Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Glamour: Cement? Star Wars, Hollywood and lawyers’ rankings

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Last week Pablo wrote a post describing his week of talks around Europe (Athens, Amsterdam for the Competition day, Bruges, etc) where he had been invited to discuss about the effects-based approach, recent 102 case law and online platforms.

My longest trip of the week was to Rue Ravensteim in Brussels (at the premises of the Brussels School of Competition –BSC-) to talk about cement. Life is unfair.

The talk at the BSC on the ECJ’s Judgments in the cement case was very interesting. I participated in the panel together with Manuel Kellerbauer (from the EC`s legal service) and Christian von Koeckritz, from Gleiss Lutz (the downside of speaking with two Germans is that I was the only one who didn’t get to be called “Dr.”). I did not innovate much from what I already said in my three posts on this case (here, here and here). Essentially, and given that –most likely due to procedural economy reasons- the ECJ annulled the decisions on the grounds of lack of motivation (only plea common to all applicants), the best we got out of this case were the sensible and well-reasoned Opinions of AG Wahl. If only for their persuasiveness, those are likely to be very influential in  the future with regard to issues that, despite their importance, are unlikely to be raised before the Court again in the near future (certainly not in a case as extreme as this one). Most important of all, I believe that in the light of the General Court’s Judgment in case T-296/11 (see the first hyperlink above) and the Opinions (see second hyperlink), the criterion of “necessity” contained in Art. 18 of Regulation 1/2003 might from now on be interpreted objectively and, in my view, correctly. The slides presented at the talk are available here: Dr. Christian von Köckritz, Dr. Manuel Kellerbauer, Alfonso Lamadrid.

Btw, I had also been lecturing at the BSC a couple of weeks before and on that occasion I did innovate a bit more. We spent practically the whole 4 hour lecture on procedure, running a practical case (from inspections to decision) where students took different roles and were free to set strategies; they did great. I’m likely to repeat that a few times in the future, if only for the vast amount of materials (evidence, fake evidence, Commission documents) that were created for students to do the case. The case involved intergalactic droids, and all documents and email chains related to “real” characters and companies that exist at the very least in the Star Wars Wikipedia (or so I’m told by the extremely competent geek who helped me). The result of this exercise is pictured above.

And speaking of Hollywood. If my cement lecture in rainy Brussels was not as glamorous as Pablo’s trips through Europe, I compensated a bit with some extensive quotes in the Hollywood Reporter this week. At first, when my colleagues tried to transfer the call from the publication I thought it was a prank (we run a prank scoreboard at the office in which I hold an unassailable lead 🙂  sorry Sam….), but it turned out that it was true. This time it was not about the rumors linking me to Monica Bellucci (please respect our private life), but about the Commission’s Pay TV case. Should you be interested, the piece is available here.

Also this week the new Chambers Europe 2016 guide came out ranking lawyers, including competition lawyers. I was very well treated, as “star associate” in Spain and sole “associate to watch” in Brussels (the office teasing that followed is actually what led me to suspect the Hollywood call was a joke..). I read this week that happy people don’t talk badly about others. If that’s the case Chambers researchers must be very happy people, as it is remarkable to find such an extensive publication that only says positive things about so many lawyers about whom there are not so many positive things to be said 😉 So I would take all that with many pinches of salt. Not that I complain, but I wouldn’t mind losing a title that only identifies me as the lowest paid guy in the rankings!  😉 Be that as it may, this reminded me of two earlier posts I wrote some time ago on What makes a great lawyer, and on Sunshine lawyering; there you’ll see my views on all these things.

Enjoy the weekend!

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

29 April 2016 at 9:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. I am sorry to point out that Dr. Manuel Kellerbauer´s slides have not been uploaded. I would be very interested to consult his presentation if possible.

    Nevin Alija

    29 April 2016 at 12:20 pm

    • Thanks for letting us know. It’s fixed now

      Alfonso Lamadrid

      29 April 2016 at 12:27 pm

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