Thursday, January 31, 2013

Today I ran

for one minute out of every ten on the treadmill at a crappy 5.2 mph.  But hey its a start!  Doubt I can walk/run/limp the course in Rome but half may not be out of the question.

Beer -- Relevant Market

So this post relates to two of my (our) very favorite things:  beer and competition.   DOJ is blocking the Anheuser Busch/Grupo-Modelo merger.   My first instinct is that there's relatively little good to say about mega-brew, and encouraging competition in the market is a good thing. My second thought is that the amount of beer variety has considerably increased in the last 10 years. Indeed, my own beer taste has become increasingly local and micro.  My third thought is that the beer market has inverted.  In the old days, there were lots of low cost local beers, the Utica Club, Genesee Cream and Falstaff of my youth.  They disciplined the bigs.  Now those smaller breweries are renting their tanks to the high end micros that charge more than the major brands.  My fourth thought is that if you look at which brands ABI InBev controls, my second thought about increased variety may be entirely wrong.  Thoughts??

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scholastica -- I get it, already!

Apparently Expresso is on the way out and Scholastica is on the way in.  Fine with me.  But if I get one more e-mail telling me that X Law Review is now accepting Scholastica submissions I may flip!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Report on Running on Captiva

I went to the GMU Law and Economics Center Public Choice workshop on Captiva Island, Florida, last weekend.  It was a good program, with instruction by Todd Zywicki (very good), Barry Weingast (extraordinary), and Fred McChesney (interesting, educational, and quite entertaining).  I did not come away with new ideas for completing my bankruptcy draft, but a good experience nonetheless.

I arrived at the hotel on Friday at 1 pm.  It was 80 degrees with beautiful sunny skies.  It took me less than 5 minutes to make it to the beach and start running, barefoot, out and back for one hour.  A marvelous run.  The hotspots began to be noticeable about 20 minutes in.  By the time I turned around I was hoping I could at least even out the blisters between my feet.  By the end I had massive, toe-engulfing, feet-pad covering, blood-filled blisters that required me to walk to the first session of class (that evening) on my heels.

I cut the blisters away that night.  Saturday afternoon we had a few hours between our morning session of classes and the group dinner.  This time wearing shoes, I headed south along the one road along Captiva Island.  After a few excruciating strides I was able to run despite my flayed feet.  Another 60 minute run, I'm guessing 9 miles, also entirely in the beautiful sunshine.  I topped it off with 30 minutes swimming in the very crisp Gulf of Mexico water.

Sunday morning I joined Bill for 10 miles, exactly the distance north to south along Captiva Island and back.  Bill is an excellent runner with decades of experience and some tremendous race results to show for it.  We talked running, we talked antitrust, and we talked whatever else one talks over 85 minutes when you have the road to yourselves.  That afternoon I headed back to the water for 30 more minutes, this time following the beach north to the point of the island before returning.

And I returned to Indianapolis and 55 degree weather.  A little rainy, yes, but the skin on the feet is healing and Boston is about 11 weeks away.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Race Report -- Manhattan Half

It was cold -- 19 F.  Of course, I left bib pickup until race day.  For winter races this is a bit of a nightmare.  NYRR handles bib distribution at the club house at 89th and Fifth.  The finish (and baggage) were at 72 street on the transverse.  The start was near the late Tavern on the Green, in the 60s, on the West side of the Park.  I left lots of time to accomplish all of this, so that meant a couple of bonus miles staying warm.

As I have mentioned, I've been feeling creaky and slow, so I wasn't sure whether to treat this as the first part of a long slow training run, or as a chance to air out the legs and see how fast they'd go.  Well, as usual, the adrenaline got to me, and I took off at the start.  I did not have the speed of early October, where I pretty much held 7:15-7:45.  This time I spent he race between 7:45 and 8:15.  The third mile was faster (downhill), than that, and mile 11 was slower (uphill).   The one disappointment was that I sort of died at the end.  For most of the race I was hanging with a "pod" of runners who were maintaining a steady effort.  In mile 11, I slowed a little bit, and they held steady.  I'm not sure why.  I just didn't feel it in my legs.  The end result was 1:45.59, a solid result for me.  Granted, this was a bit more than 5 minutes slower than the Staten Island Half in October.  But then, the conditions were better, and I was further along on the training schedule.  For the first race of the season, in late January, I'll take it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Starting Salaries

Returning to the topic of law schools and the future of the legal profession, our friend and colleague, Larry Solan has posted an interesting proposal on the Huffington Post.  Law firms should cut their entry level salaries.  I think he's right.  The reasons, however, are much simpler than he suggests, and relate to the dynamics of competition.   So I hope you actual antitrust types out there will weigh in.  My point, in a nutshell, is that entry level law firm salaries are upward sticky, and that this has led to a number of unhappy pathologies, but most importantly, an exaggerated response on the demand side.

Solan argues that paying first year associates less would allow firms to train associates who are less profitable during their early years of practice.  I think this misses the point.  Firms aren't interested in training lawyers. They are not ever going to get fully minted lawyers from law schools either (especially if we eliminate the third year).  The real problem the firms face is that they have been caught in an environment where they can't adjust starting salaries down.

Starting salaries are a perceived signal about the quality of the firm, both to potential hires and to clients.  A firm that doesn't pay "street" is not viewed as a top firm.  This locks everybody into the same cost structure and drives a fair number of unattractive aspects of legal practice.  First, starting salaries drive minimum billables.  Second, high starting salaries make each hire more expensive.  Third, high salaries make it impossible to retain even excellent associates during slack periods.  The key point here is that the legal profession would be a much happier place if a firm could make money on an associate billing 1200 hours, rather than requiring 1800-2000 hours.  Even in New York, an associate can pay back law school debt at $90-100K/year.  The apartment might not be as nice, but the associate might actually get to sleep there.  Slack time could be used doing pro-bono work, participating in professional associations, building a network, enriching the profession, or drinking beer.

The problem is the negative signal sent by cutting entry level salaries.  Legal services are, in many respects a Giffen good.  Price is a proxy for quality.  Big Law is trapped in a reverse lemons equilibrium.  There's no way to compete by seeking to provide high quality lower cost legal services, since there's no credible way to signal quality other than perceived ability to draw high quality talent . . .

The question is whether the current downturn can break the cycle.

Deborah Merritt has written a snarky response to Solan.  She points out that large firms have made a move to cut salaries.  They've done it by creating lower paying contract positions within the firm.  These lawyers are handed the lower level tasks and have limited or no prospects for advancement within the firm.

I think my answer is, "So what?"  And, maybe even,"Wonderful!"  This creates an opportunity for middle tier firms to compete for students in the middle.  For example, imagine that Cravath is paying discovery attorneys $75K with no prospect of advancement, but paying partner track associates $150K.  That leaves a lot of room for a high quality medium sized firm to offer $90K and a career, rather than having to match Cravath.

The point is that in a labor market with a lot of slack capacity there ought to be downward pressure on salary.  For idiosyncratic reasons, law firm entry level salaries are upward sticky so all of the adjustment has been on the demand side.  The emergence of transparent alternate pricing structures that reduce the stickiness may be a good thing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Article

Harry First and I just posted our new essay Antitrust's Democracy Deficit on SSRN.  Download it while it's hot!

Plus we welcome your comments and reactions particularly in light of Obama's inaugural address reference to the need for rules to ensure fair market competition.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Big mountains with little snow

I met my brother S__ to ski for a couple of days in Wyoming.  This was a trip I could ill afford from a schedule perspective, but my rule is never, never to miss a family weekend.  (It's a rule born of living 3000 miles from my closest immediate blood relative.)

The snow was pitiful for the second year in a row.  Trees and rocks sticking up all over the hill.

Jackson Hole mountain is extraordinary.  Big, wild, and scary.

A few observations, in no particular order:

1.  I can tell I'm getting older, and enjoying it, when I like standing on top of the hill and admiring the view as much as I like skiing down the hill.
2.  S__ observed that skiing technique has passed us by, and he's right.  I grew up learning a turn that is basically a skate-step combination, permitting me to accelerate into the arc of the turn and ride the ski's rebound into the next turn.  Modern skiing appears to be a process of throwing one's weight to initiate a turn.  When a skier does it well, it's pretty amazing to watch.
3.  I can tell I'm getting older, and enjoying it, when I get as much pleasure out of watching S__ ski as I do out of skiing myself.  Partly it's because I appreciate good skiing (and he skis well).  (Here too.)  Partly it's because over 35 years of skiing -- a rough guess says 350 days in that time frame -- 95% of my turns have been within 200 yards of S__.  I am pretty sure I can feel his skiing nearly as tangibly as I can feel my own.
4.  You know you are skiing in Wyoming when you find yourself two valleys outside of the ski area boundary and you are skiing moguls.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Putting the "S" in LSD . . .

Okay, it hit me the other day that Rome is soon -- less than two months away.   That means that the serious long runs have to start now.  I usually like to log four 18-20 milers before a marathon.  That's just not going to happen.  I did 15 last week.  Seventeen today.  Next week is the Manhattan Half, so I have time for two 20s before March 1.   Today was just one of those days when the idea of running a marathon seems inconceivable.  The weather was great.  I had company for the first 11 miles, which helped, but still at 9 miles I was feeling pretty much cooked.  When my colleague peeled off, I just settled into the survival shuffle and slogged it out.  I still don't feel completely recovered from November.  Or is it that I'm not fully recovered from Christmas?

Maybe Max was right.  Maybe it does all end at 50 . . .

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Third Year of Law School

Okay, we're mostly law professors here, and I've mostly avoided weighing in on the various debates going on about the changes in the legal profession and the effect those changes are going to have on legal education.  Most of my reticence has had to do with my faith in the business cycle.  The current downturn is not the new normal, and my sense is that the bigger risks come from "oversteer" than from the current state of the market.

But, an op-ed in the Times and a conference at NYU have driven me to break my silence.  The conference is to discuss whether New York State should allow law students to sit for the bar after their second year of law school.  It's not a crazy idea, but the devil is in the details.  There are a lot of good reasons to do this.  None of them are mentioned in the Op-ed.

The driving force behind the change derives from a bit of "lore" about the third year of law school.  The third year is described as "those famous semesters in which, as the saying goes, law schools “bore you to death” and student attendance drops like a stone?"  I remember this view of the third year.  It prevailed back in the 1980s when I went to law school.  It was prevalent at elite law schools where most students had their post-graduation jobs lined up after their second summer.  This was indeed a problem, but not a problem caused by the third year of law school.  It was a problem caused by the competition for top law students during a boom.  

This has not been my experience with regard to third year law students.  I teach at an excellent law school, but it is not a top ten law school.   Many of our students get big firm jobs, but a large chunk of the class is hired during or after completion of the third year.   In my experience, this has meant that our students remain engaged through the third year.  This is because their grades still matter, but more importantly, they use many of the advanced upper level courses to develop saleable expertise.  They take advanced courses in bankruptcy, securities regulation or tax, if they want to be business lawyers.  They participate in moot court teams, clinics and trial advocacy classes if they want to become litigators.  In short, the third year matters to theses students.  It matters a lot.

Now letting students sit for the bar after their second year does not necessarily meant that students would leave law school after their second year.  First, New York is the only state considering this rule change.  Without a three year degree, the students would be immobile.  Second, a law student who has passed the bar can do some interesting things.  Externships might be more valuable if the student lawyer could engage in the practice of law.  Medical education does not end when med students pass their boards. Internship and residency continue the educational process.  

This does not mean that getting rid of the third year of law school is a good idea.  It was bad for the profession when students checked out during their third year.  It would be bad for the profession to turn out badly educated lawyers as well. 


Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Bear's Head Coach

He's in his 50s, Jewish, a lawyer, and used to live in Canada.  If I had known those were the criteria, I would have applied!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Entrepreneurial Athleticism

My buddy D__, with whom I used to work and with whom I have spent countless hours running, riding, and racing in recent years, is truly turning his hobby into an avocation.  With a group of top DC-area triathletes he has now founded Ignite Endurance, a triathlon racing team with sponsors ranging from an area bike shop to energy gel providers to clothing manufacturers to, well, a winery.  All this while holding down his full-time job as appellate counsel in a litigating division at the Justice Department.  Rock on.

Monday, January 14, 2013


So, now that NYRR has decided what to do about the NYC Marathon cancellation, I have to decide what I want to do about it.  Do I want to claim a guaranteed entry in 2013, or wait until 2014.  I'm of two minds.  With Rome coming up soon, the idea of recovering and then gearing up for a Fall Marathon is feeling a bit daunting.  Also, I'm a bit concerned that the 2013 might be even more than the usual mob scene as they try to accommodate all of the guaranteed admits.  Then there's my current affinity for smaller races that has me thinking about another out of the way race like Brooklyn or the Hamptons.  And then there's Loch Ness.  Take a look at that race profile.



Max, but for the hill at mile 18, this would be a great race to take another stab at 3 hours.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Longish Run

So, I'm starting to crawl back.  I ran 14 and change today, beginning the ramp up to Rome.  It hurt.  I was slow.   I'd be more concerned if I hadn't run a pretty hard 7 miles yesterday.  Still, I'm wondering when my October form is going to return . . .

Run Mapping Websites

I've tried a few of these. was at one time the leader (and may still be). Mapmyrun has a sister site, Actually, I have no idea why they differ, though presumably they direct different advertisements to the user.

They all use the same software based on Google maps. Refinements the better sites offer include following twists and turns between points rather than drawing straight lines.

I now use exclusively. Mapmyrun is either only available with a Facebook account, or it is trying hard enough to push me there that I'm not willing to find the work-around. Others at least want me to sign in so they can direct running shoe advertisements to my e-mail inbox. just gives the interface, permits me to select a starting point by relatively anonymous information like a zip code or street crossing, and permits me to save routes (giving me a link), and asks for no information or commitment. I have a quaint habit of starting and stopping all of my runs a few blocks away to preserve some feeling of privacy (though I have little question my runs are easily traceable to my front door by a sufficiently savvy investigator).

I've now formed the habit of mapping hypothetical runs while watching TV. "What if I went further on Beach drive instead of turning into Bethesda at Cedar Lane?" "What if I took the Monon Trail all the way to 70th before heading west to the canal tow-path?" It's a less expensive habit than shopping for running shoes as a way to get my fix in the quiet times.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Running within yourself

I learned in college that some people are just better than me, across every observable dimension. PB was a rowing teammate. He and I were two of the better runners on the heavyweight crew. (That is not necessarily a good thing. Heavyweight rowers can not afford the luxury of having runners' builds.) PB was a better runner than me. He was also a better rower than me. And he was a better student than me. Frankly, he was a nicer guy than me.

I may have forgotten this story. I fell into a semi-habit of seeing a better athlete and say "but what's (s)he do for work" or a better professor and say "but how is (s)he as an athlete."

Then today I learned of a leading figure in the antitrust academy and enforcement ranks who is not just a brilliant and productive thinker, he has (fairly) recently run a marathon mere seconds over the coveted 3:00 mark. My immediate reaction was to think I need to change up my training strategy. Or maybe I need to hang everything and write more and better.

Or there's the alternative of "running within myself." Like when I show up at a race and spot the runners who will beat me no matter what I do, or show up at a conference populated by the leading thinkers. All things equal I like the world better with those people in it, so the better strategy is to appreciate and not to compete.

Morning Run

Sometimes the morning light actually makes you happy you got up early in the morning to go running:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January at the Gym . . .

For the last couple of years, spin classes have been a regular part of my workout regime.  They allow me to combine two sports in one workout.  Usually, I spin and swim on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Sometimes I bike and run.  Anyway, the 6:00 am class is always a challenge, but never so much as during the dark days of January.  To make matters worse, this week I have to contend with all the New Years resolution folks.  I got to the gym at 5:45 and got the second to last bike.  Hopefully things will be back to normal in a couple of weeks.

Blogging class

I'm experimenting with a blog for my antitrust class.  It's pretty amazing what you can put together in an afternoon on Google Blogger.  The most obvious difficulty is that my Blogger profile remains the same for both blogs, so I'm either Professor Max Huffman here, or Max there -- unless I create two Google profiles, which I've resisted doing for administrative reasons.

My ultimate goal is to create a vibrant out-of-class setting for discussion.  I'd like in time to experiment with opening the semester up to the public.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Year of Being Injured

Right Calf, a brief return of P.F., left knee plus It and Quad.  These all contributed to a year of less than 700 miles and few race milestones.  I ran a couple of nice 10Ks, enjoyed my bandit 10K in Santiago, Chile, but nothing longer.  But the real highlight was my 3:15 half mile on the Oxford Sports Club track where Sir Roger Bannister made history.  Hope for more and better in 2013.

Monday, January 7, 2013


I tried this (Ted style) last week. My assessment:

Wow, what a workout.

This is very different from water running, where I push off of the ground. The two seem to serve very different purposes. Water running is a slow-motion strength-builder and form-developer. Aqua-jogging is a high heart-rate endeavor. Like Ted suggested, staying afloat is half of the battle.

I have a knee tendon that is making hill repeats infeasible. That's a problem, because this is hill repeat time of year. But 50 meters of aqua-jogging is much like 90 seconds of hill climbing, without the stress on the tendons.

There is a skill to finding the right pitch for your body in the water. Too upright and you sink like a stone. Too far forward and you are basically swimming. 15 degrees or so from vertical and you can make slow progress without sinking, or at least without sinking quickly.

8 times down the 50 meter pool pretty much knocked me over.

Wow, what a workout.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 Recap

I enjoyed this rundown courtesy of I remember two of these well: the Olympic marathon trials (well discussed here at runningprofs) and the Olympic 10,000m. I was watching the latter on the tube at the Boulder Running Company, surrounded by what was (euphemistically) a knowledgeable crowd.

Because Spencer raises Google . . .

in the comments to the below post. What explains it? One doesn't normally think of Chairman Liebowitz as shying away from a populist skirmish. Or has Google out-populized (?) him?

I was intrigued by a justification for the decision made in a NY Times article: Google's conduct must have been efficient because competitors' imitated it. So now we laud a gas station price increase because the station across the street matches it?

Where does the theory of harm fail? Is the monopoly that fragile? Is Google's conduct simply a question of a better mousetrap? Or is Google better represented than the government in a way that Microsoft was not? Beth Wilkinson is impressive, but (with much respect) David Boies she ain't.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Libor scandal and antitrust

Why is antitrust barely a blip on the radar of the Libor interest rate scandal?  If the government has the facts, then the defendants engaged in a per se unlawful conspiracy to rig the interest rates.  While there is some private treble damage litigation, apparently the Antitrust Division had nothing to do with the investigation or the settlement.  What am I missing?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I ran ...

about 100 yards

3-4 times on a 3.5 mile power walk in Buenos Aires my last day there.  Looked like a great city for running except for the day it was 103 with crushing humidity.

And it didn't hurt ...

Too much.

Now back home in Chicago about 70 degrees colder than B.A and back to power walks on 5% or greater on tread mills and stationary bikes.  Still not clear why all sports medicine people hate ellipticals.  Watched Ted (the movie not the blogger) on an Itunes rental over a 23 hour period to pass the time.  Prefer the blogger for diversion during long runs (see 2006 NYC marathon and 2011 Hamptons marathon).  Ted the Movie may has a foul mouthed stoned teddy bear but this blog has Ted the mighty marathon Rabbit!

Committed (or, ought to be)

I have just submitted payments for (1) Mountains of Misery cycling 200K in the mountains around Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg Virginia. This will be trip 4 to that ride; (2) the National 24-hour Championships in Michigan in June. This will be attempt number 1 at riding around the clock; and (3) the Big Wild Ride 1200K, riding from Valdez to Anchorage via Fairbanks and Talkeetna in July. This is attempt number 3 over that distance and attempt number 2 on that particular course.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Orleans

Will any of you be in NO this weekend for the AALS?  I'm arriving latish on Friday, and could run Saturday, Sunday or (early) Monday.

Waiting for Stuff to Heal

Happy New Year to all!!  So, my first New Year's resolution is to give stuff time to heal.  Like all resolutions, this one may be tough to keep.

The run up to a marathon is always a bit of a tight rope walk.  Various things hurt, but not enough to make you stop training, or racing.  We stretch.  We cross train.  We run through it. We explain to ourselves that even though it hurts a bit, it's not affecting our form.

This Fall was definitely that way for me.  My left hip and hamstring were tight for much of October.  I also rolled my right ankle in early October, but ran through it.  Every morning I woke up, my plantar fasci announced their presence.  Still, I was running better than ever. I had two of the best races, and many of the best runs of my life.  So, who's complaining?  After all, there was always December for all those things to heal.

Here's the paradox.  Slowing down just seems to make everything hurt more.  It's now January, and I'm still not getting full extension with my left leg.  My right ankle is super stiff, and I now seem to have some traditional Achilles tendonitis.  I haven't run more than 5 miles in weeks.  I've jogged to the gym and gotten on the bike and/or swum in the pool.  Everything should be getting better right?  Well, not so fast, anyway.

I'm itching to start ramping it up again for Rome, and there are two voices in my head.  One says, "just do it! The injuries will take care of themselves regardless."  The other says, "Give it another week or two, your base fitness is good, so there will still be time to get ready for Rome."  Yesterday and today, I just swam.  Tomorrow I'll hit the bike.  Maybe Thursday I'll give the legs another tentative test.