Kathleen Bradish ’94 shakes hands with Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine promoting competition and protecting consumers in live entertainment on Capitol Hill in Washington, in January 2023.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
‘Daily lives are better if antitrust is done right,’ Bradish says

Monopolies and antitrust aren’t often on the minds of most Americans. They’re not front-burner issues in the news. But their impact is wide.

“It really affects everybody’s daily life because everybody’s buying things,” says Kathleen Bradish ’94, director of legal advocacy and vice president of the American Antitrust Institute, which advocates for enforcement of antitrust laws and competition in business. 

“Every time you pay money to a business, especially a big business, antitrust is implicated. And certainly we’re at a time when businesses are bigger. The bigger they get, the more important antitrust is,” she says.

Bradish, a former antitrust lawyer at the U.S. Justice Department, wrote a brief in January that helped the Federal Trade Commission win a lifetime ban against “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli participating in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as an order that he forfeit $64.6 million in profits. Shkreli was found to have perpetuated a monopoly for a drug that treated toxoplasmosis, enabling his company to increase the drug’s price from $17.50 per tablet to $750 per tablet.

“I was just glad to be part of that effort and to make sure he never does what he did in the pharmaceutical industry again,” Bradish says. “That’s a real accomplishment, in my mind.” 

After a Ticketmaster debacle involving Taylor Swift concert tickets, Bradish testified at a 2023 U.S. Senate hearing on what she described as the monopolistic status of Live Nation, the multinational corporation that owns Ticketmaster. It produces more concerts and sells more tickets than any company in the world, controlling about 70% of the market for live event venues and tickets.

Because of its market dominance, Live Nation has no incentive to reduce its ticket fees, Bradish says. “They’ll charge as much as they can get away with, and when there isn’t competition, you can get away with a lot.”

The Justice Department opened an antitrust investigation into Live Nation in 2022. Pending cases also include one against Amazon. The Federal Trade Commission alleges that Amazon is a monopoly that stops rivals from lowering prices and from fairly competing against the online retail giant. 

“The number of cases may not be high, but the impact is huge — the companies that almost everyone uses almost every day,” Bradish says. “Even though people might not be aware that it’s going on, successful antitrust enforcement, where it’s warranted, means that people pay less money and have more innovation. So, their daily lives are better if antitrust is done right.” 

Bradish studied comparative literature at Princeton before getting a law degree at Harvard, and she says her undergraduate work was crucial in helping her excel in the law.

“Princeton really helped develop my critical thinking skills. And that’s really what I use all the time in law practice,” she says. “The professors in comparative literature and in my French classes, they really emphasized close reading and how to really read a text. And when you’re looking at legal texts, that’s incredibly important. I use it all the time now that I’m writing amicus briefs, because the best amicus briefs provide close readings of the cases.”