Howard Feller, a McGuireWoods LLP partner who leads the firm’s Antitrust and Trade Regulation Department, is the newly elected chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Antitrust Law, an organization esteemed among competition and consumer protection lawyers and government enforcers globally.
Feller, elected during August’s annual ABA meeting in Boston, heads a section recognized as the worldwide leader in antitrust law education and programs that bring together top lawyers and enforcers from the United States, Canada, the European Union, Latin America, China and other major jurisdictions at a time of unprecedented activity and scrutiny.
“It’s a period of heightened antitrust enforcement in the U.S. and abroad,” Feller said. As a result, he added, the Antitrust Section should fill a greater role internationally as a thought leader on antitrust and consumer protection issues and practices.
“We should spend more time thinking about where the law should be and what laws or enforcement activities should be changed, and we should make more constructive suggestions in that regard,” Feller said. A surge in corporate mergers and acquisitions, particularly in the energy, healthcare, financial services and consumer products sectors, is creating ever greater ferment, he noted.
Feller began his career at McGuireWoods in 1978 and has helped to build the firm’s leading and growing antitrust practice. His practice focuses on antitrust litigation, civil and criminal antitrust investigations, antitrust merger investigations and commercial litigation. He has worked with diverse industries and has deep experience conducting antitrust audits and antitrust compliance training.
“This is a truly profound honor for Howard and for the firm,” said Terry Bagley, McGuireWoods’ deputy managing partner for litigation. “Howard has spent his entire career at the firm, and has headed up many of our largest antitrust matters. To be recognized nationally by his peers in this manner says a lot about his reputation.”
ABA President William C. Hubbard said Feller’s years of service in numerous officer, council and committee capacities makes him a strong choice as the Section’s chair at a challenging time.
“Howard Feller’s 36 years as an antitrust practitioner and more than 25 years of active service in the Section of Antitrust Law leadership have well prepared and equipped him to lead it,” Hubbard said. “In the coming year, under Howard’s leadership, the Section will offer a broad range of programs, publications, and events for members and others interested in antitrust and consumer protection law.”
Ilene K. Gotts, a former Antitrust Law Section chair and a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York, said Feller is superbly positioned for “a very active year for antitrust enforcement and policy setting in the United States and globally.”
“I cannot think of anyone who is better suited for chairing the Section in this upcoming year, given the perspective that he brings from years of private practice experience that covers the antitrust landscape broadly, including class action suits, criminal investigations, Hart-Scott-Rodino filings, counseling, compliance and audits,” she said.
The Antitrust Section is universally respected for its high quality programs and publications, and for its analysis and debate about competition and consumer protection law and policy. Its more than 8,000 members include about 5,000 lawyers from firms, nearly 800 from corporate counsel offices, more than 400 from government and judicial positions, and more than 1,100 from outside the United States. It also includes economists as well as law professors and students.
The Section’s workload is also among the ABA’s busiest. The 28 committees within the Section publish industry-leading newsletters, and they produce up to a dozen video seminars a year and more than 150 committee programs on current antitrust and consumer protection topics. The Section also produces three premier periodicals: the Antitrust Law Journal, Antitrust magazine and The Antitrust Source, an online publication. It presents around six free-standing continuing legal education conferences a year in addition to the annual Spring Meeting, which draws nearly 3,000 attendees from 60 nations and is recognized within the antitrust community as the world’s best source for comprehensive CLE.
Feller’s goals for his term include: improving the way the Section’s programs and publications are delivered to members through greater use of digital video and distance learning alternatives; boosting Section membership among plaintiffs’ lawyers, government lawyers and consumer protection lawyers; and greater outreach to antitrust and consumer protection lawyers outside the United States to accommodate the rapid globalization of business. He also proposes that as a leader in antitrust and consumer protection law, the Section should become more proactive in “idea or thought leadership”.
“Our challenge is to think about how the Section can be more of a thought leader on antitrust and consumer protection issues and practices, and make suggestions as to what we should be doing in this area,” Feller said. “I have asked our committees, task forces and editorial boards to put idea leadership on the agenda of their regular monthly meetings.”
Feller also hopes to draw more junior lawyers into ABA leadership roles and help establish them as preeminent practitioners for decades to come, particularly in antitrust law.
For more information, you can read Howard's introduction to the American Bar Association's Section of Antitrust Law or his recent Q&A session in the Global Competition Review.