Robert Pitofsky was named today the Justice Department's 2010 John Sherman Award winner in a ceremony in which Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer praised Pitofsky's work in the antitrust arena.
Breyer called Pitofsky, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission from 1995 to 2001, a reformer who changed the commission. “He understood the psychology. He understood the institutions. He had the public interest in mind,” Breyer said in remarks at the Great Hall of the Justice Department. As a gift, Breyer gave Pitofsky a photograph signed by the all nine justices of the Supreme Court.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Pitofsky also served as a FTC commissioner and director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “He refocused its vision, modernized its work, and launched highly successful initiatives to combat fraud and to improve the enforcement of our antitrust laws,” Holder said in his remarks. Holder said Pitofsky in private practice has “remained steadfast” in his commitment to a free and fair market.
Pitofsky, of counsel in the Washington office of Arnold & Porter, served as dean of Georgetown University Law Center from 1983 to 1989. He currently teaches antitrust and consumer protection law, among other areas, at Georgetown. Several speakers today noted that he is the author of a widely used casebook on trade regulation that is now in its fifth edition.
“Antitrust is far better than it was 40 years ago—more rigorous, more reasonable and more sophisticated in terms of economics,” Pitofsky told the crowd of more than 200 people that featured current and former DOJ lawyers, including Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Pitofsky said he will treasure the memory of the day “for a long, long time.”
Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and former Judge Robert Bork of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit are past winners of the Sherman Award, Pitofsky noted in his remarks.