The following is an excerpt from Practice Perspectives: Vault's Guide to Legal Practice Areas.
Julia K. York, Partner—Antitrust/Competition
Julia York has represented numerous global corporations in various industries, including pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, energy, and financial markets, in both litigation and transactional matters. Ms. York also counsels clients on various antitrust matters and has participated on panels discussing antitrust issues relevant to the pharmaceutical industry. Ms. York actively works on pro bono matters, including representing various amici curiae on briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court and various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. She has been named in The Legal 500 U.S.
Ms. York is a co-chair of Skadden’s Washington, DC, women’s affinity group. She completed her J.D. at Columbia University School of Law and received her B.A. from Amherst College.
Describe your practice area and what it entails.
My practice area is antitrust and competition. Skadden handles all types of antitrust matters, including mergers and acquisitions, litigation, and investigations. My practice focuses on antitrust litigation and government investigations. I work on complex litigation matters from complaint through to trial or settlement and on Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice investigations (both merger- and conduct-related). I have a particular interest in antitrust issues facing the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the intersection of antitrust and intellectual property law.
What types of clients do you represent?
I represent a variety of clients from a wide spectrum of industries, including the pharmaceutical sector (such as Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.), the payments sector (such as Visa Inc.), the telecommunications industry (such as Sprint Corp. and Nokia), and metals warehousing (such as Glencore affiliate Access World [USA] LLC). Many of the clients I represent are large multinational companies, while others are primarily U.S. based.
What types of cases/deals do you work on?
I have been fortunate to work on a number of high-profile matters. One of the high points of my career was getting to work on FTC v. Actavis, which went before the Supreme Court in 2013. More recently, I have worked on various merger litigation matters, such as New York v. Deutsche Telekom, in which a group of state attorneys general unsuccessfully sought to block the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, and United States v. Sabre Corp., in which the DOJ unsuccessfully sought to block Sabre’s acquisition of Farelogix. Currently, I am working on United States v. Visa Inc., in which the DOJ is seeking to block Visa’s acquisition of Plaid Inc. I also work on multidistrict antitrust class action litigations and government investigations.
How did you choose this practice area?
During law school, I developed an interest in antitrust because of the way it really reflects an intersection of law, business, and economics. For antitrust matters, it is critically important to gain a deep understanding of the industry and its participants as well as how competition works. I also love research and writing, and very much enjoy digging into antitrust case law to understand how the law has been developed by the courts.
What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?
A typical day might involve meeting with my team working on a given litigation to discuss case status and tasks to move the matter forward. If we’re working on briefing, I’m often editing outlines or the briefs themselves. If I’m preparing for a deposition or a hearing, I will review the relevant documents/briefs/case law. These days, I’m attending meetings with clients and co-counsel via Webex. I am co-chair of Skadden’s Washington, DC, women’s affinity group, and we meet regularly to plan upcoming events.
What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?
I think taking an antitrust class in law school is certainly helpful, and having an understanding of and interest in economics is a plus.
What do you like best about your practice area?
I really enjoy working with clients in diverse industries—getting to know the industry and the competitive dynamics is something I find both interesting and challenging. I also love reading cases, brief-writing, and thinking creatively to find unexpected analogies across different types of antitrust cases. In addition, I enjoy working collaboratively with my colleagues to develop the strategic direction for my matters.
What is unique about your practice area at your firm?
Our practice area is somewhat unique in that we do both transactional and litigation work. Our practice group has lawyers across offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia, enabling us to serve clients globally.
What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?
At our firm, junior lawyers become involved in all aspects of our matters. On transactional matters, for example, they may perform a quick overlap analysis for a proposed merger to understand where antitrust issues might arise. On litigation matters, a junior associate would typically perform legal research, become the point-person for the facts of the case, and assist with deposition preparation and other discovery matters, among other tasks.
What are some typical career paths for lawyers in this practice area?
Lawyers who are interested in antitrust typically start out at either a firm or the government (FTC or DOJ). Several lawyers from our group have moved over to the government, and a number have come back to the private sector following senior government experience. Some larger companies also have in-house antitrust positions.