antitrust lawsuits go to trial, many settle beforehand. When a class action lawsuit settles, notice is sent to class members to advise them of the pending settlement and their rights. Generally, a claim form is sent some time after the notice of the settlement. Class members, including businesses, often ignore these claim forms because of the mistaken belief that they are not worth the time to complete. Yet in a recent distribution of combined settlements in a high-profile antitrust case, the average monetary recovery was $67,850. Thus, lawyers can provide a substantial value to their clients by advising them on the proper procedures for submitting a claim form in an antitrust class action. Salzman and Lerner will walk through these procedures so that you can provide this service to your clients in the future.

To learn more about these issues and other hot antitrust topics, please join us on Oct. 15 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for a lively discussion followed by a networking reception.