Bill MacLeod chairs the firm’s Antitrust and Competition practice group. The Immediate Past Chair of the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association, Bill is a former bureau director at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). He offers his clients decades of experience in competition law, trade regulation, advertising, privacy and security issues, from both an agency and business perspective. Bill represents some of the most prominent organizations driving business and industry today. He resolves serious, complicated problems with stakes reaching into the billions of dollars for multi-national corporations, domestic and international privately-owned companies and rapid-growth ventures.
Bill guides major U.S. and global corporations through investigations, approvals and the sophisticated challenges associated with mergers and acquisitions. He has obtained FTC and United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division clearance of numerous acquisitions and joint ventures in a range of industries, including medical devices, grocery products, defense contracting and steel manufacturing. Bill also has assisted clients with protecting their interests threatened by consolidation in industries that range from accounting to travel services.
Bill has been involved in the resolution of major initiatives with notable and high-profile results. He served as special counsel for a government investigation of one of the world’s largest and most complex manufacturing industry mergers. He obtained one of the largest judgments ever awarded in an advertising and antitrust case, and successfully defended a major marketer in the FTC’s first trial under the modern unfairness doctrine. Bill was involved in settling the FTC’s first preliminary injunction action in an ad-substantiation case. He has also handled large-scale investigations of privacy and data security practices, litigated a multi-district Sherman Act case over online pricing, and resolved a myriad of price discrimination claims.
In addition, Bill counsels and defends companies and trade associations on pricing, advertising, distribution, intellectual property licensing and competitor relations. In his work with trade associations and their members, he has resolutely fought onerous regulations and advocated sensible, viable policies on competition, biotechnology, health and privacy. In his work on privacy and security, Bill defended the practices of major household-name retailers, manufacturers and financial services companies. Bill also represents companies in advertising, antitrust and intellectual property disputes before the state and federal courts, the FTC and the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
Over the last years, Bill was named the Washington, D.C. Advertising “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers®, and has been included in The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodword/White, Inc.), the The Legal 500 U.S., and among Washington, D.C.’s Super Lawyers. Bill’s clients appreciate his demonstrated skill in translating legal esoterica into functional and useful business advice. Bill is highly valued for his perseverance and ability to produce tangible results and first-rate work product. Bill consistently delivers the requisite experience and intellect needed to assist his clients in achieving their goals. Clients and colleagues alike appreciate Bill’s encyclopedic knowledge of antitrust and consumer protection law.
Bill 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 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. Bill also held such 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.
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
Elected Chair of the Antitrust Section, American Bar Association
Named 2013 D.C. Advertising “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers®.
The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodword/White, Inc.), Advertising Law, Antitrust Law and Antitrust–Litigation, 2007-2018.
Recommended in The Legal 500 U.S. for his work in the Data Protection & Privacy area, 2011-2012 and in Marketing & Advertising area, 2013.
Recognized as a leading attorney in Antitrust Litigation practice area by Washington D.C. Super Lawyers, 2011-2018.
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.
American Bar Association, Antitrust Section, chair, 2016-2017
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