spotlight

Maribeth Petrizzi

petrizzi headshotMy path to law school was not exactly a planned path. I was a finance major as an undergrad, and I fully expected that I would work for an investment bank when I graduated, but an internship in the operations department of a New York bank changed my plan. I was able to see firsthand the intersection of the bank’s legal department with the hard-working women who processed all the critical transactions in the bank’s savings, checking, IRA, and Keogh departments. The legal department did not believe the employees I worked with could understand the nuances of the bank’s legal obligations, and the lawyers made minimal efforts to educate these employees. I shared my observations with another female intern, and she thought that we should go to law school to bridge the gap between these groups of employees. The rest, as they say, is history.

Donovan_BC copyI was interested in attending BC Law for many reasons, including the outstanding banking and corporate law courses, but once again my ultimate career path had nothing to do with the planned path of becoming a banking lawyer. Several classmates told me about an antitrust course they were taking, and it appealed to me because it was a 9:00 a.m. class and I preferred morning classes. Little did I know that I had stumbled upon an area of law that I would enjoy for the next 25 years. Not only did antitrust combine my interests in business and law, but the course was taught by Professor Peter Donovan. After the semester was over, Professor Donovan offered me the opportunity to pursue an independent study in antitrust. I was hooked–I wanted to pursue a career in antitrust, and I often think of my work with Professor Donovan as the spark that ignited my enjoyable and fulfilling career.

I started my antitrust career at the Federal Trade Commission. It was startling to see that, while women comprised fifty percent of my class at BC Law, women were in the minority in the field of antitrust. I spent the next couple years in private practice, but the appeal of working on behalf of the Department of Justice was too great. I joined the Antitrust Division and this is where I have remained for the past 17 years.

The Antitrust Division has been a great place for me to practice law, not only because of my love of antitrust, but because it has been an amazing and supportive environment. As a staff attorney I had the opportunity to learn from many talented analysts and trial attorneys, and at every step of my career I was given the opportunity to take ownership of complex investigative and trial preparation issues. I have also had the opportunity to see a great expansion of the number of women practicing antitrust in the last 25 years, and I now work with many more women who are career managers, deputy assistant attorney generals, and the assistant attorney general of the Antitrust Division. I share a great feeling of collegiality with the other women managers, and I have often enjoyed the role of a leadership mentor to new managers as I have served as the chief of my litigating section for the past 12 years. I have grown to appreciate and enjoy the “sisterhood” of female leaders in the Antitrust Division.

I have also enjoyed my career with the Antitrust Division because it has provided me an outstanding opportunity to work with countries developing their own antitrust regimes and with countries seeking consultation with the United States regarding their ongoing antitrust practice. I have had the privilege of traveling to Brazil, Peru, South Africa, and Poland as a representative of my agency, and these opportunities still amaze me. Practicing as an attorney with the Antitrust Division has also allowed me to strike the right work/life balance. As much as I have enjoyed my time as an antitrust attorney, my practice with the Antitrust Division has also allowed me time to spend with my family and friends pursuing endeavors that provide additional enrichment to my life.

While I actually did not end up on the career path I had originally planned, I would not change any aspect of the path I have taken–it has been an amazing 25 years!

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