President Obama Nominates New FTC Commissioners

Kelley Drye Client Advisory

On November 16, 2009, President Obama announced his intention to nominate Julie Brill, from the North Carolina’s Department of Justice Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division, and Edith Ramirez, a partner with the Los Angeles office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, LLP, to fill the two vacant seats on the Federal Trade Commission (the FTC”). If confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Brill and Ms. Ramirez will replace Republican Deborah Majoras, who stepped down from the Commission in March 2008, and independent Pamela Jones Harbour, whose term ended in September 2009. In making the announcement, President Obama stated “[t]hese individuals bring a depth of experience to their respective roles, and I am confident they will serve my administration and the American people well.”[1]

Julie Brill

Since February 2009, Ms. Brill has been a Senior Deputy Attorney General and Chief of the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division for the North Carolina Department of Justice.[2] Prior to joining North Carolina’s Department of Justice, Ms. Brill served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Vermont Attorney General’s Consumer Protection and Antitrust Divisions for over 20 years.[3] Ms. Brill’s experience at the Vermont Attorney General’s office included a wide-variety of consumer protection litigation, legislative, and regulatory matters in the fields of privacy, credit reporting, financial services, tobacco, food, drugs and other health-related industries. As an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Vermont, Ms. Brill also testified before Congress regarding data security breach legislation and consumer privacy issues.[4]

Ms. Brill has served as a Vice-Chair of the Consumer Protection Committee of the American Bar Association Antitrust Section since 2004 – the ABA committee chaired by John Villafranco (2002 to 2005) of Kelley Drye. She has received several honors for her consumer protection and privacy work, including the National Association of Attorneys General Privacy Subcommittee Award in 2001 for drafting proposed privacy principles, Privacy International’s 2001 Brandies award for work on state and federal privacy issues, and the National Association of Attorneys General Marvin Award in 1995 for her outstanding leadership, expertise, and achievement in advancing the goals of the association.”[5] Additionally, she is also a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School.

Before beginning her career in law enforcement, Ms. Brill was an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York and she clerked for Vermont Federal District Court Judge Franklin S. Billings Jr. Ms. Brill is a graduate of New York University School of Law, where she received a Root-Tilden Scholarship for her commitment to public service. She received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University.

Edith Ramirez

Ms. Ramirez is currently a partner in the Los Angeles office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, LLP where she specializes in intellectual property and complex business litigation matters. She has represented a diverse range of clients in actions involving copyright and trademark infringement, antitrust and unfair competition claims, business tort, and other general business litigation cases. Notable litigation includes Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Co. v. United Air Lines, Inc.,[6] where Ms. Ramirez successfully represented Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction on breach of contract claims, and Christian v. Mattel, Inc.,[7] where Ms. Ramirez helped obtain a $500,000 sanction against Mattel’s opposing counsel pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 for filing a frivolous copyright infringement action against Mattel. Ms. Ramirez has also represented American Broadcasting Companies, The Walt Disney Company, The Scotts Company, and Northrop Grumman in a variety of intellectual property, antitrust, and contract litigation matters.

Ms. Ramirez is also involved with a number of community outreach activities. She has served as the Vice President on the Board of Commissioners for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, a member of the Board of Directors for Volunteers of America, and the California Deputy Political Director and Director of Latino Outreach for Obama for America.

Previously, Ms. Ramierz served as a law clerk to the Honorable Alfred T. Goodwin, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She also worked as an associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP. Ms. Ramierz attended Harvard Law School, where she was an editor for the Harvard Law Review, and she received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard-Radcliffe College.


[1]Press Release, The White House Office of the Press Secretary, President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts (Nov. 16, 2009), available at http://​www​.white​house​.gov/​t​h​e​-​p​r​e​s​s​-​o​f​f​i​c​e​/​p​r​e​s​i​d​e​n​t​-​o​b​a​m​a​-​a​n​n​o​u​n​c​e​s​-​m​o​r​e​-​k​e​y​-​a​d​m​i​n​i​s​t​r​a​t​i​o​n​-​p​o​s​t​s​-​1​1​1​62009.

[2]Cooper names new consumer watchdog, Newsobserver​.com, Feb. 11, 2009.


[4]Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Committee on Financial Services, H.R. 3997, the Financial Data Protection Act, 109th Cong., Nov. 9, 2005 (Testimony of Julie Brill, Assistant Attorney General, Vermont Attorney General’s Office), available at http://​finan​cialser​vices​.house​.gov/​m​e​d​i​a​/​p​d​f​/​1​1​0​9​0​5​j​b.pdf; Hearing Before United States Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, 108th Cong., June 26, 2003 (Testimony of Julie Brill, Assistant Attorney General, Vermont Attorney General’s Office), available at http://​bank​ing​.sen​ate​.gov/​0​3​_​0​6​h​r​g​/​0​6​2​6​0​3​/​b​r​i​l​l.pdf.

[5]Columbia Law School: Staff Bios, available at http://​www​.law​.colum​bia​.edu/​c​e​n​t​e​r​_​p​r​o​g​r​a​m​/​a​g​/​A​G​s​_​A​b​o​u​t​/​S​t​a​f​fBios (last accessed Nov. 17, 2009).

[6]50 Fed.Appx. 817, 2002 WL 31007409 (9th Cir. 2002).

[7]286 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2002).