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Standout Moments from the IBA Annual Competition Conference

The International Bar Association Competition Conference in Florence wrapped up on September 10th, and as always it was an amazing two days, where we had the opportunity to attend several informative panels and meet up with friends old and new. The following is a brief overview of what we learned along the way.

Reconnecting with Old Friends and Making New Ones

To begin with, it was great to see so many familiar faces in full force and capacity after last year’s tentative re-entry into in-person events. As always, the IBA organisers and the St. Regis Hotel did not disappoint, making The IBA Competition Conference one of our favorite events to participate in and sponsor.

DMA Just Around the Corner

One of the most important focal points (and the focus of many discussions) was the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is due to take effect next year. The DMA controls the market power of certain gatekeeper companies to prevent them from abusing their positions in their various operating digital markets.

The main thing we heard about the DMA, was the uncertainty surrounding those it is likely to affect, both in implementation and ultimate enforcement. Even with the regulators themselves on hand to field questions, there was still concern around understanding the regulations and trepidation about how the DMA will impact competition in Europe.

A Look into Enforcement

Margrethe Vestager, Vice President of the European Commission, and keynote speaker at the event, reaffirmed her commitment to the leniency regime in Europe, calling it the most effective way to uncover anticompetitive behavior in the market by turning potential co-conspirators against each other. Dawn Raids will continue to be a key tool in this regard and ensure the deployment of unannounced visits to ascertain relevant information will continue and even increase. This is something iDiscovery Solutions regularly engages with in both proactive as well as reactive supportive roles.

Competition Law, Front and Center

As you can imagine, the most heavily discussed area of law at the conference was competition law. Traditionally, the practice of competition law involves navigating a labyrinth of data.

Deciding what data is relevant, how it is relevant and how to surface it can be a significant challenge for firms practicing in competition law, with litigation and investigations often presented as a complex exercise in data retrieval and analysis.

This depth of expertise, is not trivial, particularly on an international scale, yet firms are often not on board with hiring a team of experts who essentially take over discovery.

Understandably, they want to digest and understand the data and how it fits into their arguments in order to present that data to the requesting party. Too often though, an outside professional data retrieval resource will come into an investigation and essentially take it over.

That’s why many firms brought data analysis in-house in order to speed discovery and build stronger arguments. However, those firms often find that in-house resources are only the tip of the iceberg. What’s missing is a deep understanding of the data, its immediate and long-term relevance and how best to fold it into the matter. Not to mention, data discovery can take a substantial amount of time – something firms don’t have in abundance.

The truth is, if all firms needed was an army of data crunchers, then their in-house resources would work for any situation. What would actually move the needle and have the biggest effect in the shortest amount of time, is engaging in a consultative partnership.

At iDS, our relationship with our clients is always partner-based, evidence-supported and thoroughly integrated into the legal teams we work with. Our seasoned experts work with them to build the strongest possible case for success, whatever the end goal may be. Data is always at the core of what we do for our partners, but we take it a step further by working closely with in-house counsel to make sense of the data and turn it into actionable information.

In summary, the IBA Competition Conference provided us with a better understanding of how data continues to play such an important role in investigations, and the importance of how the DMA will impact competition in Europe. We would like to thank those who we were fortunate enough to spend time with at the conference and look forward to continuing our talks in the year to come. And for those who couldn’t make it this year, we hope to see you at the next IBA Competition Conference in Florence, 2023.

If you would like to learn more about iDS, and how we can help find solutions for your complex data problems, visit us at

iDS provides consultative data solutions to corporations and law firms around the world, giving them a decisive advantage  – both in and out of the courtroom. Our subject matter experts and data  strategists specialize in finding solutions to complex data problems – ensuring data can be leveraged as an asset and not a liability.