Welcome to our annual AAG Awards that recognize the accomplishments of the Antitrust Division. I want to start by thanking our outstanding quartet for a beautiful rendition of the national anthem. Whoever said antitrust lawyers were talentless academics obviously hadn’t heard this group, which we’re calling the coordinated effects quartet. And thank you all for coming.
We’re here to celebrate a remarkable series of victories and hard work on behalf of American consumers. We’re going to honor you, who have dedicated your professional careers and talents to public service. With varied backgrounds, serving in all kinds of roles, you are the heartbeat of the Division.
We have award winners who, as paralegals just months out of college, undertook critical work on multi-billion dollar merger challenges. And on the other end of the spectrum we have winners who have devoted literally a half-century of service to the Division. We’re here to honor attorneys, support staff, paralegals, economists, and FBI agents, from every part of the country and with every kind of background, who have in common an uncommon devotion to public service and the enforcement of free markets. We’re here, quite simply, because of the good work you do.
We’ll also be honoring the memories and dedications of three of our dear friends with the creation of two new awards for cartel enforcement and ethics and integrity.
First let me say what an honor it is to serve you as the Division’s Assistant Attorney General. I’ve worked in various jobs in all three branches of the federal government, and I truly believe that working at the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice is one of the greatest privileges anyone can have. And this is the only Department in all of the federal government with a moral ideal in its very name. Your work in pursuit of justice for the American consumer vindicates that ideal.
Through our law enforcement efforts we preserve the economic organization of our nation. The American economy is premised on liberty; the liberty to engage in business fairly. The liberty to innovate. The liberty to risk and utilize your talents and earn an honest remuneration for that risk. Your work is critical to the continued functioning of that free market system. American consumers expect competition in the economy to work to their benefit, and together we help to maintain and vindicate those expectations. For many of us, antitrust is not just a fun profession, but an important mission.
So before turning to the awards we’re giving this year and the particular cases we’re celebrating, let me say thank you to the entire staff of the Antitrust Division for your stewardship of one of our country’s most important institutions. Thank you for your contributions both to our system of justice and to our system of commerce. Whether or not you’re receiving an award this year, know that your work is deeply appreciated.
Let me also say thank you at the outset to the family and friends of those receiving awards, some of whom I know are here today. Every one of our award recipients, I am sure, has a story about a late night, an out of town trip, or an unexpected project, where their family went above and beyond to support their hard work on behalf of American consumers. Maybe you have a series of those, as your partner moved from one busy matter to the next. For those stories, and for all of the love and support in between, thank you. Let’s give our first round of applause this afternoon to all of the family and friends who made today possible.
I know that the last year has been an incredibly busy one for the Division, with numerous major trials and transactions that really stretched our resources to the limit. And that all came amidst a leadership transition, with the need to incorporate and educate a new Front Office team. This year’s awards deservingly recognize how many Division personnel truly went above and beyond the call of duty to meet those challenges.