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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

James Langenfeld

James Langenfeld

Ankura2000 K Street NW12th FloorWashingtonDistrict of ColumbiaUSA20006

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

James Langenfeld receives accolades for his first-class practice, focused on providing expert testimony and economic analysis on a spectrum of matters including mergers and damages.

Questions & Answers

Dr Langenfeld is a senior managing director, providing economic analyses and expert testimony for litigation, regulatory actions and economic policy. He serves on several editorial and professional boards, and has published articles on antitrust, damages, class actions, labour, mergers, and statistical analyses. He has been a director at the FTC and senior economist at GM. He holds a PhD in economics from Washington University in St Louis, and has a university professorship named after him.

After graduate school, what did you find most challenging about entering practice as a competition economist?

For my work at the Federal Trade Commission, before regulatory agencies, and in courts I have had to explain the complex economic aspects of competition cases to lawyers, judges and juries in terms they understand. It takes practice to translate the technical economic language for a larger audience.  

What are some of your greatest achievements to date?

I am glad that I was able to contribute to antitrust policies in the US, including various revisions of the Merger Guidelines. While at the FTC and since then, I have also worked with governments around the world to assist them in developing their competition policies. Finally, I have been an economic expert in large matters, such as the Air Cargo Fuel Surcharge cartel-related litigation.

How do you identify up-and-coming economists to be a part of Ankura? 

Well-trained younger economists with quantitative, writing and speaking skills are quite promising. They then need to show a dedication to the careful and thorough analyses that our consulting and expert work require.

How has your experience providing competition analyses for and to the FTC enhanced your practice? 

The FTC requires application of the most advanced economic analyses, since first-rate economists are involved in deciding what mergers or practices are to be challenged. As such, I am always learning new techniques and methods of analysis.

In your experience, is price gouging a typical aspect of antitrust practice, and how do you go about analysing it as an economist?

In the US, just charging a high price is not an antitrust violation. However, most US states have price gouging or similar statutes. In California, for example, if an emergency is declared (as it has been for the covid-19 pandemic), then price increases of 10 per cent or more over pre-emergency prices on certain items — such as face masks, certain drugs and cleaning products — are presumed to be price gouging. This presumption can be overturned if the seller merely passes on increases in its costs, or if it must cover additional distribution costs during the emergency. Typically, these price gouging cases are limited because most emergencies are short lived. However, the longer run impact of the covid-19 emergency — particularly in the US — is resulting in more and larger-impact price gouging charges. For example, there are the equivalent of large class actions being brought against eBay and Amazon, even though these platforms do not produce or own most the products identified as subject to price gouging.

How effective are cartel fines and damages as deterrents? 

In the US, research by Connor and Lande suggest that fines and private treble damages are insufficient to deter cartels because they believe the profits gained are greater than the fines and damages awarded. In EC countries, private damages are designed to reimburse entities damaged and not to provide deterrence. However, the combination of fines and private damages can vary substantially from case to case, and at least some cartel behaviour is likely to be deterred if the firms that would be involved are risk averse. 

How do you prepare for expert depositions in high-profile class actions as an economic expert? 

First, I carefully review my and other experts’ reports, relevant documents, depositions, data analyses and programs focusing on where I can give economic evidence that may be useful to the ultimate finders of fact. Finally, I try to anticipate the type of questions I may be asked, so I can be sure to provide clear and responsive answers to those questions.

As senior managing director at Ankura, what are your main priorities for the group’s development over the next five years?

Most important is mentoring economists. This often involves encouraging them to take more responsibility in assisting the preparation of my and other experts’ reports. A well-rounded expert economist must develop quantitative/statistical, writing and organisational skills. As economists develop these skills, I can recommend to clients that a rising economist has the skills to manage their cases and testify, which should result in the development of their own collaborative practice at Ankura.   

Thought Leaders - Competition - Economists 2021

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

James Langenfeld receives accolades for his first-class practice, focused on providing expert testimony and economic analysis on a spectrum of matters including mergers and damages.

Questions & Answers

Dr Langenfeld is a senior managing director, providing economic analyses and expert testimony for litigation, regulatory actions and economic policy. He serves on several editorial and professional boards, and has published articles on antitrust, damages, class actions, labour, mergers, and statistical analyses. He has been a director at the FTC and senior economist at GM. He holds a PhD in economics from Washington University in St. Louis, and has a university professorship named after him.

After graduate school, what did you find most challenging about entering practice as a competition economist?

For my work at the Federal Trade Commission, before regulatory agencies, and in courts I have had to explain the complex economic aspects of competition cases to lawyers, judges and juries in terms they understand. It takes practice to translate the technical economic language for a larger audience.  

What are some of your greatest achievements to date?

I am glad that I was able to contribute to antitrust policies in the US, including various revisions of the Merger Guidelines. While at the FTC and since then, I have also worked with governments around the world to assist them in developing their competition policies. Finally, I have been an economic expert in large matters, such as the Air Cargo Fuel Surcharge cartel-related litigation.

How do you identify up-and-coming economists to be a part of Ankura? 

Well-trained younger economists with quantitative, writing and speaking skills are quite promising. They then need to show a dedication to the careful and thorough analyses that our consulting and expert work require.

How has your experience providing competition analyses for and to the FTC enhanced your practice? 

The FTC requires application of the most advanced economic analyses, since first-rate economists are involved in deciding which mergers or practices are to be challenged. As such, I am always learning new techniques and methods of analysis.

In your experience, is price gouging a typical aspect of antitrust practice, and how do you go about analysing it as an economist?

In the US, just charging a high price is not an antitrust violation. However, most US states have price gouging or similar statutes. In California, for example, if an emergency is declared (as it has been for the covid-19 pandemic), then price increases of 10 per cent or more over pre-emergency prices on certain items — such as face masks, certain drugs and cleaning products — are presumed to be price gouging. This presumption can be overturned if the seller merely passes on increases in its costs, or if it must cover additional distribution costs during the emergency. Typically, these price gouging cases are limited because most emergencies are short lived. However, the longer run impact of the covid-19 emergency — particularly in the US — is resulting in more and larger-impact price gouging charges. For example, there are the equivalent of large class actions being brought against eBay and Amazon, even though these platforms do not produce or own most of the products identified as subject to price gouging.

How effective are cartel fines and damages as deterrents? 

In the US, research by Connor and Lande suggest that fines and private treble damages are insufficient to deter cartels because they believe the profits gained are greater than the fines and damages awarded. In EC countries, private damages are designed to reimburse entities damaged and not to provide deterrence. However, the combination of fines and private damages can vary substantially from case to case, and at least some cartel behaviour is likely to be deterred if the firms that would be involved are risk averse. 

How do you prepare for expert depositions in high-profile class actions as an economic expert? 

First, I carefully review my and other experts’ reports, relevant documents, depositions, data analyses and programmes focusing on where I can give economic evidence that may be useful to the ultimate finders of fact. Finally, I try to anticipate the type of questions I may be asked, so I can be sure to provide clear and responsive answers to those questions.

As senior managing director at Ankura, what are your main priorities for the group’s development over the next five years?

Most important is mentoring economists. This often involves encouraging them to take more responsibility in assisting the preparation of my and other experts’ reports. A well-rounded expert economist must develop quantitative/statistical, writing and organisational skills. As economists develop these skills, I can recommend to clients that a rising economist has the skills to manage their cases and testify, which should result in the development of their own collaborative practice at Ankura.   

Global Leader

Competition - Economists 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

James Langenfeld attracts widespread commendation for his analyses of contentious and non-contentious matters, ranging from damages and class actions to regulatory impacts on consumers.

Biography

Dr James Langenfeld is a senior managing director at Ankura, based in Washington, DC. He provides economic analyses and expert testimony for litigation, regulatory actions and economic policy in a wide variety of industries. This work involves several different types of matters, including antitrust, damages, class actions, labour, mergers, statistical analyses, and the impact of regulation on firms and consumers. He also serves on the editorial board of several professional journals, and has published numerous articles in journals and books on diverse topics in applied economics and econometrics. Over his 30-year career, he has held positions as managing director at other consulting firms; director in the Bureau of Economics of the Federal Trade Commission; and senior economist at General Motors.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

James Langenfeld receives accolades for his first-class practice, focused on providing expert testimony and economic analysis on a spectrum of matters including mergers and damages.

Biography

Dr James Langenfeld is a senior managing director at Ankura, based in Washington, DC. He provides economic analyses and expert testimony for litigation, regulatory actions and economic policy in a wide variety of industries. This work involves several different types of matters, including antitrust, damages, class actions, labour, mergers, statistical analyses, and the impact of regulation on firms and consumers. He also serves on the editorial board of several professional journals, and has published numerous articles in journals and books on diverse topics in applied economics and econometrics. Over his 30-year career, he has held positions as managing director at other consulting firms; director in the Bureau of Economics of the Federal Trade Commission; and senior economist at General Motors.

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