Then and Now: Teaching Antitrust for a New Generation of Law and Lawyers

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Andrew Gavil, Jun 12, 2015

Today’s antitrust world has been transformed in every dimension. Over the course of the last 40 years the rules of antitrust have been largely re-written by the Supreme Court to draw far more explicitly on economics and economic analysis. Throughout this period of doctrinal reassessment, professors have been challenged to teach against the older cases, a long-standing tradition in the academy that now seems well-suited to antitrust. A generation of lawyers have been trained based on the “new economic learning” and the “wrongly decided” case.

Reflecting these changes, today’s casebooks retain few of the cases that would have been taught as “principal” cases a generation ago. As has been true in other fields, with the passage of time and the arrival of new cases, older cases have been crowded out of the casebooks, making it more and more difficult over time to teach the historical evolution of doctrine in a basic antitrust course. There is barely time enough to cover the current state of the law. But the challenge for teaching antitrust is not just the volume of newer cases, but also their analytical content and the evolving role of the antitrust lawyer.