I was one of what turned out to be a group of young attorneys lured to the Bureau of Competition in the mid 1970's from what was then the law firm of Hogan & Hartson. The enticers were Owen Johnson and Al Dougherty, two Hogan alums who were heading the Bureau. At the time, I didn't know much about antitrust, although I had studied at Chicago under the young Richard Posner and had worked at Hogan on the National Society of Professional Engineers case under the legendary Lee Loevinger—but I was arrogantly sure that coming in from a big establishment law firm and with nearly three years of experience, I could really show the civil service yokels a thing or two about the practice of antitrust law.
How stupidly wrong I was! The level of talent, commitment, and expertise that I found in place was immediately revelatory and inspiring. The six years I spent at the Commission, with the leadership of five different chairs, were the most stimulating and in many ways rewarding of my professional life. Years later, in 1998, after a few years of private law practice and 13 years heading a chain of retail jewelry stores, I returned to my roots at the FTC, founding the American Antitrust Institute, which is essentially built on the template of the otherwise forgotten Office of Special Projects that I had been allowed to create under Chairman Mike Pertschuk. There are numerous other alumns who also bear witness that the FTC just gets into your blood.