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Mr. Henneberry Goes to Ireland

by april otterberg '06

Edward Henneberry Illustration
(Illustration by Michael McCarthy)

Expertise in mergers earns him top post

Edward “Ted” Henneberry ’70 never dreamed he’d be practicing law in Ireland, but as of last September, that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Henneberry left his twenty-eight-year job in the antitrust group of the Washington, DC, firm of Howrey Smith Arnold & White for a five-year appointment in Ireland. He became director of the mergers division of the Irish Competition Authority, a body Henneberry says is akin to the US Federal Trade Commission in that it enforces laws prohibiting anti-competitive behavior. Henneberry’s post is a new one; the Competition Authority was created in 1991, but the mergers division was formed only in early 2003. Much of Henneberry’s work at his Washington firm was international in character, so he was recruited to provide expertise valuable to the new Irish office. At the same time, however, he feels he’s learning the law from another perspective—that of the other side of the Atlantic.

“In some way, I’m helping them on [getting started]; on the other hand, it’s helping me to learn how they approach matters,” Henneberry says.

The European approach to mergers and anticompetitive behavior is becoming increasingly significant in the global business world, he says, because many large mergers must be approved not only by regulatory agencies in the United States, but also by the corresponding bodies in the European Union. And since Ireland is a member state, the Competition Authority works closely with the competition policymakers of the EU’s European Commission. Part of Henneberry’s job, then, is to attempt to influence EU policy on mergers—along with officials from each of the twenty-four other member states.

But the often very different viewpoints of the Europeans aren’t the only things Henneberry is getting used to. Though his grandparents were from Ireland and he’s always had strong ties to the country (he holds both Irish and American passports), he and his wife still are adjusting to the changes that come with living there, such as driving on the left side of the street. In that sense, Henneberry takes comfort in the overall familiarity of his job—and the reason he’s stayed involved with antitrust litigation for more than thirty years.

“It’s a far cry from what I thought I’d be doing when I was in law school,” he says. “[But it’s] intellectually fascinating and challenging, more so than I ever would have dreamed.”

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