The U.S. Senate today unanimously confirmed Bill Baer as the Department of Justice’s Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division.
Albert Foer, president of the American Antitrust Institute, welcomed the news.
“Bill Baer is extremely well qualified by virtue of a diverse past experience, in and out of government, and by personal character and talent,” Foer said.
“He has demonstrated a commitment to the goals and institutions of antitrust and can be expected to provide strong leadership to the Antitrust Division at a time it will be under budgetary challenges, a probable merger wave, and an economy already constrained by excessive concentration. The Division has benefitted from three excellent acting heads, but having the stability of a Senate-approved leader after a long hiatus will be important.”
Attorney General Eric Holder welcomed Baer as a “highly-skilled and well-respected antitrust lawyer who understands the importance of promoting competition in order for consumers to reap the benefits of lower prices and better quality products and services.”
“I have no doubt that he will lead the Antitrust Division effectively in its vigorous enforcement of the antitrust laws,” Holder said.
Since January 2000, Baer was a partner and head of Arnold & Porter LLP’s Antitrust Practice Group in Washington, D.C.
Baer’s practice included providing counsel on a broad range of antitrust and consumer protection issues, including international cartel investigations and merger and acquisition reviews in the United States and the European Commission.
He has extensive antitrust experience in various industries, including high tech, intellectual property, communications and health care.
Baer also served as a partner at the firm from 1983 to 1995 and as an associate from 1980 to 1983.
From April 1995 to October 1999, Baer was the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Director of the Bureau of Competition.
During that time, the FTC achieved significant enforcement successes, including blocking anticompetitive mergers involving two major office supply stores and of the four leading drug wholesalers.
Under his leadership, the commission also successfully challenged exclusionary practices in a variety of industries, including toys, high tech and the leading brand name and generic drug manufacturers.
From 1975 to 1980, Baer also served in other positions at the FTC, including Assistant General Counsel for Legislation & Congressional Relations, Assistant to Chairman Michael Pertschuk, and as a trial attorney and Assistant to the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Baer received his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1975, and served as editor of Stanford’s Law Review.
He received his B.A. from Lawrence University in 1972 where he graduated Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.