Bloom: yes to Freshfields, but no to appearing before the OFT

Margaret Bloom, the former competition enforcement director at the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), has joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, but has announced that she will never appear before the OFT.
Bloom, who has joined the magic circle firm as a consultant, has been restricted by the Cabinet Office from appearing before her former employer on behalf of Freshfields’ clients for two years. However, she told The Lawyer: “I don’t think I will ever do that. I just think it would a be a bit wrong, and not the obvious move to make.”

Bloom has been recruited to give Freshfields’ clients strategic advice on competition and legislative issues, but said that for at least the next 10 months, she will not be able to advise companies on OFT matters due to strict obligations placed on her as an ex-OFT official.

The Cabinet Office has also said that Bloom will not be allowed to advise on any merger or competition cases involving companies that have had dealings with the OFT in the past year until July 2004, a year after her retirement from the Government post.

“If, for example, it gets to next July and I’m asked to advise a company who’s had dealings with the OFT in the last 12 months on merger or antitrust issues, I’ll have to say no,” explained Bloom.