David A. Schwartz, JD '95
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, New York, NY
Area of specialization: Antitrust Law
Snapshot of a Husband, Father, and Antitrust Lawyer
I spend most of my time working as an antitrust lawyer at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. It’s a terrific job. My practice focuses primarily on competition issues relating to mergers and acquisitions. I study companies considering a merger or acquisition, their competitors and industry characteristics in an attempt to predict how a proposed transaction will affect competition. I advise my client how government antitrust regulators will likely react to the transaction to help them decide whether to move forward. During contract negotiations, I counsel my client on allocating the risk that the transaction will be enjoined or subject to conditions due to competition concerns. Then, once the contract is signed, I communicate with the government to explain why the transaction should be allowed to proceed without conditions. On occasion, a client that will be harmed by the adverse competitive effects of a transaction between third parties asks me to communicate its competitive concerns to the government.
At the beginning of a matter, my research involves reading as much as possible about the merging parties, their competitors and the industry generally. This research is often done without the benefit of client input because most transactions are highly confidential and the employees with relevant information frequently do not yet know about it. Clients are frequently amazed at how much we can learn about their business and industry without their input. Once the relevant employees are aware of the transaction, I supplement what I have learned by talking to them. Occasionally, I visit the client to tour its facility to better understand the relevant product, how it is made and the ease with which others could enter the industry. I enjoy my job primarily because I am always learning about new industries.
I also enjoy my job because I have been given significant responsibility. Even when I was a young associate, I was asked to draft letters to the government and to take primary responsibility for analyzing the competitive impact of a large transaction with respect to certain products. I regularly talked with my clients and with the government. Now, as a partner, I handle my own matters. Although responsibility brings with it a significant amount of work, I also have greater control over when I do my work, which is very important to me. A night owl, I prefer to come in late and work late, frequently arriving at 10 a.m. and occasionally not leaving until after midnight.
Although I very much enjoy my job, the commitment would not be possible without the support of my family. I have a supportive wife, who fortunately is also a night owl. She is almost always up when I get home, even after midnight. We then usually spend time together catching up and hearing about each other’s day. I also have three remarkably understanding children. Additionally, I am a Sabbath observer, so I always have at least one day off every week, and I spend most of this day with my family. Thankfully, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is supportive of my religious observance. Nonetheless, I have just as much work as others in the antitrust department, and I am expected to complete all of it during the other six days of the week.
Finally, I have two pieces of advice. First, for all law students, take full advantage of your summer positions to find a job that you will enjoy. Your Yale law degree will open many doors. Keep searching until you find something you want to do. Second, for those of you with a family, make sure you talk with your family about the demands your new job will make. You will have a tough time without their support to get you through the long hours and time away from home. And keep talking to your family about the impact your job has on them. Even a terrific job is worth leaving if its toll on those you love is too great.
Best of luck in your search for the perfect job!-2014