A litigation partner At Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, Stuart N. Senator practices in Los Angeles.
The majority of his practice involves complex business litigation in trial and appellate courts and investigations conducted by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. Stuart Senator’s clients are national and international companies and law firms. Stuart Senator’s major areas of practice include antitrust, unfair competition, legal malpractice/malicious prosecution, law firm ethics, and conflicts of interest.
Stuart Senator offers antitrust counseling and compliance advice on numerous subjects that include distribution practices, pricing, trade association activity, and mergers. Stuart Senator was named a Top Health Care Lawyer by the Daily Journal and has been recognized by Lawdragon as one of the 500 Leading Litigators in America in 2022. Stuart has been an invited presenter at various professional conferences regarding antitrust issues. In addition to his work for clients, Stuart Senator is General Counsel to the firm, advising on issues relating to legal ethics and law firm management.
Tell us about your practice
I am a litigation partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson. My practice focuses on complex business litigation in trial and appellate courts, and investigations led by the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice. My clients include a diverse group of national and international companies. My major areas of practice include antitrust, unfair competition, legal malpractice/malicious prosecution and law firm ethics and conflicts of interest.
What Made You Want to Become a Lawyer
My interest in law stems from my post-graduate work in philosophy, where I studied what makes a legal system and a government legitimate. I was also looking for a profession that would be intellectually challenging and in which quality writing is valued, and which deals with real world problems, rather than the more esoteric and theoretical issues that are considered in traditional academic work.
Why did you decide to join Munger, Tolles & Olson?
One of the hallmarks of Munger, Tolles & Olson is the excellence of our lawyers. The opportunity to work with and learn from some of the brightest legal minds is what initially drew me to our firm. This contributes markedly to professional fulfillment among MTO lawyers, including me.
How did your early case work impact your career?
My antitrust litigation concentration certainly developed from cases to which I was assigned as a law clerk to a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and then as an associate at Munger, Tolles & Olson. I had had not taken a course in antitrust law during law school.
What excites you about working in the antitrust field?
I am excited about the complexity and nuances of antitrust law. The main antitrust law statutes are short and very general statements of legal principles, rather than detailed statements of what is and is not acceptable business conduct. Congress has left it to the courts to develop the details of antitrust laws, and we have seen those details develop in a very nuanced and sophisticated manner. That means that advising clients on antitrust risk and litigating antitrust cases requires judgment and sophistication.
What are some of the most impactful antitrust matters that you have handled?
For more than two decades, I’ve participated in some of the largest and most consequential antitrust litigation in the nation, with a focus on competition between brand name and generic pharmaceutical companies. One of my most well-known matters was the Supreme Court case of FTC v. Actavis, in which the Court considered the antitrust standard for evaluation of so-called “reverse payment” settlements of pharmaceutical patent litigation. I have also represented pharmaceutical companies in multi-district antitrust litigation, as well as companies in other industries who face antitrust litigation. And of course I have represented corporations in FTC and Department of Justice investigations.
What personal qualities make a good antitrust lawyer?
Being a good antitrust lawyer requires a deep understanding of a client’s business, how competition works in the relevant industry, and the factors animating judicial and government decision-making. My critical thinking, my experience, my judgment, and my ability to listen and learn all make me a good antitrust lawyer.
What is the best way for a lawyer to build an antitrust practice?
I imagine it differs from person to person. For me, the key has been consistently listening to my clients, being available to them and responsive to their concerns, and providing the highest quality work product and legal representation.
Your role includes serving as the firm’s general counsel. What does that entail?
As General Counsel for the firm, I am an the in house counsel to a large business. I deal with the full range of issues that arise for a business. I believe that my work as the firm’s General Counsel – as well as my work defending law firms in legal malpractice cases – has made me a better lawyer in my other work as well, because I know first-hand the challenges faced by in house counsel, and what an in house counsel wants and needs from her outside counsel.
When have you been the most satisfied as a lawyer?
I get great satisfaction from my day-to-day helping clients achieve their objectives. And when I refer to clients, I mean both outside clients and my law firm. Of course, I am satisfied when we have big victories in court, but one of the greatest services a lawyer can provide to a client is to help the client resolve a situation before it becomes a full-blown dispute. I have also gotten great satisfaction from my pro bono work, where I concentrate on impact litigation.
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
One experience that comes to mind is leading the legal team that used litigation to obtain reform of California’s system for prevention of heat-illness in agricultural workers – through ensuring that employers provide sufficient water, shade and rest breaks for farm workers, as well as training in the steps workers can take to reduce their risk of heat illness and in how management and workers can help workers who are suffering from heat illness. Acting as co-counsel with Public Counsel, we were able to improve the working conditions of countless California farm workers who pick our fruits and vegetables in hot weather conditions.
Another experience from early in my career – before there were cell phones – is leading the legal team that used litigation to ensure that Los Angeles County was making its freeway emergency call boxes accessible to drivers with hearing impairments and drivers with mobility impairments. The call box system is less known to drivers today, but before cell phones it played a significant role in freeway safety, and it was greatly impactful for drivers with disabilities to be able to have meaningful emergency access call boxes, just as other drivers did.