Vincent van Panhuys - McDermott Will & Emery

Vincent van Panhuys

Vincent van Panhuys

Global Competition Counsel | Caterpillar Inc.

My background at McDermott—where I was exposed to so many smart, client-focused lawyers—prepared me well.

Vincent began his legal career as an associate in McDermott’s Antitrust Practice Group, where our culture of teamwork and collaboration set a high standard. Many of the relationships he formed back then have endured and remain important to him today—both professionally and personally.

How did you make your way to McDermott and a career in antitrust compliance?

Before law school, I spent several years as a high school administrator and economics teacher, which, along with my undergraduate coursework, sparked my interest in antitrust. During my first summer of law school, I interned at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)—coincidentally alongside Nicole Castle, who has spent her entire career at McDermott and remains a close friend.

When I asked folks at the FTC which law firms they liked and respected, McDermott kept coming up. I was fortunate to secure a summer associate position and, after law school, an associate position working directly with antitrust leaders including Ray Jacobsen, Joe Winterscheid, Jon Dubrow and Joel Grosberg. Although I considered other strong firms, the people and culture I found at McDermott easily won out.

How did your experience at McDermott influence your career path after you left?

I found some extremely bright minds at McDermott and learned what it means to be a lawyer. Even as a junior lawyer, I was brought into serious client discussions, and I enjoyed the entrepreneurial, collaborative, client-focused spirit of the Antitrust Group. I’ve made it a priority to find a similar culture in all my subsequent roles.

I also formed professional and personal relationships that remain important to me to this day. Whether it’s seeing a former colleague at a conference or staying in touch through the Firm’s alumni network, which has a strong in-house membership, my McDermott connections provide a valuable opportunity to share experiences and benchmark antitrust issues.

What are some of your favorite memories from your time at McDermott?

I have many! To name just a few:

During my first year at the Firm, I got involved in a project in Amsterdam that involved a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory issue that had nothing to do with antitrust law. Because I’m a native Dutch speaker—I was born in the Netherlands and moved to the United States at age seven—the lead partner pulled me onto the team. In addition to gaining experience outside my practice focus, I got to choose all the restaurants and plan the social activities while we were in Amsterdam!

I’m also fluent in French, and I had the opportunity to use that skill when I worked with Ray on a cross-border merger in the biometric identification space (the client, a US company, was being purchased by a French buyer). Because the technology was in its early stages of development, I was charged with defining what the competitive landscape might look like in the future. There was no template for how to analyze that market, so we had to create one ourselves, which I really enjoyed.

McDermott also allowed me to devote significant hours to pro bono matters, which taught me how to manage client work on my own. One of my most memorable asylum cases involved a French-speaking family from Cameroon. We’ve stayed in touch over the years, and I even helped send the kids to summer camp in Maine.

What emerging trends are you seeing in the antitrust space?

Tech-related changes continue to be an important focus in antitrust law. For example, in the construction, mining and energy industries, there are a lot of technical developments around electrification and automation. In connection with the strategic evaluation of these and other advancements in technology, I have the opportunity to provide input from an antitrust perspective.

What is something you learned at McDermott that you use in your current role?

Working in-house in antitrust, you come to appreciate good advice from outside counsel who are efficient, responsive and attuned to your needs. Like any large company, Caterpillar is mindful of all sorts of compliance risks. That means I’m responding to as many as 10 different antitrust questions on any given day. My background at McDermott—where I was exposed to so many smart, client-focused lawyers—prepared me well for that level of day-to-day counseling.


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