In April 2012, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division honored former Assistant Attorney General James F. Rill with the 2012 John Sherman Award for his many contributions to the development and enforcement of antitrust law and the advancement of antitrust policy internationally. The award was presented to Rill by Attorney General Eric Holder, who described Rill as “a mentor—and an excellent role model—for a generation of public interest lawyers.”
(L-R) Attorney General Eric Holder and former Assistant Attorney General James F. Rill at the 2012 Sherman Award Ceremony
In her introductory remarks at the Sherman Award Ceremony, then-Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division Sharis A. Pozen said:
Jim was a visionary…. From issuing the first joint Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission Horizontal Merger Guidelines in 1992, to negotiating the historic U.S.-European Union Antitrust Cooperation Agreement in 1991, his leadership and antitrust expertise is beyond compare. He is truly deserving of this award for his outstanding efforts on behalf of American consumers.
Rill served as Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division from 1989 to 1992, during which time he oversaw matters in a number of important industries, including airlines and banking. The U.S.-European Union Antitrust Cooperation Agreement, negotiated under Rill’s supervision, helped create a system of international cooperation that remains an important cornerstone of international antitrust enforcement today. The 1992 joint Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission Horizontal Merger Guidelines, issued while he was AAG, provided an outline of the main analytical techniques and practices the U.S. antitrust agencies used to evaluate mergers and acquisitions.
Rill’s commitment to protecting competition continued after his tenure. In 1997, Rill was appointed by then-Attorney General Janet Reno and then-Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein to serve as Co-Chair of the Department’s International Competition Policy Advisory Committee (ICPAC). ICPAC’s proposal to create a global competition forum that allows government competition authorities throughout the world to meet and discuss antitrust issues served as the stimulus for what has become the International Competition Network (ICN). The ICN was established in 2001, and has more than 100 member nations.
Created in 1994, the John Sherman Award is the Department’s highest antitrust honor and is presented by the Antitrust Division to a person or persons for outstanding and substantial contributions to the field of antitrust law, the protection of American consumers, and the preservation of economic liberty.
(L-R) Former Acting Assistant Attorney General Sharis A. Pozen, Attorney General Eric Holder, former Assistant Attorney General James F. Rill, and U.S. Court of Appeals Circuit Judge Michael Boudin stand for the national anthem.
The award is named for the author of the Sherman Act of 1890, the nation’s first and foremost antitrust law. John Sherman, a former congressman and senator, also served as Secretary of the Treasury from 1877 to 1881 and as Secretary of State from 1897 to 1898.
Previous recipients of the Sherman Award include Robert Pitofsky (2010), Herbert Hovenkamp (2008), Robert H. Bork (2005), Richard A. Posner (2003), Milton Handler (1998), Thomas E. Kauper and William F. Baxter (1996), Phillip E. Areeda (1995), and Howard Metzenbaum (1994).