Conversations with Practitioners is our ongoing series in which we ask current practitioners about their careers.
1. What do you currently do?
I am an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition, in the Mergers I division.
2. What does your job entail?
The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition enforces the nation’s antitrust laws. The antitrust laws promote vigorous competition and protect consumers from anticompetitive mergers and business practices, such as monopolistic conduct, attempts to monopolize, and conspiracies in restraint of trade.
There are four mergers divisions within the Bureau of Competition that examine potentially anticompetitive conduct in the context of mergers and acquisitions. The mergers divisions are segmented by industry. The Mergers I division where I work reviews transactions in health care-related industries, including branded and generic pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution, medical devices, and consumer health products, as well as matters involving scientific, industrial, and consumer products. The division has also been active in technology markets, such as those involving internet advertising and audience measurement services. With each case, we delve into a new industry to figure out who the market participants are and how competition works. Ultimately, we want to understand how U.S. consumers may be affected by the proposed transaction (for example, would prices likely increase? Would consumers lose one of only a limited number of options available to them?).
3. What drew you to doing this kind of work?
I was introduced to the FTC through internship experiences. In college, I was a paralegal intern with the Bureau, and in law school I was an intern in Mergers I for both my 1L and 2L summers. I loved the work and got a great feel for what life would be like as an attorney here. I was treated like part of the team and responsibilities included conducting interviews with witnesses, writing portions of our internal memos, reviewing internal company documents, and writing customer/competitor affidavits.
4. Do you have any advice for current law students who are interested in working in your industry (or law students in general)?
If you think you might be interested in antitrust law, I highly recommend that you take advantage of UVA’s antitrust law curriculum. You should also try to make the most of the summer and semester internship opportunities that are available. For example, you can get direct exposure to antitrust law through the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, a law firm, or a State AG’s office. Don’t be shy about reaching out to your UVA alum network at these institutions to learn more.
I’ll also note that, while our internship programs are unpaid, the Bureau of Competition is unique in that we hire heavily out of our 2L summer program. We’re looking for students that have demonstrated an interest in antitrust law.
Aylin Skroejer is an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition. She is also the intern coordinator for Mergers I and is responsible for supervising, mentoring, and training interns in her division. Aylin is a 2009 graduate of UVA Law and a 2006 graduate of UVA, where she majored in economics.