Clinics

New York State Attorney General’s Office - Antitrust Enforcement Externship

LW.12703 / LW.12704
Professor Bryan Bloom
Professor Amy McFarlane
Open to 2L, 3L and LLM students
Maximum of 6 students
Spring semester
5 credits*
Prerequisite or co-requisite: Antitrust Law **

Course Description

State attorneys general have increasingly taken on the mantle of antitrust enforcement. New York has been at the forefront of this effort, and the Attorney General’s Antitrust Bureau has used its broad enforcement powers on behalf of the People of the State of New York in a wide variety of areas, including challenging monopolization schemes, cartels, mergers, and other arrangements that threaten to raise prices for consumers. This course affords students the opportunity to learn and experience antitrust enforcement from the perspective of state government, and to develop skills in legal research, writing, investigative techniques, and litigation. The externship is comprised of a seminar and fieldwork in the Antitrust Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

Fieldwork

The fieldwork portion of the externship will consist of placement in the Antitrust Bureau, where students will devote 15 hours per week. AAG supervisors will assist students with getting assignments in their areas of interest and balancing workload. Supervisors will also maintain an active dialogue with externship professors concerning student progress with the goal of providing regular feedback on student performance.

The work of the Antitrust Bureau is described below:

The Antitrust Bureau is responsible for enforcing the antitrust laws to prevent anticompetitive practices, and to promote competition in New York State. The Bureau enforces New York State’s antitrust laws (the Donnelly Act) and also has the authority to sue for violations of federal antitrust laws (the Sherman and Clayton Acts). The Antitrust Bureau’s responsibilities include: using the Attorney General’s extensive investigative powers to probe into any arrangement or activity that appears to violate the antitrust laws; taking legal action to prevent or enjoin anticompetitive practices that are harmful to the public; and commencing civil or criminal actions against parties that have violated the antitrust laws to obtain damages and/or civil or criminal penalties.

Seminar

The seminar will meet for two hours each week and will be graded based on class participation, written submissions, and performance during assigned in-class presentations. The seminar is also open to Columbia law students, but will be limited to 12 students to encourage active discussion and dialogue. The seminar will be led by Bryan Bloom, Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Bureau, and Amy McFarlane, Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Bureau. Classes will also feature guest speakers, including executive staff.

The seminar will provide opportunities to study the work of the Antitrust Bureau in detail, discuss case studies drawn from recent enforcement work, gain familiarity with various legal issues related to antitrust law, reflect on fieldwork, and develop skills in legal writing, investigatory techniques, and litigation. The seminar will include the following topics

  • an exploration of the various phases of a law enforcement investigation, including initial intake, witness interviews, oral and written discovery, developing investigative and litigation strategy, and settlement negotiations;
  • an overview of the major substantive laws relevant to the work of the Antitrust Bureau;
  • strategic and practical considerations governing when it is appropriate to collaborate with state and federal government agencies;
  • ethical issues in government investigations, including the differing ethical standards for private and public sector attorneys, and the balance between protecting confidentiality and maintaining transparency through public statements and information disclosure; and
  • the intersection between antitrust and technology, including using data analysis and other cutting-edge investigative tools to detect wrongdoing as well as anticipating and investigating problems arising from the spread of new technologies.

The class will examine these topics through active participatory discussion, skills exercises, and drafting assignments. Readings will be assigned each week and will be provided in advance of class. Students will be asked to complete short journal writing assignments related to assigned readings or reflecting on fieldwork experience

Application Procedure

Students who wish to apply to the Antitrust Enforcement Externship should submit via CAMS the standard application, resume, transcript, writing sample (preferably not more than five pages long), and two references (include their names and contact information at the bottom of your resume). These materials will be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office; students should not apply directly to the Office. Each applicant should explain why s/he is interested in this externship in the application. Applicants will be interviewed at the Attorney General’s offices at 28 Liberty Street, New York, New York.

Security Background Check

Students selected for the externship will also be required to pass a security background check overseen by the Attorney General’s Legal Recruitment Bureau. Students will be provided with additional paperwork relating to this process upon selection for the externship. A favorable determination from Legal Recruitment is required before an extern may begin working in the Attorney General’s Office. Students accepted for the externship should complete the required paperwork as soon as possible after acceptance into the externship so that final approval from Legal Recruitment can be timely obtained.

Student Contacts

The students listed below participated in LW.12652 / LW.12653 in Fall 2018 and completed their fieldwork in the Antitrust Bureau. They would be happy to be contacted by any prospective students.

Ryan Fackler
Samuel Himel
Frances Jennings
Ryan Knox
Arielle Koppell
Will Taylor


* The 5 credits consist of 3 clinical (fieldwork) credits for working 15 hours per week at the NYS Attorney General’s Office, and 2 academic seminar credits per semester. This class is offered on a Credit/Fail basis for fieldwork, and is graded for the seminar.

** Students who take LW.12652 / LW.12653 are not eligible to take this course but may apply for both courses.