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New DOJ Antitrust Chief Expected to Continue Aggressive Enforcement

Posted Jan 4, 2013 7:15 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The new chief of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division is expected to continue to pursue aggressive enforcement of laws barring anticompetitive behavior.

William Baer was confirmed on Sunday, 11 months after his nomination, the New York Times' Dealbook blog reports. The story describes the Arnold & Porter partner as “a Washington fixture” who has “spent his career rotating between private practice and government work.” Baer has twice worked at the Federal Trade Commission, including a post as director of its Bureau of Competition.

Antitrust experts told The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times that Baer is known as a straight shooter who will take a pro-consumer stance. “I don't see any letting up off the pedal by the administration,” said Allan Van Fleet of McDermott Will & Emery, a former chair of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law.

Van Fleet told the BLT that Baer will likely be facing budget constraints, so he will probably focus attention on cartels and mergers that really matter to the economy.

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