Judges confront businesses and competition in their courtrooms every day. Whenever a dispute involves the interplay between government and the private sector, for example, judicial decisions will affect markets in ways obvious and subtle, large and small. A multidisciplinary understanding of business behavior and competition policy is therefore uniquely valuable to judges. It allows them to better understand the impact of their decisions on litigants, other businesses, consumers, and the public interest. Equipped with this knowledge, judges can make better judgments. It is therefore important that judges have a current understanding of the state of expert thinking about how businesses behave and compete in a market driven economy.
In September 2010, the American Antitrust Institute began developing a judicial education program integrating law, economics, and business administration concepts. This process involved numerous steps, including surveying the judicial education programs already available and hosting curriculum development conferences. AAI also interviewed a multitude of experts, including federal and state judges, academics, government staffers and officials, practicing plaintiff and defense attorneys, private and academic business and economic consultants, and international business and competition experts. AAI’s research culminated in a partnership with the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), the Stanford Program in Law, Science, and Technology (LST), and the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) to host an annual seminar – Business Behavior and Competition Policy in the Courtroom: Current Challenges for Judges.
Joined by other renowned lecturers and guest speakers, the core faculty leading each of the previous programs has included:
- The Honorable Jeremy D. Fogel, Judge, United States District Court, Northern District of California; Director, Federal Judicial Center
- Susan C. Athey, The Economics of Technology Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business; Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economics Policy Research
- Mark A. Lemley, William H. Neukom Professor of Law, Stanford Law School; Director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science & Technology
- Roger G. Noll, Professor of Economics, Emeritus, Stanford University; Co-Director of Program on Regulatory Policy, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR)
Reviews from past attendees:
- “The Seminar provides a unique setting to spend time with a diverse blend of economic experts and judges to discuss marketplace behavior and the corresponding development of regulatory legal principles.”
- “I would recommend it because it gives a view from 30,000 feet as opposed to the very individualized cases that we see. It provides a really good perspective of anti-trust that we don’t normally see. Overall it was a very good program.”
- “It provides a better understanding of the upcoming challenges in dealing with the intersection/collision of antitrust/patent/consumer protection issues in the realm of technical issues.”
- “[I found it useful] (1) to be asked to think about the ways in which the existing antitrust law might not capture current instances of anticompetitive conduct; (2) to learn about the economics of multi-sided platforms; and (3) to learn about the tension between patent law and antitrust law. . . . I have an economics background, so I don’t know how representative my experience was, but I had a lot of fun.”
- “Learned what critical questions in antitrust and patent litigation to ask through the in-depth, candid, and complicated issues discussed with the economists and other guest speakers. I recommend this seminar because: (1) the lectures were phenomenal, (2) the discussions on complicated economic issues insightful, honest, and candid, and (3) the interaction with the other judges attending the conference delightful.”
- “I found the discourse among judges and intimate setting (not too many participants) the better aspects of the seminar. I think this program gives judges space to analyze these difficult academic issues outside the context of advocacy. I found the panelists to be extremely knowledgeable.”
- “The discussion has been helpful in determining how to question experts, manage these cases, and better understand why businesses act the way they do.”
- “The most useful aspect was [having the] economists express antitrust activity and the terms of such activity as gray as opposed to black and white. Knowing that fact makes the decision-making easier in terms of preparing for trial.”