Mr O’Grady goes to Washington

Baker & McKenzie trainee Colm O’Grady secured a secondment to Washington, DC.

Baker & McKenzie’s Washington, DC office is located in the political and economic heart of America’s capital city, less than a block from another important office – the White House. We advise clients with a broad range of legal services. In Washington, particular areas of focus include Antitrust (or Competition, as we call it in Europe); Litigation; Tax and Anti-Bribery/Corruption.

During my five-month secondment in the office, I worked within the Antitrust Group. Washington is the centre of US antitrust law due to it being the location of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, the two US agencies charged with implementation and enforcement of antitrust laws. My projects were largely focused on international merger control. Having knowledge of UK/EU law was very valuable in this respect as many mergers we deal with involve regulatory filings in more than one jurisdiction. My work also involved a good deal of travelling, and I was lucky enough to spend time in our Chicago office, as well as a week at a client in Silicon Valley, California.

Washington also provides tremendous networking opportunities: it is often said that everyone in the city is either a lawyer or a government employee, which is not all that far from the mark. The American Bar Association holds their Annual Spring Antirust Meeting in Washington, which is attended by hundreds of lawyers and enforcement officials from around the globe. Attending and meeting the delegates was a fantastic experience.

Of course, it would be a shame to spend time in the US and not explore the country: as well as my work trips I spent time in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida. I also attended Washington Nationals games at every opportunity became a fully-fledged baseball fan.

My secondment to Washington was a wonderful experience, both personally and professionally. I gained a hugely valuable insight into US law and made connections which will help strengthen links between our London and US offices.