Lieff Cabraser partner Dean Harvey provided a wealth of useful content to Law360‘s recent article, “5 Career Tips For Aspiring Antitrust Lawyers.” The piece, which seeks to instruct fledgling competition attorneys on developing their skill set, contains numerous tips and guidelines for mastering antitrust law and carving out a practice aimed at becoming “a top-tier antitrust practitioner.”
Amid a field of recommendations including “be a generalist” and “stay up on current events,” Harvey’s advice focuses on keeping to the high road, developing an expertise in microeconomics, and the experience and knowledge he gained in government work prior to entering private practice.
Before joining Lieff Cabraser, Harvey completed brief stints at two of the DOJ’s antitrust offices, then clerked for a California federal judge and spent time at Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP, where he represented both plaintiffs and defendants.
“I think all of those experience have been terrifically valuable,” Harvey said. “It’s easy, when you’re on one side, to convince yourself that you’re right. But when you have those kinds of experiences, you are better equipped to anticipate arguments that the other side will make and form more accurate predictions of what a judge is likely to do.”
Harvey, who once planned to become a political scientist with an economic theoretical orientation, also noted that he has found plenty of application for economic thinking in his legal career. “Basic microeconomic theory informs all kinds of cases, from a monopolization case to a price-fixing case to a merger case,” he said.
Apart from the theoretical side of economics, antitrust lawyers can benefit from some training in the statistical methods economists use, Harvey said. Lawyers who have personally built regression models are more likely to understand the uses and abuses of such models, putting them in a better position to work with expert economists in litigation, he said.
Harvey noted that antitrust lawyers should aim to bring some life into their writing, despite the many technical details that matter in antitrust cases. “I think there’s a danger of making it too dry because it’s so driven by economics and complicated issues
that you can lose sight of the human story,” he said. “Very often, briefs read like a painful upper-division textbook that you’d rather not read.”
While antitrust lawyers should emphasize the actions of real people, they shouldn’t cross the line into personal attacks, Harvey said. Particularly in antitrust cases involving alleged criminal conduct, there may be a dangerous temptation to hurl insults.
“If it’s a criminal price-fixing conspiracy, you should call it out for what it is and be quite honest about it, but do it with the facts,” Harvey said. “Do it with quotes from killer depositions where people admit things. Find the most damning piece of evidence and use that instead of some empty, insulting summary or shorthand that doesn’t really tell you anything.”
Harvey recommended that young antitrust lawyers choose to work with, and learn from, more senior attorneys who emphasize facts rather than hyperbole in their writing.
About Dean Harvey
A partner in Lieff Cabraser’s San Francisco office, Dean Harvey represents individuals and companies in antitrust, business tort, employment, and intellectual property litigation. His cases seek to remedy and prevent wrongful conduct by dominant firms. These precedent-setting lawsuits concern a wide variety of industries and markets. Remedies include reimbursing purchasers who have overpaid for price-fixed products; preventing monopolists from stifling innovation and eliminating competition; and obtaining damages for businesses, inventors, and copyright owners.
Mr. Harvey was a leader in the High-Tech Antitrust class action against Google, Apple, Intel and other tech giants for allegedly conspiring to suppress the mobility and compensation of their technical employees. This landmark case resulted in the largest recovery (by far) of any class action asserting antitrust claims in the employment context: $435 million. Mr. Harvey continues the fight to ensure that employees receive competitive compensation, currently representing a doctor in a class action alleging an unlawful no-hire agreement between the medical schools of Duke University and the University of North Carolina.