Ed. Note. I’ve decided to start an occasional feature on “Why I Love Antitrust.” This thought popped into my mind when I learned that my good friend Phil Warren was being honored with the California Antitrust Lawyer of the Year Award. Knowing and working with Phil ranks pretty high on “Why I Love Antitrust.” Plus, I figure if I run out of reasons to write about why I love antitrust, it is probably time to retire.
On Thursday, October 16, 2014 Phillip H. Warren was honored by the Golden State Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Institute as the Antitrust Lawyer of the Year. Phil was the Chief of the San Francisco field office of the Antitrust Division from 2002 until very recently. He is now a partner in Covington & Burling’s San Francisco office. Phil led the Division’s San Francisco office during a time when it achieved incredible success. Some of the major international antitrust prosecutions that were brought while Phil led the San Francisco office included commodity chemicals and five different high technology products–DRAM, LCD panels, cathode ray tubes, optical disk drives, and lithium ion battery cells. He also closely supervised all aspects of several major criminal antitrust trials. He oversaw some of the largest and most successful prosecutions in the Antitrust Division’s history, but Phil gave equal attention and support to all of his assigned matters, regardless of the dollar size of the investigations. Under his leadership the San Francisco office obtained more than $2.5 billion in fines. Phil also had a unique position among Chiefs of Antitrust Division offices in that San Francisco was an active office in not only criminal matters, but civil matters as well. He is one smart guy.
Phil joined the Division in 1980 and had many successes as a trial lawyer before he rose up the ranks. But, I am not going to go into all of Phil’s accomplishments and awards. Phil really didn’t want me to post anything about his Antitrust Lawyer of the Year award but relented when I told him that I wanted to start recognizing the accomplishments of career Division attorneys and this would just be the kick-off. Phil’s humility is just one of his exceptional qualities. Phil had earlier opportunities to receive this award but he declined while he was Chief of the San Francisco office. He did not want any personal recognition to take the spotlight off his staff.
I was in many management meetings with Phil. Despite the many successes of his office, Phil was always interested in hearing others’ ideas on investigation, prosecution and management issues. He was like E. F. Hutton. When Phil spoke, people listened. I am sure Phil never made a decision or advanced a position out of any self-interest. His concern was always how to best advance the mission of the Antitrust Division and support the staff that did the work. His love of the institution, and his desire to serve the public and the people who worked in the Division was always evident. The Antitrust Division has always had talented people and I’m sure it always will. Phil’s spirit of service set him apart. I’d like to add a personal tribute I think Phil will appreciate. Of all the exceptional people I have worked with in the Antitrust Division, three stood out for me: John Hughes, the Chief I had the honor to work under for many years in the Philadelphia office; Ralph Giordano, the late former Chief of the New York office; and Phil Warren. Fantastic lawyers and even better people.