David Stryker, chief compliance officer and general counsel for the chemical manufacturing company BASF, won the Competition Award at the Global Counsel Awards of 2010 in June in New York.

The award, for which 3,000 were nominated, recognizes “demonstrable achievements across the full spectrum of in-house responsibility” in the antitrust domain.

Stryker does not permit lawyers to be generalists, and instead deeply embeds them into specific business units. Integrating lawyers into these units both physically and organizationally has afforded them a more thorough understanding of the way their clients do business. “Although we are a chemical company, we have businesses in a wide variety of areas and they do business differently,” he says. “Embedding our lawyers lets us avoid risk and counsel them appropriately when risk faces them.”

Although the award is an individual honor, Stryker says his accomplishments wouldn’t have been possible without his team.

“What [the award] really means to me is that I have been successful in building the type of department that we need and I want; that is, a department of lawyers that understand the businesses and serve the businesses properly,” Stryker says.

Stryker’s interest in antitrust developed and during his clerkship for antitrust scholar and judge, Robert Bork. “Bob was a huge mentor of mine because he cared both intellectually and academically about antitrust. It’s a rigorous intellectual discipline,” he says.