Advanced Search

Robert Litan



Dr. Litan is one of the few practicing lawyers (in any field, including antitrust) with a PhD in economics and an extensive research and testimonial career in economics. During his legal career, Dr. Litan has specialized in administrative and antitrust litigation, concentrating on economic issues, working closely with economic experts (having been a testimonial witness in more than 20 legal and administrative proceedings himself). He previously was a partner with Powell, Goldstein, Frazier and Murphy (Washington, D.C and Atlanta) and Korein Tillery (St. Louis Chicago). He began his legal career as an Associate at Arnold & Porter (Washington, D.C.) Dr. Litan has directed economic research at three leading national organizations: the Brookings Institution, the Kauffman Foundation and Bloomberg Government.

Dr. Litan has held several appointed positions in the federal government. In 1993, he was appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department, where he oversaw civil non-merger litigation and the Department’s positions on regulatory matters, primarily in telecommunications. During his tenure, he settled the Department’s antitrust lawsuit against the Ivy League and MIT for fixing financial aid awards, oversaw the Department’s first monopolization case against Microsoft (resulting in 1994 consent decree), and the initial stages of the Antitrust Division’s price fixing case against Nasdaq (also resulting in a consent decree).

In 1995, Dr. Litan was appointed Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget, where he oversaw the budgets of five cabinet level agencies.

Dr. Litan has co- chaired two panels of studies for the National Academy of Sciences (Measuring Innovation and Disaster Loan Estimation), has served on one other NAS Committee (Use of Scientific Evidence), and consulted for NAS (on energy modeling). He was a member of the Presidential-Congressional Commission on the Causes of the Savings and Loan Crisis (1991-93).

Dr. Litan has consulted for a broad range of private and governmental organizations, including the U.S. Justice Department (antitrust division), the U.S. Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and the Financial Institutions Subcommittee of the House Banking Committee, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the World Bank.

Dr. Litan has been adjunct professor teaching banking law at the Yale Law School and a Lecturer in Economics at Yale University. He also has taught economics and counter-insurgency at the U.S. Army Command General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth.

Professional Leadership

Long-time Advisory Board Member of the American Antitrust Institute

Board member for the Center for American Entrepreneurship (NFP)

Business and Community Leadership

Member, Council on Foreign Relations (formerly adjunct Senior Fellow)

Litan is founder of, a web clearinghouse for teachers wanting information about how to incorporate debate into their classrooms, based on his book Resolved: Debate can Revolutionize Education and Help Save our Democracy (Brookings Press, 2020).

Litan has served on numerous private, non-profit and government boards, including the international advisory board of the Principal Financial Group (2010-12); the technology advisory board of Lead Bank in Kansas City (2018-20); Domestic Grants Advisory Board, Smith Richardson Foundation (2013-19); Research Advisory Board, Committee for Economic Development; Advisory Group (multiple terms, 1999-217), Research Advisory Board, Center for Audit Quality (2007-09; Co-Chairman, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Ahead of the Curve Advisory Group (2007-09); Department of Defense, Defense Sciences Board, Department of Defense, Defense Sciences Board, Member of Task Force on Mergers within the Defense Industry (1993-94); Advisory Board, of the Conference Board of Canada Financial Institutions Group (1988-90).

Litan currently is a member of the advisory boards of the American Antitrust Institute, the Center for Regulation and Markets at the Brookings Institution (where is also a non-resident Senior Fellow in the Economic Studies Program) and the Niskanen Policy Center.

During his research career, Litan has authored or co-authored 30 books and edited another 14 and authored or co-authored more than 250 articles in professional and popular publications on a wide range of legal and public matters, including antitrust, entrepreneurship and innovation, finance and financial regulation, international trade, and Supreme Court jurisprudence, among other policy subjects

Litan is a well-known speaker who has given hundreds of talks during his career before a wide range of audiences in the U.S. and around the world. His TedEx talk, “An Economist Who Walks into a Bar” has been viewed on YouTube over 430,000 times:

Prominent Judgments and Settlements

Played substantial role in economic aspects of the litigation and settlements against major U.S. and foreign banks in In Re Foreign Exchange Benchmark Antitrust Litigation (2018)

Negotiated Justice Department Settlement with MIT in “Overlap” litigation against Ivy League Schools and MIT (1993)

Played substantial role in settlement of Justice Department’s antitrust consent decree with Microsoft (1994)

Played an instrumental role in administrative proceedings and subsequent appellate litigation, supporting the government’s air bag requirements for automobiles, finalized by the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Motor Vehicles Manufacturers’ Association v. State Farm (1983).

In the News



Law School

J.D. Yale Law School


B.S. Economics, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (summa cum laude)


M.Phil. and PhD (Economics), Yale University

Honors & Awards:

  • Wichita State University Board of Trustees Annual Award for engagement with the University (2016)

  • Inaugural Massey Price for Excellence in Research in Capital Markets and Innovation awarded by the University of Texas Law School (2011)

  • Zale Award for Excellence in Public Policy, Stanford University (2001)

  • Felix S. Cohen Prize for best essay in legal philosophy, Yale Law School (1976).

Request A Free Consultation