Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for the ‘Life at University’ Category

Job promotion

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In Belgian academic life,  job promotions are rare. In short, tenured academics can move along the following scale:

  1. Chargé de cours
  2. Professeur
  3. Professeur ordinaire

The dream of all academics is to move to grade 3. Means a little more money but more importantly, peer recognition.

Promotions typically happen every two years. Tenured academics can apply for promotion. Applications are reviewed, and ranked by ad hoc committees which scrutinize in particular (i) teaching skills; (ii) research record; and (iii) contribution to University affairs (with a strong emphasis on (ii)).

Yesterday, I moved from 1 to 2. I am now officially a (happy) Professor. This blog, and your visits, have likely contributed to this. Again, thanks for your trust and support.

Written by Nicolas Petit

16 December 2010 at 9:48 am

Posted in Life at University

Chillin’Competition celebrates 1st Year

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We hadn´t realized, but yesterdat chillingcompetition turned 1 !

It was on October 2oth that we started spreading the word around about the existence of this blog. Nicolas probably knew what to expect after the hotchpotch experience, but I´ve been frankly surprised by the reach of this tool.

Chillingcompetition has had nearly 70.000 visits;  its daily visits are currently in the order of 350 (and constantly increasing).

Moreover, its visitors are from very varied places (check the map on the lower right side of the web, right now showing visits from all over Europe, the US, China, Colombia. Kenya, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, India or Dubai).

We are proud that some people might find the posts here interesting, and we´re committed to improving all the many things that surely can be done better.

Thanks for your trust and interest in our stories!

Nicolas / Alfonso

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

22 October 2010 at 8:54 am

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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I am leaving tomorrow on hols. Regular blogging will resume in early August. Thanks to all of you for the support, and for your interest in our postings.

And please mark your agendas for:

1. the GCLC annual conference, due on 7-8 October 2010 (see programme below).

2. the beginning of the BSC’s LLM in competition law and economics (on 1 October).

GCLC – Sixth Annual Annual Conference – 7 & 8 October 2010 – Programme and Registration Form

BTW: I have just posted a new working paper on ssrn.

(Image possibly subject to copyrights: source here)

Written by Nicolas Petit

21 July 2010 at 8:44 pm


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I will be away most of next week with only sporadic access to the Internet. Normal posting activity on Chillin’Competition will resume as of  12 April. Meanwhile, Alfonso will certainly drop a few lines on this blog.

Written by Nicolas Petit

4 April 2010 at 12:31 am

Posted in Life at University

Chilling Competition’s Editorial Policy – A Clarification

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It has been suggested yesterday in a comment to a previous post that the views expressed on this blog may be influenced by the fact that our previous employers represented specific interests in competition cases. Since this blog in no way constitutes a forum for pushing client related arguments, the author of the abovementioned comment, Alfonso and I have agreed to eliminate it.

As the authors of this blog, we nevertheless believe it is appropriate to make certain clarifications regarding Chilling Competition‘s general editorial policy. While in the past, both of us surely benefited from conversations with our former colleagues over pending competition law issues, we no longer are related to those law firms anymore.

In addition, whenever Alfonso or I have been personally involved in a case commented in the blog, we have always made that clear, applying a full disclosure rule.

The views expressed in all posts are thus strictly personal. They may be shared by clients of our former employers, but they may as well not be in line with their interests, or those of possible future employers.

We do however welcome comments from anyone who wishes to express substantiated views supporting, criticizing, or discarding our opinions. This is in fact the main purpose of our blog.

Alfonso and Nicolas

(Image possibly subject to copyrights: source here )

Written by Nicolas Petit

8 December 2009 at 1:00 am

Posted in Life at University

10,000 Visits

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We officially launched this blog on 9 September 2009. In a little more than 2 months, we got 10,000 visits.

Thanks to all of you for reading us.

Nicolas and Alfonso

Written by Nicolas Petit

13 November 2009 at 1:02 am