Mixed bag of a practitioner’s thoughts
–On being a Commission lawyer for once. A couple of weeks ago I spent some days in Luxembourg to participate in 4 cartel hearings in which, for a change, I was the European Commission’s lawyer. The experience was extremely interesting, and fun too (despite some repetitions…); being on the other side of things makes apparent some things that often go unnoticed, like how hard it really is to draft a rock-solid decision, connect all evidential dots in some cartel cases and think about the myriad things that could possibly be challenged by us lawyers. I was also impressed by Court’s detailed knowledge of very factual issues and by my co-agents encyclopedic knowledge of cartel precedents. It’s challenging to have as clients some of the foremost experts on the subject (like Fernando Castillo, Viktor Bottka and Carlos Urraca), but it’s quite comforting to be sitting, for once not opposite, but next to them in Court.
-I have just received an email advertising an article titled “How to become the highest paid partner at your law firm”. It includes healthy advice and sensible reflection, such as this quote: “[t]he highest-paid attorneys are those who work like dogs, bill lots of hours, are prodigious rainmakers and focus on high-rate practices”. For some reason I have a tendency to defend my profession, but pieces like this project an image of big-law lawyering that makes it not always easy.
– Last night I also read that the Judge handling the follow-on suit in the air cargo case was recused for having complained about his luggage being lost by one of the targeted airlines in a recent trip (apparently he complained to the President of the airline and mentioning his role in the damages claim) (see here). No comment.
– For reasons that will be explained in our next post, Pablo and I are looking around for big rooms for rent in Brussels and prices are absurd and I see little plausible alternatives to at the very least some good old tacit collusion…
– On the Spanish competition authority. The Spanish Competition authority has not fared tremendously well in Court lately. The latest news is that the Supreme Court even has doubts that its creation and the merging of regulators was compatible with EU Law and has sought a preliminary ruling from the ECJ on this point.
– On paid-for posting. In the past month we have received several requests to write posts in exchange for money. This is not new, but the number of requests is. As a lawyer, I’m not offended at all by those requests even if we have systematically turned them down. I could even accept writing for one of my clients provided that I could clearly disclose my interest and the fact that it is work that I’m doing (after all, that’s what I do for a living), and I certainly do not write on issues that can negatively affect an already existing client, but I’m in the business of selling legal services, not blog posts. As for Pablo, he would not accept money even for writing his real own views when those coincide with those of the firm willing to pay. I hope the policy is clear…