B.A., Belmont University
M.A., Ph.D., University of Virginia
Laura Phillips-Sawyer is an expert in U.S. antitrust law and policy. Broadly, she is interested in questions of economic regulation, which intersect with legal history, economic thought, business strategy and structure, and political organization. She currently holds the Jane W. Wilson Associate Professorship in Business Law at the University of Georgia School of Law.
Currently, she teaches Antitrust Law at the law school, along with an Antitrust Law seminar. She also teaches a course in the school’s undergraduate minor titled “Antimonopoly and American Democracy,” which was made possible by a generous grant from the Stanton Foundation. Most recently, she has taught courses on financial history in UGA’s Honors College (Crash, Panic, Run: Financial Crises in American History) and upper-level electives on international political economy in the Terry College of Business. She has also taught U.S. Business History in UGA's Franklin College History Department. She holds courtesy appointments in UGA’s Economics Department and History Department.
Previously, she was an assistant professor at Harvard Business School in the Business, Government, and International Economy Unit, where she taught in the required curriculum. Before joining the HBS faculty, she held the Harvard-Newcomen Fellowship in Business History at HBS. She also held a post-doc at Brown University's Political Theory Project, where she taught in the political science and history departments. She received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Virginia.
Phillips-Sawyer's book American Fair Trade: Proprietary Capitalism, Corporatism, and the 'New Competition,' 1890-1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2018) analyzes how independent proprietors lobbied and litigated to reform antitrust law, particularly regarding vertical restraints and trade association rule-making practices. Her work has been published in the University of Chicago Law Review, Law & History Review, Business History Review, the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and the Oxford Research Encyclopedia on American History, as well as other venues. She co-edited a special issue of the Business History Review with Professor Herbert Hovenkamp, which brought together scholars of regulation to present new perspectives in antitrust law, public utilities regulation and political history.
Most recently, she published an article in the University of Chicago Law Review titled “Restructuring American Antitrust Law: Institutionalist Economics and the Antitrust Labor Immunity, 1890-1940s,” which examines the problem of labor market power and the creation of the antitrust labor exemption. She also co-authored (with Naomi Lamoreaux) “Voting Trusts and Antitrust: Rethinking the Role of Shareholder Rights and Private Litigation in Public Regulation, 1880s to 1930s” in the Law & History Review (2021).
While at Harvard, Phillips-Sawyer published several HBS cases, including "Google in Europe" and "Vietnam: Managing Global Value Chains." She wrote a technical note, "A Note on U.S. Bankruptcy Law: Individuals, Firms, and Sub-State Entities" to accompany the HBS case "Rebuilding Puerto Rico," which she co-authored with Professor Laura Alfaro.
She is currently working on a new book-length research project on post-WWII competition policy, the first chapter of which examines the landmark case of U.S. v. Alcoa (1945) and its effects. A version of that chapter is part of an exciting new volume on antitrust law and policy coordinated by the Tobin Project. American Democracy and Antimonopoly, edited by William Novak and Daniel Crane, (Oxford University Press) is forthcoming in 2023. She is also writing an essay that presents an overview of the arguments motivating the next book project. That will appear in a separate collection convened by the University of Virginia Miller Center of Public Affairs and edited by Sidney Milkis and Scott C. Miller.
American Fair Trade: Proprietary Capitalism, Corporatism, and the ‘New Competition,’ 1890-1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2018).
Restructuring American Antitrust Law: Institutionalist Economics and the Antitrust Labor Immunity, 1890-1940s, U. Chi. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2023) (symposium on labor market power and the law).
Jurisdiction Beyond Our Borders: United States v. Alcoa and the Extraterritorial Reach of American Antitrust, 1909-1945, in Antimonopoly and American Democracy (Daniel A. Crane and William Novak eds., 2022).
The Limitless Possibilities of the Long Progressive Era's New Democracy, Toqueville 21 (Nov. 14, 2022) (reviewing William J. Novak, New Democracy: The Creation of the Modern American State (2022)).
Voting Trusts and Antitrust: Rethinking the Role of Shareholder Litigation in Public Regulation, from the 1880s to the 1930s, 39 L & Hist. Rev. 569 (2021) (with N. Lamoreaux).
New Perspectives in Regulatory History, 93 Bus. Hist. Rev. 659 (2020) (with H. Hovenkamp).