X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
U.S. Assistant Attorney General Charles James said Thursday that he is resigning as head of the antitrust division to become general counsel at ChevronTexaco Corp., though he is expected to remain long enough to rule on key pending mergers. James said in an interview that he expects to stay at the antitrust division until early December, which would leave him only a few days off before he starts Dec. 9 at ChevronTexaco. He said his departure should not alter the outcome of any ongoing merger investigations. “We will do everything we can to ensure continuity,” he said. Sources said James intends to rule on EchoStar Communications Corp.’s acquisition of DirecTV and Comcast Corp.’s purchase of AT&T Broadband before departing. “He does not want to saddle his deputy with a decision like that,” one antitrust source said. Speculation on his replacement focused on a handful of candidates, including Latham & Watkins partners Tad Lipsky and Thomas Rosch, Clifford Chance partner Kevin Arquit, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson partner Deborah Garza and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell. Also mentioned were two of James’ deputies: Deborah Majoras and R. Hewitt Pate. A source said Attorney General John Ashcroft is unlikely to name a successor until late November or early December. Sources also said they expect William Kolasky, the deputy assistant attorney general for international antitrust, to leave shortly after James departs. Kolasky could not be reached for comment. James said he was not looking to leave the antitrust division and noted ChevronTexaco approached him. He called the general counsel’s position a dream job, explaining that he would get to broaden his legal practice to address problems around the globe. ChevronTexaco also is based in San Francisco. “Anyone who knows me knows that I have spent the last 20 years trying to get back to California,” he said. James became assistant attorney general only in June 2001, but faced a raft of contentious issues in his short tenure. The flap over the European Commission’s rejection of General Electric Co.’s acquisition of Honeywell International Inc. occurred just as he assumed office. Though Justice’s antitrust division initially unleashed a firestorm of criticism at the Commission for the ruling, James is widely credited with capitalizing on the disagreement to establish much closer ties with European antitrust officials. This includes working to establish the International Competition Network as a forum for regulators to coordinate antitrust policies. The ICN held its first meeting last week. “It is not recognized how important he was to the formation of the ICN,” said James Rill, a partner with Washington, D.C.-based Howrey, Simon, Arnold & White. James used the lull in merger reviews to reorganize the agency and offer companies an expedited review process if they would agree to promptly turn over documents and produce witnesses. The division also is about to produce best practices for antitrust staff on how to review mergers. “I have been very pleased with the way the merger process has been changing,” James said. Phil Proger, a partner at Jones Day Reavis & Pogue, said James’ replacement will enjoy the fruits of these reforms. “Whoever takes the job after him will benefit from what James has done,” he said. One of James’ biggest disappointments was the failure of the merger clearance accord, which clarified which U.S. antitrust agency would review mergers for specific industries. During the accord’s brief tenure, the antitrust division and Federal Trade Commission resolved clearance disputes within days, rather than weeks or months. The agencies were forced to void the arrangement after Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., threatened the Justice Department’s budget. Hollings objected to the antitrust division reviewing media and telecommunication mergers. “That was a crying shame that we were not able to go forward with that,” James said. “We had to come up with a sensible allocation. There was no reassignment of responsibilities. This was a real problem that impeded enforcement.” James may be best remembered for his controversial decision to settle the Microsoft Corp. litigation shortly after a federal appeals court ruled the software giant was a monopolist. The court also struck down large chunks of the government’s case, including a lower court’s decision to break Microsoft in half to remedy its anticompetitive conduct. “He will always be known for Microsoft,” said Robert Lande, a professor at the University of Baltimore law school and a director at the American Antitrust Institute. “If you are on my side of the fence, you’ll consider him to have sold out the public interest. He just gave them a slap on the wrist. He will be defending that for the rest of his career.” To James, however, the case was resolved on its merits. The appeals court seriously weakened the government’s hand, making the settlement the best option to restore competition. “I don’t think anything we had done in Microsoft was political,” he said. Several lawyers who have met with James in recent weeks said he appeared tired. “He has been in the crosshairs because of Microsoft since the beginning,” one antitrust lawyer said. “I didn’t think he was having much fun.” James praised Ashcroft, saying the attorney general always made time to be briefed on competition matters. “He is a tremendous supporter of antitrust,” James said. Both friends and foes praised James. “I congratulate Charles James on his new position at ChevronTexaco,” said Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee Chairman Herb Kohl, D-Wis., who only last month blasted the antitrust division’s enforcement record. “While we may have disagreed at times, I have always felt that he is a skilled and talented lawyer. And I salute the years he has spent in public service.” “Charles James has been a good friend for 20 years and an outstanding assistant attorney general,” Federal Trade Commission Chairman Timothy J. Muris said. “It has been a pleasure and honor to work with him. Thanks to his leadership, cooperation between the Department of Justice and the FTC has never been better.” Copyright �2002 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.