Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for September 2010

Back on track + yet another discussion on LLMs

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Last Monday I returned to real life (i.e. the office) after a great year in the U.S. and a more or less sabbatical summer.

Since my return, I´ve read several discussions regarding  competition lawyers and LLMs  (see e.g. Nicolas´ tweet a couple of weeks ago). Several people have asked me for an opinion, so I though it could be interesting to share some very personal advice for those considering enrolling in an LLM.

If you can, do it. If you have the possibility and the means (there are plenty of scholarships and other sorts of financial aid) to take one year off work to pursue an LLM, do it. Whether you´re interested in deepening your knowledge on one area; in exploring diverse fields; in acquiring a taste of common law; in experiencing other teaching methods; or plainly in profiting from an extraordinary personal experience, do it.

Be real about what you expect. An LLM will help you broaden your horizons (as I´ve written here earlier: the world is much larger than our desk at a firm); it might open new doors; it should provide enormous personal enrichment; and you would surely learn a lot. However, it won´t transform you, professionally speaking. In my experience, excellent lawyers come back as they were, and crappy lawyers do too.

Don´t take admission decisions too seriously. If you´re admitted by a top-notch school, that doesn´t mean you´re any better than those who are not there (I´ve met a surprisingly high number of people who think that way): most truly brilliant people do not even have the possibility of applying to these programs. On the other hand, if you are rejected, be conscious that there are random elements unrelated to your skills that influence these decisions and don´t quit trying.

Don´t look for “THE best LLM”. Choose a particular program depending on your interests. Ivy League schools offer incredible “brand recognition” and generally have superb faculties. However, the quality of teaching is very similar in other places (at least in my case learning mostly takes place reading and reflecting, and you can do that anywhere) which also offer complements such as specialized programs or the possibility of living in particular cities. At the end of the day, what really matters is the people that surround you; good schools make a great filter, but not the only one. I am very satisfied with the path I chose, but naturally, and fortunately, we all tend to argue that our decisions are the best, and to some extent we´re all right.

To those who wish to pursue a career as competition lawyers: If you´ve never studied EU competition law before, a European program (College of Europe; Liège; King´s; BSC…) could be of greater use. Personally, I learnt much more competition law at the CoE than in the US. I would advise anyone to remain in Europe to “focus” first, and to go to the US to “expand” later.

P.S. For full disclosure: I decided to return to Garrigues, where I will be working at the Madrid and Brussels offices. You can now reach me at:


Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

15 September 2010 at 10:07 am

Posted in Life at University


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Living and working in Brussels offers the opportunity to talk and meet with practitioners from all sides. In this context, a lunch with colleagues may help bring new perspectives on issues.

On second thoughts, and as a matter of principle, one may question whether the appointment of a former official of the Commission’s legal service as hearing officer is as appropriate as mentioned in my tweet two days ago. Nothing to do with Wouter Wils’s brilliant legal skills (I am a great fan of his academic work). But in terms of neutrality, it is somewhat odd to appoint as a referee someone  who spent years defending the Commission’s decisions in Court against companies. I guess this may create a bias (or am I the one with a suspicious bias )? Much to the advantage of the companies facing Commission proceedings, however, is the fact that this particular hearing officer knows the case-law on fundamental rights inside out.

Written by Nicolas Petit

14 September 2010 at 8:04 am


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Check this (in French language)

Were De Gaulle and his fellows really hostile to free-market policies and competition?

Thanks to Pierre Honore for the pointer.

(Image possibly subject to copyrights: source here)

Written by Nicolas Petit

13 September 2010 at 9:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Competition in the Belgian Electronic Communications Sector

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Please find below a ppt presentation which reviews recent decisions in order to assess whether – as  argued in official circles – the Competition Council has beefed up its enforcement policy in the electronic communications sector. It draws on two articles that I recently co-authored with Ief Daems (Howrey LLP) and Elise Provost (ULg).

For more, see I. Daems et N. Petit, « La fin de la récréation pour l’opérateur historique? », TBM-RCB, 2009/3, p.66 ; and —N. Petit et E. Provost, « L’émancipation du Conseil de la concurrence? », TBM-RCB, 2010/2, p.89.

Apologies for the absence of post yesterday.

Jurisprudence récente en droit belge de la concurrence – Le secteur des communications électroniques (NP 11 09 10)

(Image possibly subject to copyrights: source here)

Written by Nicolas Petit

11 September 2010 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Events

Upcoming Conference

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The two rising stars of UK competition law, Christopher Brown and David Bailey, have asked us to post the below announcement. Looks promising.


The editors of the Competition Law Journal are pleased to announce the fifth Junior Competition Practitioners Conference.  This year’s Conference will take place on 3 December 2010 and will comprise two sessions dedicated to the law and practice on penalties and other enforcement techniques.

For further details please scroll to the bottom of the following web page:-

If you would like to speak at the Conference, please contact Vian Quitaz – – with an expression of interest and a short outline of your proposed topic.

A separate announcement will be made in due course for those interested in attending the Conference.

Written by Nicolas Petit

9 September 2010 at 11:32 am

Posted in Events


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The winners of yesterday’s quizz are Anna and Alfonso. Here’s the source: B. Hawk, “Un tour d’horizon de la politique de la concurrence”, Cahiers de droit européen , 1992, n°5, p.1. I found the quote in one of my students (Mathieu Coquelet) dissertation.

I am currently reading students dissertations. I  find this very stimulating  intellectually. Two ideas came to mind in going through their papers:

  • From an economic standpoint, the prohibition of RPM even at low market share levels makes some sense, because it allows price differenciation at the distribution level (e.g., distributors can efficiently price discriminate to serve more customers/recoup fixed costs more rapidly);
  • What economic errors could give rise to compensation under Articles  268-340 TFUE ?: Saying that establishing tacit collusion does not require the proof of retaliation mechanism; using list prices rather than transaction prices to establish a finding of SIEC, whilst rebates are pervasive on the relevant market.

No rocket science, but still I thought I could share my thoughts.
(Image possibly subject to copyrights: source here)

Written by Nicolas Petit

8 September 2010 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Testing your competition knowledge

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Who said that the dual, bifurcated structure of Article 101 was the “original sin” of EU competition law?

Written by Nicolas Petit

7 September 2010 at 1:32 pm

Heard on the Grapevine

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Our friend Pablo Ibanez Colomo was apparently appointed as a lecturer at the London School od Economics (“LSE”). TBC, but congrats already.

For those of you who do not know him, Pablo is a promising competition lawyer, who recently defended a Phd at the EUI in Florence. The subject of his Phd was: “European Communications Law and Technological Convergence. Deregulation, Re-regulation and Regulatory Convergence in Television and Telecommunications“.

Written by Nicolas Petit

6 September 2010 at 6:14 am


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Apologies to  all my friends at the Commission who read this blog, but I thought this was just a good one:

What is the difference with Terrorists and European Fonctionnaires?, Well with Terrorists at least you can negotiate

A noteworthy precision: it is taken from a blog written by a Commission official.

(Image subject to copyrights: source here)

Written by Nicolas Petit

3 September 2010 at 5:19 am

Posted in Marking Papers


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Want to know why the EU’s commitment to fostering parallel trade is plain ideology?

Want to know why the Commission’s decisions in MSFT make no sense from an IO perspective, but are sound from a behavioralist standpoint.

Then read my new working papers here and here.

(Image possibly subject to copyrights: source here)

Written by Nicolas Petit

2 September 2010 at 10:18 am