One of Stanford Law School’s new visiting professors has argued precedent-setting antitrust cases, has held senior positions in the U.S. government and has been general counsel of a major multinational corporation. And during his final year at Harvard Law School, he coauthored a paper on law and economics that remains one of the most cited and influential law review articles of all time.
Now A. Douglas Melamed, the Herman Phleger Visiting Professor, is preparing to teach a new course during winter quarter at the law school called “Going Global: Advising Clients in a Global Economy” with Professors Robert Daines and Jenny Martinez. He’ll draw upon his long experience as a partner in an international law firm and as head of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice during the Clinton years and his more than four and one-half years as senior vice president and general counsel of Intel Corporation.
“Commerce takes place increasingly in the global economy,” Melamed said. “We learn in law school analytical tools for navigating the U.S. legal system. But the law is very different even on the European continent. In non-Western countries, the differences are even greater. It’s important for students to learn that the tools of American law are of limited value once international borders are crossed.”
“Doug Melamed brings spectacular experience to Stanford. He has had a distinguished career as a private attorney, led the antitrust division of the Department of Justice and guided a major multinational corporation as its chief lawyer. Beyond this, he has exceptional intellectual range and creativity. Our students and our community are so lucky to be able to learn from him,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, dean and Richard E. Lang Professor of Law at Stanford Law School
Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid
One of the most important lessons Melamed has learned is that, in counseling on business and legal strategies and in litigation, one cannot assume others see problems or issues the same way. “You can’t be a good lawyer if you’re drinking the Kool-Aid,” he explained. “You’ve got to anticipate how the situation looks to others and what those whose background and interests are different from yours are going to think and say.”
When Melamed prepares for an important legal argument, he spends hours jotting down all the questions he can imagine that others might ask about the case – and then proceeds to answer them. That enables him both to prepare for the argument and to test the soundness of his position.
Melamed entered Harvard Law School in 1967 after earning a BA in political science and economics at Yale. “I loved what I studied in college, but I didn’t take law school as seriously as I think I should have,” he recalled. “I didn’t expect to practice law, and maybe I was too young.” But he became excited about law while writing a paper for a third-year seminar.
He sat down with a blank legal pad and created a matrix that became a framework for the nascent field of law and economics. He speculates that the novelty of the approach might have reflected in part that he was taking a fresh look at the problem. “I wasn’t steeped in the literature,” he explained. Melamed and the professor, Guido Calabresi (now a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit), turned the paper into an article, “Property Rules, Liability Rules and Inalienability: One View of the Cathedral,” that has been cited thousands of times and reprinted in anthologies around the world.
After law school, Melamed clerked for Judge Charles M. Merrill of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Then he began practicing law, first as an associate and later as a partner with the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C. His second oral argument was before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Kaiser Steel Corporation. Since then, he has argued on behalf of other clients in numerous federal and state appellate and trial courts and before various administrative agencies.
Taking on Microsoft
Joel Klein tapped Melamed in 1996 to be his principal deputy when Klein headed the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. In that role, Melamed worked closely with Klein in developing the government’s legal theories for the case that accused Microsoft of monopolizing personal computer operating systems. (Stanford Law School Professor Phil Malone was the factual architect of the case.)
During his years with the DOJ, Melamed also oversaw numerous other investigations and cases, as well as the Antitrust Division’s international activities and its policies regarding the communications and electricity industries. When Klein left the DOJ, Melamed succeeded him as acting head of the Antitrust Division until the inauguration of President Bush in 2001.
Melamed has been a leader in the antitrust bar and has influenced the evolution of antitrust law through articles he has written and by cases on which he worked at the Justice Department and in private practice. After he returned to what became Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, his most important cases included Rambus v. the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and U.S. Philips v. the International Trade Commission (ITC) and Princo v. ITC, both in the Federal Circuit. All required challenging and creative analysis of legal problems – an exercise Melamed enjoys.
For example, in the Rambus case the FTC accused the chipmaker of “a pattern of anticompetitive and exclusionary acts and practices.” Melamed’s argument on behalf of Rambus defined important limits on the role of the antitrust laws in governing business conduct. The court ruled in favor of Rambus.
“We took positions in those cases that were novel, that people didn’t expect to prevail, and we succeeded,” he said. “We made new law, and I think we made good law.”
In 2009 Melamed moved to California to join Intel as senior vice president and general counsel. His job includes overseeing both Intel’s legal department and its global public policy team.
“I am excited about the opportunities I will have at Stanford – to think and write about some legal issues in which I have been interested for some time, to help develop a needed new course focused on legal problems in the global economy, and to try to pass on to law students some of what I have learned over the past 40 years,” he said.
About Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a new model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.