Please describe two of your most substantial, recent wins in practice.
On the merger side, I helped navigate ShowingTime Inc. through an extended review by the Federal Trade Commission of its $500 million vertical acquisition by
What is the most important lesson you learned as a first-year attorney and how does it inform your practice today?
Be proactive and don’t be afraid to ask questions. As a trial attorney in the DOJ Antitrust Division, I was assigned to a large case team as part of a sprawling international investigation. Unlike at a law firm, where a first-year might initially receive discrete assignments, I was just given broad parameters (e.g., figure out what evidence we have on a specific product and identify what to do next). It was overwhelming. In addition to spending a lot of time reviewing the evidence, I regularly sought out the advice and input of senior lawyers on how to approach what I was finding and align on next steps. Through these discussions, I also heard about other matters they were working on and offered to help. Through this outreach, I secured opportunities in that first year I never would have had if I had just sat in my office—I regularly interviewed witnesses, took attorney proffers, led grand jury sessions, negotiated plea agreements, and appeared in federal court on behalf of the United States. Because of this experience, my advice to first-year attorneys, in government or private practice, is always to reach out to senior lawyers and volunteer.
How do you define success in your practice?
I define long-term success as being a trusted antitrust adviser who consistently provides reliable advice that enables clients to achieve their business goals, but doing so in a way that is grounded in integrity. In addition, success to me is creating an enjoyable work environment. I have been lucky to work with many preeminent antitrust lawyers and the ones who have had the most influence on me are not only fantastic lawyers but they are good people. Because of these lawyers, I have always made it a priority (especially during the pandemic) to support rewarding and healthy teams, identifying stand-up opportunities for junior lawyers, setting self-imposed boundaries for calls and emails, looking ahead to avoid fire drills, celebrating wins (regardless of size), and encouraging everyone to pursue personal interests.
What are you most proud of as a lawyer?
Feeling fulfilled by knowing I have helped clients navigate the challenging and uncertain antitrust enforcement environment that we are in. Antitrust agency leadership under the Biden administration, particularly at the FTC, has made it clear that they want to make it harder, both procedurally and substantively, for companies to get deals done. This environment, in many ways, has made it challenging to obtain predictable outcomes, which our clients demand. I am proud that I have been part of teams that have obtained merger clearance for clients in this context, including a vertical transaction involving two technology companies. A deal with a similar profile likely would not have caught the attention of either agency just a few years ago and we faced extended review by the agency.
I am also proud that I have earned the respect of colleagues and peers in the antitrust bar. This past fall, I had the honor of serving as a non-governmental adviser at the International Competition Network Cartel Workshop in Lisbon. It was a very memorable experience to meet antitrust enforcers from around the world and, after nearly two years of being at home because of the pandemic, the opportunity to travel internationally felt both refreshing and motivating. I will never forget it.
Who is your greatest mentor in the law and what have they taught you?
I have been fortunate to be able to call several prominent lawyers in the antitrust bar mentors, including multiple trailblazing women, including
Just for fun, tell us your two favorite songs on your summer music playlist.
The chillwave vibes of “Feel It All Around” by Washed Out always make me feel like I should be relaxing at a beach. I run a lot in the summer (even in the DC heat) and am always looking for new tracks to motivate me on the next mile. Swedish House Mafia’s “Heaven Takes You Home” is the latest track on my running playlist.
Megan Gerking has secured many successful outcomes for clients in complex antitrust matters, including criminal conduct investigations and merger clearances. A member of the leadership of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section, the Oregon native’s favorite hobbies include running on the Capital Crescent trail and exploring neighborhood parks and playgrounds.
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