Earlier this year, President Barack Obama mentioned eBay Inc., a firm client, during his State of the Union Address, as well as in his weekly address to the nation. The catalyst for this attention was a multi-year study, “The Story of an Online Marketplace: Enabling Traders to Enter and Grow on the Global Stage,” which eBay Inc. had commissioned from Sidley’s global economic analysis group.
Andrew Shoyer, a partner in Sidley’s Washington, D.C. office and co-leader of the firm’s International Trade practice, said of the achievement: “This is a wonderful example of the high quality and sophistication of Sidley’s economists, and the myriad ways that we can add value for our clients.”
Along with a team of international economists, Simon Schropp, managing economist located in Sidley’s Washington, D.C. office, prepared a series of economic studies for eBay Inc. under the general supervision of Stephen Kinsella, head of Sidley’s European Antitrust/Competition group in Brussels. The goal of the project was to assess the impact of e-commerce and Internet marketplaces on economic growth and development worldwide. The studies helped eBay Inc. harness its role as global enabler of cross-border trade and economic growth. They also received broad media attention and favorable feedback from thought leaders and the academic community.
A prime asset to the firm’s legal services
With its quantitative rigor and state-of-the-art analytical tools, Sidley’s economic analysis group adds further depth to the firm’s leadership across numerous legal disciplines. The team of four in-house Ph.D. economists and econometricians provides economic assistance to lawyers across all practice groups. Its services are versatile and range from litigation support and expert selection and management to advocacy and negotiation, training and education, and empirical support for publications.
“This fully developed team shadows the legal process with economic analysis and insight,” said Todd Friedbacher, partner and Sidley Executive Committee member based in Geneva. “Our economists leverage cutting-edge analytical techniques, models and theories to develop the economic story behind a legal argument.”
Recognizing the importance of relaying complex analysis to clients and courts in accessible ways, the team dedicates a significant amount of time to presentation and data visualization. “Sometimes, when you say ‘economics,’ the person’s eyes glaze over,” said Christine McDaniel, a senior economist in Washington, D.C. “You can run a thousand regressions and have the best analysis out there, but if you can’t get your message across to your target audience, all that work is for naught.”
The team maintains a roster of outside experts, many of whom are among the most distinguished professionals in their respective economic subfields, including statistics, econometrics, modeling or applied theory. Drawing from an international network of industry associates and thought leaders with strong ties to academia, the economic analysis team is well situated to assist global clients.
Schropp, who has provided clients with economic guidance since 2008, has witnessed firsthand the increasing overlap of law and economics in the areas of commercial and international law. These dynamics are driven by growing case complexity, an increase in regulatory action, the expanding internationalization of legal regimes, and the increasing reliance of regulators and courts on economic sophistication and empirical data.
“These trends afford Sidley the opportunity to position itself as a key player in assisting clients with legal analysis that is highly attuned to the world economy,” Schropp said.