The following is an excerpt from Practice Perspectives: Vault's Guide to Legal Practice Areas.
Jeremy Calsyn, Partner—Antitrust
Jeremy Calsyn is based in Cleary’s Washington, DC, office. His practice focuses on the full range of antitrust matters, including merger review, criminal and civil government investigations, and litigation. Recently, he has navigated several automotive parts suppliers through U.S. DOJ and worldwide investigations into alleged industry-wide price fixing—described by the DOJ as the largest criminal investigation it has ever undertaken. He joined the firm in 1999 and became a partner in 2008. From 2000-2001, Jeremy served as law clerk to the Honorable Louis F. Oberdorfer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Jeremy has been recognized for his antitrust work by Chambers USA, Chambers Global, The Legal 500 U.S., Benchmark Litigation, and Global Competition Review. He was named an “M&A and Antitrust Trailblazer” by The National Law Journal and to GCR’s “40 Under 40 Most Talented Young Competition Lawyers.” Jeremy is vice chair of the ABA Antitrust Law Section, Cartel and Criminal Practice and previously served as a member of the ABA Antitrust Law Section’s International Cartel Task Force.
Jeremy earned his J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center in 1999 and a B.S., summa cum laude, from Southwest Missouri State University in 1995.
Describe your practice area and what it entails.
Cleary Gottlieb’s antitrust practice is actively involved in high-profile transactions with the most interesting antitrust issues, closely watched cartel and monopolization investigations, and high-stakes antitrust litigations. We serve clients in all areas of antitrust law, including pre-merger notification and related advocacy efforts before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the European Commission, and other global agencies; every type and stage of government investigation; a wide range of civil and criminal antitrust litigation; and general antitrust counseling. We are the only law firm top-tier ranked for antitrust in both the United States and Europe by Chambers Global (2011-20), are the only “Band 1” Antitrust firm in Washington according to Chambers USA (2019), and are ranked No. 1 in the “Global Elite” for Antitrust by Global Competition Review (2020). Recently, we were named Law360’s 2019 Competition/Antitrust Practice Group of the Year and Benchmark Litigation’s Antitrust Firm of the Year.
What types of clients do you represent?
Our practice advises clients from the United States and all over the world across all major industries. Current clients include American Express, Applied Materials, Broadcom, The Dow Chemical Corporation, Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile, Fox Corporation, GlaxoSmithKline, Google, Keurig, Sabre, Samsung, Lenovo, United Technologies Corporation, Sanofi, Western Digital, and Whirlpool.
What types of cases/deals do you work on?
Unlike some other firms, Cleary Gottlieb’s Antitrust group does not specifically assign attorneys to particular specialty areas or industries. Our antitrust lawyers are able to handle transactions, litigation, and investigations across a number of industries. Like most of my colleagues, I work on a range of matters in many different industries. My transactional matters have included: Western Digital/SanDisk, Medtronic/Covidien, Asahi Kasei/Polypore International, ArcelorMittal/ThyssenKrupp Steel USA, JUUL Labs/Altria, Dollar Thrifty/Hertz, Dow/Rohm & Haas, and Google/Admeld.
I am also advising several companies in ongoing investigations by the DOJ, the European Commission, and other antitrust authorities into possible price fixing and in related class action litigation. Recent matters include representing several automotive parts suppliers in worldwide cartel investigations, and related civil litigation; and representing “K” Line in winning the dismissal of price-fixing class actions brought in federal court and later at the Federal Maritime Commission by direct and indirect purchasers of ocean vehicle carrier services.
How did you choose this practice area?
When I graduated law school, I intended to become a corporate transactional lawyer and I started in that area at Cleary. Soon after I started, I struck up a conversation at dinner with some lawyers who were doing antitrust work and asked them to keep me in mind for their next project. They later offered me the opportunity to join the antitrust team involved in the review of the Dow-Union Carbide merger. I jumped at the chance and found that I enjoyed the opportunity to learn the details of a client’s business, products, competition, and pricing strategies, as well as the economic and advocacy experience that a merger review involves. After that transaction, there was no looking back. I was later able to expand my antitrust work more broadly into criminal defense and civil litigation involving antitrust claims and issues—as well as merger analysis and advocacy.
What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?
Our practice varies so much; there isn’t really a typical day. In the antitrust merger area, a day could involve participating in calls/meetings with business people to learn about their products and their business in order to analyze a possible transaction, preparing advocacy papers, or participating in meetings with the antitrust regulators regarding the transaction—typically arguing why the transaction does not raise competition concerns. Sometimes these cases involve trials and preliminary injunction proceedings in various courts and agencies. At Cleary, these projects often require consideration of jurisdictions in Asia, Europe, and South America, as well as the United States, and involve collaborating with our colleagues abroad.
In the criminal antitrust area, a week may involve interviews of company employees regarding conduct under investigation, calls with overseas counsel to coordinate the internal investigation and analysis, and meetings or interviews with prosecutors. In the civil area, a week may involve preparing court filings, appearing at hearings, taking or defending depositions, or participating in discovery efforts regarding the lawsuit at issue.
What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?
Obviously, taking antitrust in law school is a good idea. If you can take economics/law and other economics courses, those will help as well. If you are interested in criminal work, it’s a good idea to have a strong base in criminal procedure and criminal law. As to skills development, the practice of antitrust law involves a great deal of litigation advocacy. As an advocate, a good antitrust lawyer needs to be able to analyze a wide range of facts to build a case. This requires strong writing and oral advocacy skills and an ability to work with clients directly. While in law school, clinics and trial practice courses can help provide the direct experience needed to hone these skills.
What is the most challenging aspect of practicing in this area?
The breadth of the practice is a very positive aspect of antitrust, but it can also be a challenge to keep up with the latest developments across all areas of the practice. We are fortunate to have a great staff and an excellent practice group that coordinates to ensure we have timely training and updates on new developments.
What do you like best about your practice area?
The best aspects of my practice include the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of companies and products from around the world and how their industries operate; the opportunities for client interaction that the work provides; and the ability to use legal skills in a wide variety of areas—civil litigation, regulatory advocacy, corporate transactional work, and criminal investigations.
What misconceptions exist about your practice area?
When I started at the firm, I thought antitrust was a narrow niche practice area. I now know that it is a very broad, substantive area that allows opportunities in litigation, corporate transactional work, regulatory work—domestically and internationally—and criminal work.
Antitrust is also increasingly international—I regularly work with colleagues at Cleary not only in Europe, but also in Latin America and Asia and other law firms across the globe.
What is unique about your practice area at your firm?
Three features make Cleary’s Antitrust practice unique. First, within the antitrust practice area, most lawyers work across several areas of the antitrust spectrum, whether it is criminal antitrust work, merger work, or civil antitrust litigation. Our lawyers are experts in all of these areas and are able to see a deal through, all the way to defending it in court if necessary. Second, most of our matters involve international issues and the coordination of work across jurisdictions as a result of the history of the firm and our global reputation. This is an area where Cleary excels, thanks to our strong global integration. Finally, our Antitrust group stands out due to the strength we have at all levels of our practice—from senior partners to junior partners to associates. This is no accident; we consistently give our associates autonomy and responsibility as soon as they can handle it and invest the time to help them develop their skills. We consistently receive positive feedback from clients on the quality of advice our associates give, and it’s not uncommon for a Cleary mid-level associate to work comfortably across the table from a partner at a peer firm.