Dominique Voillemot (French Delegation of the Bars): 40 Years of Antitrust Bar

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 Dominique Voillemot, could you briefly retrace your journey?

 What are the circumstances that led you to specialise very early on in Community law and then in competition cases?

 Could you describe the problems or issues at stake in the first competition law cases in the 60s and 70s in Brussels?

 What aspects do you think have changed the most in the practice of the competition lawyer?

 How did you experience the evolution of the rights of the defence?

 In this respect, what are your views on leniency programmes?

 How could you describe the evolution, over a period of almost 40 years, of the relationship between DG Competition and the business counsels? What is the place of lawyers today alongside lobbyists and economists? Have competition lawyers become too specialised? Which Commissioners do you think have left their mark on their era?

 Many professional associations, particularly lawyers’ associations, have been the subject of proceedings and sanctions by the Commission for infringements of competition provisions. Do you see this as a lack of knowledge of competition law?

 What is your role at the head of the Delegation of the French Bars and Law Societies? What are your medium and long term projects?
- What is your relationship with similar institutions in other Member States and with the Council of European Bars?

 As President of the Delegation of the French Bars, you are at the crossroads of views on the French and European Bars. How do you see the proposals of the French Chancellery on the project of a company lawyer? Does this seem to you to be in line with what you observe in the other Member States?

 What do you think of the Community plans for greater liberalisation of the legal profession? Is this, moreover, liberalisation or deregulation? In your opinion, what are the limits to the application of competition law to professional bodies and in particular to lawyers? Do you find the Court’s case law on this point satisfactory?

 Finally, tell us which case has given you the most pleasure in your 40 years of practice?

Interview conducted by Nicolas Charbit, Editor in chief, Concurrences, Paris, New York and Pierre KirchPaul Hastings, Paris, Brussels.

Could you briefly retrace your journey? I am a graduate of the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris and the Institut des Hautes Études Internationales and have been a lawyer since 1967. I joined Gide, Loyrette, Nouel immediately afterwards as an associate. Loyrette and Nouel then offered me the opportunity to move to Brussels to open Gide's first foreign office. At the time, it was the only French law firm to be present in Brussels, together with a German firm, Gleis. At the same time as I opened the Gide Brussels office, I was doing a traineeship at DG IV (Competition). There I made strong friendships with those who were to become the main players in competition at the European Commission, such as Karel Van Miert (Commissioner), Alexander Schaub (Director General) or Helmuth

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