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Bruce D. Sokler

Member / Co-chair, Antitrust Practice

[email protected]

+1.202.434.7303

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Bruce is a prominent antitrust attorney who is accomplished at the full range of antitrust matters: litigation and class actions, government merger reviews and investigations, and cartel-related issues. Although the health care, communications, and retail industries are a particular focus for Bruce, he represents companies in many other sectors. His client roster ranges from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies to nonprofit organizations. Bruce served as Managing Member of the firm’s Washington, DC office for 12 years and on the firm’s Executive Committee for 13 years.

"Bruce is an experienced and capable antitrust attorney, with a strong analytical ability."

Bruce is Chair of the Antitrust Section. He applies his extensive experience, understanding of clients' business, and judgment developed over decades in private practice to a broad range of antitrust matters, including government merger reviews and investigations and antitrust litigation. 

In the antitrust area, Bruce’s practice includes antitrust counseling and representation in connection with federal and state governmental matters, including merger review, HSR second requests, and cartel matters, as well as private antitrust litigation, including class actions. He counsels and has represented Fortune 100 companies, not-for-profits, start-up entities, trade associations, and domestic and international joint ventures. Bruce has been involved in antitrust matters spanning a broad range of industries, but has particularly deep experience in the health care, communications, and retail industries. For example, Chambers USA attests that “he is one of those guys who understands the healthcare competition aspects very well.”

Bruce served as the Managing Member for the firm’s Washington, DC office from 1989 to 2001, and served on the firm’s Executive Committee from 1989 to 2002. He has been annually recognized by Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and Chambers USA for Antitrust: Washington, DC, and has received Client Service All-Star recognition from BTI Consulting Group as well as JD Supra Readers' Choice Award for Top Author in Antitrust & Trade Regulation. 

During law school, he served as editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Law Journal. Following his graduation from Georgetown, Bruce served as law clerk to Judge Edward Allen Tamm of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Education

  • Georgetown University (JD)
  • Princeton University (BA)

Experience

  • Represent New York Stock Exchange Company a defendant major electronic component manufacturer in class action cartel antitrust litigation.
  • Represented one of the nation’s leading Academic Medical Center and affiliated networks in antitrust matters including merger reviews and in parallel DOJ Antitrust Division and State Attorney General investigations.
  • Represented one of the nation’s premier pharmacy chains in its $27 billion acquisition of a “big three” pharmacy benefits manager.
  • Represented a market leading producer and distributor of environmentally-safe household products in its acquisition by another transnational consumer goods company.
  • Represented a cable company in the first successful FTC clearance of the acquisition of an overbuilt cable system.
  • Served as antitrust counsel for a hospital in its merger with another medical center.
  • Represented major cable television providers and major programming networks in connection with a high-profile merger proceeding before the Department of Justice and state attorneys general.
  • Served as lead counsel for an American telecom company in a purported nationwide antitrust class action. The suit alleged that the cable operator’s practice of leasing set-top boxes to customers who also purchase cable television services constitutes an illegal antitrust tie.
  • Represented an American retail and pharmacy chain in an antitrust class action alleging unfair restriction for participation in a Rhode Island pharmacy network. We obtained summary judgment for the defendants, which was affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented the regional council for a construction trade union in connection with a lawsuit brought by other trade unions alleging that provisions in the defendant’s collective bargaining agreements governing subcontracting of work within the defendant’s claimed trade jurisdiction result in an illegal restraint of trade in violation of the Sherman Act.
  • Served as lead counsel for a major telecommunications carrier in multidistrict litigation involving 20 separate antitrust class action suits that were consolidated into a single MDL. The suits alleged that the cable industry’s practice of leasing set-top boxes to customers who also purchase cable television services constitutes an illegal tying arrangement under the antitrust laws.
  • Represent one of the nation's most prestigious health care providers and hospital groups, since its creation over 20 years ago, to help it make smooth and efficient acquisitions and respond effectively to government investigations.

Recognition & Awards

  • BTI Consulting Group: Client Service All-Star (2022)
  • Chambers USA: District of Columbia – Antitrust (2012 – 2022)
  • JD Supra Readers' Choice Awards: Top Author in Antitrust & Trade Regulation (2020, 2022)
  • Best Lawyers in America: Antitrust Law (2012 – 2021)
  • Washington DC Super Lawyers: Antitrust Litigation (2012 – 2021)
  • Nightingale’s Healthcare News: Outstanding Healthcare Antitrust Lawyer (2007 – 2009)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent

Involvement

  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Member, Federal Communications Bar Association
  • Member, National Health Lawyers Association

Viewpoints

Antitrust Viewpoint Thumbnail

Vet Clinic FTC Settlement Puts Private Equity On Notice

June 17, 2022 | Blog | By Bruce Sokler, Tinny Song

Read more
Antitrust Viewpoint Thumbnail

DOJ Loses Two Criminal Antitrust Labor Trials, Stymied by (Lack of) Evidence

April 19, 2022 | Blog | By Bruce Sokler, Tinny Song

Last week, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) was handed two losses after federal juries in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado acquitted defendants accused of violating the antitrust laws by fixing wages and conspiring to suppress competition through no-poach agreements, respectively.
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Intellectual Property Viewpoints Thumbnail

No Harm, No Foul, and No Standing for Would-be SEP Implementer: 5th Circuit Changes Narrative on Patent “Hold Up”

March 3, 2022 | Blog | By Daniel Weinger, Michael Renaud, Bruce Sokler, James Thomson

In its analysis of Cont’l Auto. Sys., Inc. v. Avanci, L.L.C.,, the Fifth Circuit made several interesting findings: (1) that potential pass-through non-FRAND royalties are too speculative to create an injury in fact; (2) that SEP holders can fulfill their obligations to SSOs, with respect to suppliers, by actively licensing SEPs to downstream OEMs; and (3) that not all implementers are intended beneficiaries entitled to FRAND licenses.
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Antitrust Viewpoint Thumbnail

Increased HSR Notification Thresholds for 2022

January 24, 2022 | Alert | By Bruce Sokler, Robert Kidwell, Farrah Short

This alert covers the FTC’s increased jurisdictional thresholds for premerger notification filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR Act), as amended.
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Antitrust Viewpoint Thumbnail

FTC, DOJ Launch Proceeding to Revise Antitrust Merger Guidelines

January 19, 2022 | Blog | By Bruce Sokler, Joseph Miller, Robert Kidwell, Farrah Short

As has been expected, on January 18, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced in a joint press conference an initiative to review and revise the antitrust merger guidelines.  In his competition Executive Order last summer, President Biden announced a policy calling for increased scrutiny of mergers.  Against this backdrop, one would expect the effort would result in the toughening of standards over what currently is found in the existing guidelines.
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Antitrust Viewpoint Thumbnail

FTC Issues Fines Totaling Nearly $2 Million For Failures To File HSR Notifications

December 27, 2021 | Blog | By Bruce Sokler, Farrah Short

The Federal Trade Commission is closing out the year with vigorous enforcement of the Hart Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (“HSR Act”) by imposing fines totaling nearly $2 million.  On December 22, 2021, the FTC settled charges in two separate matters for repeated violations of the HSR Act. In one, investment fund operator Biglari Holdings Inc. will pay $1.4 million to settle charges that it failed to file the required HSR notification for stock acquisitions it made in 2020.  In the other, Clarence L. Werner, founder of Werner Enterprises, Inc. will pay $486,900 to settle charges that he failed to file for acquisitions between May 2007 and February 2020 of his company’s stock.
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Antitrust Viewpoint Thumbnail
On December 6 and 7, 2021, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division (“DOJ”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) hosted a virtual workshop to discuss competition issues in labor markets and plans to execute President Biden’s Executive Order to address competition issues in our modern economy.  The workshop, along with enforcement actions already underway, reinforces that this is a priority area for the Administration; marketplace participants are well advised to review their policies and compliance programs accordingly.
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Intellectual Property Viewpoints Thumbnail

Uncertain Seas for SEP Sailing In the US – New Guidance May Cause Stormy SEP Future

December 9, 2021 | | By Michael Renaud, Daniel Weinger, Bruce Sokler, James Thomson

The DOJ is requesting public comment on a new draft policy concerning licensing negotiations and remedies for standards-essential patents (SEPs) subject to voluntary F/RAND commitments recently jointly issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (DOJ)(collectively, “the Agencies”).  The Agencies have requested comment on eleven questions until the comment period closes January 5, 2022.
Read more

News & Press

News Thumbnail
An article published by The Deal featured remarks made by Mintz Member and Co-chair of the firm’s Antitrust Practice Bruce Sokler, Member Robert Kidwell, and Special Counsel Farrah Short during a firm webinar held earlier this month focused on recent antitrust developments and what companies should know as they conduct business and plan transactions and investments.
News Thumbnail
The American Health Law Association’s recent Antitrust Practice Group Bulletin featured a Q&A with Mintz Member and Co-chair of the firm’s Antitrust Practice Bruce Sokler.
In this article, authors Bruce Sokler and Farrah Short discuss a long-running anti-trust case, the Eleventh Circuit recently denied defendant Blue Cross Blue Shield’s interlocutory appeal of the district court’s ruling that certain allegedly restrictive practices of defendants must be analyzed under the per se standard rather than the more lenient rule of reason standard.

Press Release Thumbnail
Mintz partner and Massachusetts lawyer Julie Korostoff is one of 49 attorneys recognized as “Leaders in Their Fields” by the 2018 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide. Chambers named Korostoff a “Recognized Practitioner” in Technology.
Mintz is pleased to announce that eight attorneys have been named Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for 2018 and three others have been named Washington, D.C. Rising Stars. The annual publication identifies lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.
Mintz is proud to be recognized by JD Supra in its 2018 Reader’s Choice awards. The annual program highlights the most widely read authors and articles throughout the past year. Five Mintz attorneys were named JD Supra Top Authors in four different industries.
Bruce Sokler, the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust practice, was quoted in Law360’s article on a February 26th Supreme Court case regarding a dispute over anti-steering provisions in American Express merchant agreements.

Hospital Consolidation

December 4, 2017

Bruce Sokler is the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust practice is quoted in this Managed Care Magazine article on the subject of the sway the Federal Trade Commission holds in matters such as health system and hospital mergers.
Washington D.C. Member Bruce Sokler, Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust practice, is quoted in this Law360 article covering the AmEx anti-steering provisions case which the U.S. Supreme Court will take up. The article notes the unique role of the Supreme Court in the matter.
Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust section Bruce Sokler, along with Member Rob Kidwell and attorneys, Farrah Short Shawn Skolky collaborated on an article regarding the Washington state attorney general’s office suit against the expansion efforts of Franciscan Health System.  
Press Release Thumbnail
Best Lawyers named 85 Mintz attorneys to its 2018 list of The Best Lawyers in America. In addition, Mintz attorneys Matthew J. Gardella and Samuel M. Tony Starr were named “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective practice areas.
News Thumbnail
Bruce Sokler, the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust practice, is quoted in this Law360 article discussing the Supreme Court case involving American Express Co.’s merchant anti-steering rules.
The 2017 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide ha recognized 49 Mintz attorneys as “Leaders in Their Fields.” Practice highlights include top rankings for banking and finance.
Eight Mintz attorneys have been named Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for 2017 and four have been named Washington, D.C. Rising Stars. The list will be published in a special advertising supplement in The Washington Post Magazine and in a stand-alone magazine, Washington D.C. Super Lawyers Magazine.
Member and leader of the firm’s Antitrust practice Bruce Sokler is among those providing insight in this piece discussing strife between the Federal Trade Commission and a proposed hospital merger, to be known as Ballad Health.
Press Release Thumbnail
JD Supra has recognized Mintz in its 2017 Reader’s Choice awards, highlighting the most widely read authors and articles over the past year. Eleven Mintz attorneys were named JD Supra Top Authors in four industries and Mintz was recognized as the Top Firm with readers in the Energy Industry.
Bruce Sokler, the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice, was quoted in a Managed Care Magazine article discussing how a court ruling to block a merger between two Pennsylvania health systems could lead to stronger resistance from and greater success for the FTC in future health care system mergers.
Bruce Sokler, the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice, is quoted in a Bloomberg BNA Antitrust & Trade Regulation Resource Center article on the ongoing antitrust case against Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University Health System.
Mintz attorneys represented Seventh Generation, Inc. in its recent sale to Unilever. Based in Vermont, Seventh Generation is a pioneer in corporate responsibility and sustainable product innovations, including plant-based detergents and household cleaners.
Bruce Sokler, the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice, is quoted in a Modern Healthcare article discussing the Federal Trade Commission’s win in its appeal to stall the Penn State Hershey merger with PinnacleHealth.  
Bruce Sokler, the Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice, is quoted in this Bloomberg BNA article covering delays in a hospital merger resulting from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s court win.
Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice Bruce Sokler is quoted in this Law360 article covering the difficulties the U.S. Department of Justice may face moving forward with its antitrust case against Carolinas HealthCare System.
Six Mintz Members will speak at the 2016 International Bar Association Conference. The Members are Robert I. Bodian, Richard R. Kelly, Heidi A. Lawson, Bruce D. Sokler, Stephen M. Weiner, and Laura Bange Stephens.
Best Lawyers named 73 Mintz attorneys to its 2017 list of The Best Lawyers in America. Mintz attorneys selected for inclusion in this year’s list span 44 practice areas. 
Mintz Members Bruce Sokler and Robert Kidwell, and Special Counsel Farrah Short, authored this Law360 column about the war being waged between businesses that accept payment cards and payment card fees and protective network rules.
Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice Bruce Sokler is quoted in this FTC Watch article on the FTC's loss in their attempt to block two Chicago-area hospitals from merging. The federal judge found their “approach to defining geographic markets ‘flawed’.”  
Bruce Sokler, Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice, is quoted in a Law360 story on the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust suit against Carolinas HealthCare System.
Firm’s National Healthcare Practice, NY Corporate/M&A and Litigation: General Commercial Among Newest Rankings
Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice Bruce Sokler is quoted in this Law360 article on steps deal makers who enter business transactions can take to better brace themselves for antitrust review.
Bruce Sokler, Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice, is quoted in The Street in a discussion of the Halliburton-Baker Hughes deal, which would involve the second and third largest companies in the oilfield services industry merging.
Mintz’s Antitrust Practice Chair Bruce Sokler is quoted in this Financial Times article discussing Halliburton’s plan to purchase Baker Hughes. The piece notes the Department of Justice hopes to block the deal through an antitrust lawsuit.
Chair of Mintz’s Antitrust Practice Bruce Sokler and Farrah Short, Antitrust Special Counsel, authored this Law360 column on a legal battle between two rodeo associations.
The 2015 Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide names 52 Mintz, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.  attorneys as “Leaders in Their Fields.”
Seven Mintz attorneys have been named Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for 2015 and five have been named Washington, D.C. Rising Stars. The list will be published in a special advertising supplement in Washington Post Magazine and in a stand-alone Washington D.C. Super Lawyers Magazine.

Events

Speaker
May
17
2018

Antitrust in Healthcare

American Bar Association and American Health Lawyers Association

The Ritz-Carlton Arlington, VA

Speaker
Speaker