William MacLeod is a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. and Chicago offices and chair of the Antitrust and Competition practice group. A former bureau director at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Mr. MacLeod focuses his practice on competition law, trade regulation, advertising, privacy and security. He is Chair of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section.
Mr. MacLeod guides domestic and international corporations through investigations and litigation in competition and consumer protection matters, from pricing, privacy and advertising to mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. He has obtained FTC and Antitrust Division clearance of numerous acquisitions and joint ventures in a range of industries, including medical devices, grocery products, defense contracting and steel manufacturing. Mr. MacLeod also has assisted clients with protecting interests threatened by consolidation in industries ranging from accounting to travel services, and has served as special counsel for a government investigation of one of the world’s largest manufacturing mergers.
Currently Chair of the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association, selected as one of The Best Lawyers in America© for Advertising Law, Antitrust Law and Antitrust Litigation, and named 2013 D.C. Advertising “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers®, Mr. MacLeod represents companies in state and federal courts, at the FTC and DOJ, and before the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. His notable cases include:
- Obtaining one of the largest judgments ever awarded in an advertising and antitrust case,
- Defending a major marketer in the FTC's first trial under the modern unfairness doctrine,
- Settling the FTC's first preliminary injunction action in an ad-substantiation case;
- Handling investigations of privacy and data security practices;
- Litigating a multidistrict Sherman Act case over online pricing; and
- Litigating price discrimination claims.
In addition, Mr. MacLeod counsels and defends companies and trade associations on pricing, advertising, distribution, IP licensing and competitor relations. In his work with trade associations and their members, he has fought onerous regulations and advocated sensible policies on competition, biotechnology, health and privacy. In his work on privacy and security, he has defended the practices of major retailers, manufacturers and financial companies.
Mr. MacLeod previously served as director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, which is the chief federal prosecutor of unfair and deceptive advertising. In this position, he also served as the U.S. delegate to a committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, where agency heads of Europe, Australia and Japan develop policies for financial regulations, product safety and international advertising. Mr. MacLeod also previously held positions as advisor to the assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division; director of the FTC’s Chicago regional office; and attorney advisor to the FTC chairman.
Memberships & Associations
American Bar Association, Antitrust Section, Chair
American Bar Association, Antitrust Section, Vice Chair, 2014-2015
American Bar Association, Antitrust Section, Program Officer, 2014
American Bar Association House of Delegates, Section Delegate, 2013
American Bar Association, Consumer Protection Officer, 2011-2012
International Chamber of Commerce, Competition and Consumer Policy Commissions, U.S. Antitrust Modernization Task Force, Chair
United States Council for International Business (USCIB), Competition and Consumer Policy Committees
Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Consumer Policy Task Force, Vice Chair
Ripon College, Ripon, Wisc., trustee
Honors & Awards
Elected Chair of the Antitrust Section, American Bar Association
Named 2013 D.C. Advertising “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers®.
Selected as one of The Best Lawyers in America© in the Advertising Law, Antitrust Law and Antitrust - Litigation areas, 2007-2017.
Recommended in US Legal 500 for his work in the Data Protection & Privacy area, 2011-2012 and in the Marketing & Advertising area, 2013.
Recognized as a leading attorney in Antitrust Litigation practice area by Washington D.C. Super Lawyers, 2011-2016.
Recognized as one of 114 attorneys nationwide who set the standard for superior client service and exemplary legal representation in the BTI Consulting’s annual survey of Fortune 1000 companies, 2008.