Career Paths: Amanda Triplett ’20L
Amanda Triplett ’20L spent three years working as a consultant in Washington, D.C. before coming to law school. As a student intern, she spent her summers at the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and as a Summer Honors Intern at the Bureau of Competition of the Federal Trade Commission. She served as Student Note Editor for the Journal of Civil Rights & Social Justice, President of the Public Interest Law Students Association, President of the Antitrust & Consumer Law Society, and as a Burks Scholar in her 3L year. She is also a student attorney in the Advanced Administrative Litigation “Black Lung” Clinic.
Where will you be working after graduation and in what practice area?
I will be practicing antitrust law as a trial attorney in the Health Care Division of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition in Washington, D.C. This division investigates the business activities of physicians, pharmaceutical companies, providers, and insurers to ensure free competition in this industry. It also provides guidance to economic policymakers on issues in health care competition.
Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to work in antitrust law?
I knew that I was interested in working with a federal agency, specifically in the area of economic regulation. I was drawn to subjects like antitrust law, trade policy, or securities regulation. I had seen a little bit of this kind of work before law school and wanted to help shape these policies as a lawyer.
Was there anything in your law school or summer job experience that confirmed this career choice?
I spent both of my summers working in antitrust law with the federal government and it was a great fit for me–I knew after my first summer that I made the right choice. I have primarily worked on anticompetitive conduct cases rather than mergers, and the law in this area is uniquely judge-made in comparison to more statutory or rules-based practices. This provides interesting opportunities for advocacy in the law and makes for very complex, intellectually fulfilling work. Additionally, the work has meaningful impact on consumers and businesses across a variety of industries. It feels good to go to work investigating, bringing cases, and issuing guidance to promote free competition and protect consumers.
What classes do you think are helpful to prepare for this job?
Because the specific type of antitrust work I do is litigation focused, strong oral advocacy, writing, and research skills are essential. The Black Lung Clinic was one of the best ways I could have worked on all of these skills. And because the FTC is an agency with its own administrative law system, the administrative law focus of this clinic prepared me for this practice setting.
Washington and Lee Law offers a variety of litigation focused clinic experiences, all of which would be helpful to students interested in this area of law. W&L Law also offers excellent antitrust coursework, including a doctrinal class on antitrust law and a practicum on international competition (a comparison of antitrust systems in the EU, US, and other jurisdictions). Finally, taking an administrative law course is also very useful. Any background in economics is a plus.
Can you describe the job search process?
The DOJ and FTC have somewhat similar hiring processes. Both hire 1L volunteer summer interns. They also both have 2L summer honor programs and entry-level hiring programs. The FTC also interviews students through W&L’s D.C. Interview Program, which is how I received my 2L internship and job offer. Both agencies often hire students who were interns previously.
Antitrust law tends to be geographically centered in D.C., at least with the federal government. In addition to this, the antitrust community is small and tightly knit so networking becomes even more important. I reached out to a W&L alum at the DOJ before applying for my first internship and, throughout both of my summers, my supervising attorneys were very active advocates for me. In addition to summer internship opportunities, the D.C. externship program is also a great way to learn about antitrust law and to establish connections in this field.
What are you most looking forward to about this job?
I think the advantage of working at a federal agency, and in many public interest jobs, is that the quality of the work and the responsibility given to new attorneys is unparalleled. I am excited to know I will have the opportunity to get my feet wet early on and to work on important, interesting cases. I am looking forward to returning because I truly enjoy the caliber of the work, the mission, and the team environment I work in.