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Steven Cernak

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Phone: +1-248-994-2221

28175 Haggerty Rd
Novi, Michigan 48377

Steve Cernak is a respected leader in the international antitrust and competition law community. He served as in-house antitrust attorney at General Motors for more than 20 years, ultimately responsible for global antitrust compliance, merger reviews and litigation. As a result, Steve has experience tackling the toughest antitrust issues, and explaining them to everyone in an organization from the CEO to workers in the factories.

After leaving GM, Steve spent seven years at Schiff Hardin’s Ann Arbor office, serving clients both inside and outside the automotive community. As he did at Schiff Hardin, Steve now assists clients big and small on a wide array of competition and consumer protection matters, including compliance programs; joint efforts with competitors; pricing strategies and programs; and merger reviews and filings.

Steve has served in the leadership of the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association for more than 20 years, and is currently the Section Chief Marketing Officer. That position keeps him connected to the global community and up-to-date on developments.

Steve is a prolific writer for The Antitrust Lawyer Blog, WoltersKluwer’s AntitrustConnect Blog and various Law360, Lexis and Westlaw publications. The second edition of his textbook of antitrust summaries and materials, Antitrust Simulations, was published in 2019 by West Academic. He updates his Antitrust in Distribution and Franchising annually for publication in the LexisNexis Antitrust Law & Strategy Series. Steve is also a frequent commenter on antitrust developments, both on social and mainstream media.

Steve is a regular teacher at both the University of Michigan Law School and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School Corporate & Finance LLM program at Western Michigan University. He also taught for three years at Wayne State University Law School.


J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1989
Cum Laude

M.A., University of Michigan, 1989

A.B., University of Michigan, 1986
with high honors and distinction

Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice Michigan
Professional & Bar Association Memberships

American Bar Association, Section of Antitrust Law, Marketing Officer

State Bar of Michigan, Antitrust, Franchising & Trade Regulation Section, Member

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Antitrust Council, International Competition Policy Working Group, Member

Other Experience
  • Filed hundreds of Hart-Scott-Rodino premerger notifications, handled several second-request responses and managed several multinational merger reviews.
  • Created and implemented numerous global competition law compliance programs, in the form of presentations, speeches, booklets, films or online modules.
  • In a billion-dollar antitrust conspiracy matter, coordinated response to multiple agency investigations and hundreds of lawsuits to settle allegations for a fraction of the original claim.
  • Negotiated joint-venture agreements among fierce automotive rivals, made filings necessary for their antitrust protection, advised top management on their implementation and served as virtual general counsel for one of them for more than a decade.
  • Served as divisional general counsel for aftermarket parts and service divisions, and now advises leading automotive aftermarket consultant.
  • Advised on and defended successful minimum-advertised pricing, loyalty pricing and other innovative marketing programs.
  • Created and managed integrated team of lawyers, legal assistants, technical experts and customer service representatives to help reduce breach of warranty claims for one automotive manufacturer by more than 60 percent.
  • Coordinated antitrust advice for multiple CEOs on antitrust/labor interface during labor negotiations.
Teaching Appointments

University of Michigan Law School, Intermittent Lecturer; Counseling and Advocacy in Antitrust; In House Counsel; Advanced Antitrust; Federal Antitrust (2009-present) Wayne State University Law School, Adjunct Professor; Antitrust Law, (2012-2014) Thomas M. Cooley Law School Corporate and Finance LLM Program, Adjunct Professor; Antitrust Law (2010-present)

Recent Speeches & Presentations
  • “Antitrust & Competition Law Strategies: Protecting your Brand,” (panelist) Luxury Law New York Summit, New York, N.Y. (Nov. 13, 2019)
  • "Revisiting 'The Limits of Antitrust'" (panelist), Federal Trade Commission Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century (June 12, 2019)
  • “ABA Section of Antitrust Law March 2019 – Social Media,” (panelist) American Bar Association, Antitrust Law Section, AT/CP Podcast (Apr. 26, 2019)
  • “Monthly Antitrust Update Program for In-House Counsel,” American Bar Association, Antitrust Law Section, Corporate Counseling Committee (Jan. 10, 2019)
  • “Antitrust Masters Course IX,” American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law, Cambridge, Md. (Oct. 18-19, 2018)
  • “Protecting Brand & Distributor Investment on the Internet,” ABA Antitrust Section Spring Meeting, Washington D.C. (Apr. 11, 2018)
  • “Antitrust Masters Course VIII,” American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law, Williamsburg, VA (October 2016)
  • "Scaling the Antitrust Wall in China,” ABA Section of Antitrust Law Teleconference (Mar. 5, 2015)
  • “So You (Might) Want to Be an Antitrust Adjunct Professor?” (panelist) 62nd Antitrust Law Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C. (Mar. 27, 2014)
  • “Advertising Claims – Are the Substantiation Standards Shifting?” (moderator) 61st Spring Meeting, ABA Section of Antitrust Law (Apr. 10, 2013)
  • “Antitrust Update for In-House Counsel,” (moderator) Corporate Counseling Committee Meeting, ABA Section of Antitrust Law (Mar. 2013)
  • “When Offense is the Best Defense: Handling Concurrent Threats of Private Lawsuits and Government Investigations,” (moderator) ABA Section of Antitrust Law Corporate Counseling Committee Teleseminar (Sep. 2012)
  • “The Antitrust-Labor Interface: Not Just for Pro Athletes,” ABA Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C. (Mar. 2012)
Publications and Online Articles
Other Activities and Awards