Former General Motors Antitrust Counsel Joins Bona Law

Published 08 January 2020 by Bona Law PC

Bona Law is pleased to announce that veteran antitrust lawyer Steven Cernak is leaving Schiff Hardin to join the firm as a partner on January 2, 2019, bringing with him 30 years of experience in global antitrust compliance, merger reviews, consumer protection issues, and antitrust litigation for clients large and small.

For more than 20 years, Steve was in-house antitrust counsel at General Motors, where he tackled some of the toughest antitrust issues and mastered the art of explaining those issues in a way that everyone at the company—from CEO to factory worker—could understand. Before joining Bona Law, Steve was of counsel at Schiff Hardin in Ann Arbor, where he counselled clients on a wide variety of competition and consumer protection issues, including compliance programs, joint ventures, pricing strategies, distribution issues, and merger reviews.

Steve has:

  • Filed more than 100 Hart-Scott-Rodino premerger notifications, prepared several second-request responses, and led several multinational merger reviews
  • Developed and implemented global antitrust law-compliance programs, including speeches, presentations, booklets, films, or online modules
  • Represented a client in a billion-dollar antitrust conspiracy matter in which he coordinated responses to multiple agency investigations and hundreds of lawsuits, ultimately settling the allegations for a fraction of the original claims
  • Negotiated joint venture agreements among automotive manufacturers, made filings necessary to protect the joint ventures from antitrust challenges, advised top management on implementation and served as general counsel for one joint venture for more than a decade
  • Served as divisional general counsel for aftermarket parts and service divisions
  • Advised (and continues to advise) a leading automotive aftermarket consultant
  • Advised on and defended numerous minimum advertised/resale pricing policies, loyalty pricing policies, and other innovative marketing programs
  • Created and managed a team of lawyers, staff, technical experts, and customer service representatives to help reduce breach of warranty claims by more than 60 per cent
  • Advised chief executive officers on antitrust-related labour issues during labour contract negotiations

Steve is a skilled communicator, a prolific writer, and a true leader in his field. He has published hundreds of articles, blog posts, and commentaries for The Antitrust Lawyer Blog, WoltersKluwer’s AntitrustConnect Blog, Law 360, LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters/West, and other publications. He recently published the second edition of his textbook, Antitrust Simulations (West Academic 2020), and also annually publishes updates to his Antitrust in Distribution and Franchising in the LexisNexis Antitrust Law & Strategies Series. He is a frequent commentator on antitrust developments in both mainstream and social media. He regularly teaches law students at his alma mater, the University of Michigan Law School, and students in Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s corporate and finance LLM program. And he has held leadership roles at the ABA Antitrust Section for more than 20 years. He currently serves as its chief marketing officer.

Steve graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. He also earned his bachelor’s and masters degrees, both in economics, from the University of Michigan. He has been named in Best Lawyers in America and Leading Lawyers.

Bona Law CEO Jarod Bona explained that “adding an antitrust superstar like Steven Cernak to our team makes everyone better and is an important step in our goal of becoming the best antitrust practice in the country. I look forward to not only working alongside him but learning from him.”

“I am thrilled to join Bona Law’s talented and growing team of antitrust experts,” Steve said. “At this stage of my career, I want to focus my energy on helping clients grow their businesses effectively, and Bona Law is uniquely positioned to do it.”

Steve will serve Bona Law clients globally from the firm’s new Detroit, Michigan office.