Patricia “Trish” Conners is a nationally-renowned litigator and creative legal strategist, with particular expertise in antitrust and competition law. For 36 years she served seven attorneys general in various senior executive positions in the Florida Attorney General’s Office, including as Chief Deputy.
As Chief Deputy, she supervised over 1,100 employees and engaged in a wide array of matters, representing the State of Florida on both sides of the “v”. As Deputy Attorney General for Enforcement she oversaw the Office’s Antitrust and Complex Enforcement, Civil Rights, Consumer Protection, False Claims and Lemon Law Arbitration Divisions. For the last two decades of her extensive career in public service, Trish was also the Director of the Antitrust and Complex Enforcement in addition to her other responsibilities. In 2001, she was the first woman to be appointed to be Chair of the Multistate Antitrust Task Force of the National Association of Attorneys General, serving in that capacity until 2005.
Trish’s practice includes advising clients, both plaintiffs and defendants, regarding antitrust, competition, and consumer protection enforcement issues, investigations, or litigation, both in single-state and multistate matters; providing cutting-edge and timely compliance counseling and training to clients to minimize potential antitrust or consumer protection exposure; and providing clients with strategic counsel regarding investigative, litigation and settlement strategies as well as creative options for effective case resolution. A particular focus of her work is enforcement by state attorneys general.
Through her time with the Attorney General’s Office, Trish gained extensive knowledge of state and federal agency antitrust and consumer protection enforcement practices and policy decisions as well as many other aspects of government and regulatory practice. The insights culled from this knowledge as well as her extensive substantive enforcement experience are a valuable resource to companies confronting potential multistate or multi-agency exposure as well as to state attorneys general and private plaintiffs contemplating antitrust actions.
Trish has been credited with helping obtain billions of dollars in recoveries on behalf of the State of Florida and its citizens. She has led or co-led countless notable multistate and state-federal investigative and litigation efforts, concentrating on both litigation and settlement strategy and creative case resolution. Her antitrust work includes many successful enforcement actions involving such diverse products as areas as pharmaceuticals, financial services, banking, health care products and services, telecommunications, dairy and other food products, and a wide variety of consumer products. Her work led Trish to regularly interact with opposing counsel, private plaintiffs’ counsel, other state attorneys general offices as well as counterparts at the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Department of Justice and sometimes even European agencies. Trish is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Antitrust and Trade Regulation.*
*With less than 7% of eligible members certified in Antitrust and Trade Regulation, board certification is The Florida Bar’s highest level of evaluation of a lawyer’s competence and experience in a particular area of practice. It identifies lawyers with "special knowledge, skills and proficiency, as well as a reputation for professionalism and ethics." To achieve certification, a lawyer must endure rigorous examination and testing and be evaluated by their peers.
- As Chief Deputy Attorney General: managed 1,100 employees, including 450 attorneys. Managed the daily operations of the entire agency, including directly supervising the entire executive team and all senior managers within the Office.
- As Deputy for Enforcement and/or Director of the Antitrust and Complex Enforcement Division: led or co-led countless notable multistate and state-federal investigative and litigation efforts including, most recently, the multi-billion dollar multistate opioids settlement negotiations as well as the following matters:
- Co-represented the State of Florida, helping achieve the $2 billion Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill settlement.
- Represented the State of Florida, helping to obtain the $26 billion multistate mortgage servicing settlement, and separately negotiating multi-billion guarantees for the benefit of distressed Florida homeowners, a result only one other state was able to achieve.
- Represented the State of Florida in the investigation of and the multidistrict litigation against the three major infant formula manufacturers for price fixing, resulting in a $13 million Florida-only settlement.
- Represented the State of Florida in the investigation of and the multidistrict litigation against the major disposable contact lens manufacturers for price fixing, resulting in an $84 million global settlement.
- Represented the State of Florida in the investigation of and the multidistrict litigation against the major makers of commercial tissue for price fixing, resulting in a nearly $3 million Florida-only settlement.
- Represented the State of Florida in negotiating several settlements resolving multistate litigation alleging “pay-for-delay” antitrust violations by major pharmaceutical companies, including one on behalf of the states and the Federal Trade Commission totaling over $100 million.
- Co-represented the State of Florida in the investigation and litigation against the major milk processors in Florida for rigging bids on school milk, resulting in a $34 million state bid-rigging recovery settlement.
- Led the multimillion-dollar settlement negotiations on behalf of the State of Florida with a large residential home developer to resolve complaints regarding alleged construction defects in certain developments.
- Worked on behalf of the State of Florida to help obtain a creative case resolution with a major Florida mortgage servicer to resolve certain servicing and other related concerns.
- Successfully negotiated on behalf of the State of Florida a settlement with a major global investment firm to resolve potential claims regarding the collapse of Florida’s Local Government Investment Pool.
- Law Clerk, Honorable Melvin J. Orfinger, Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal
Professional & Community Involvement
- American Bar Association, Government and Public Sector Lawyers’ Division, Executive Council, 2020-Present
- American Bar Association, Antitrust Law section, 2001-Present
- State Antitrust Practice and Statutes (6th Edition) Treatise, Editorial Board, 2021-Present
- Leadership Development Committee, Co-Chair, 2019-Present
- Nominating Committee, 2007-2008; 2019-2020
- Consumer Protection Committee, Co-Chair, 2015-2019
- Conference, Co-Chair, 2016-2017
- Long Range Planning, 2014-2015
- Section Reach Task Force, 2012-2014
- Controlling the Costs of Antitrust Enforcement and Litigation Task Force, 2011-2012
- Section Reserves, Advisory Board, 2009-2012
- Presidential [U.S.] Transition Report Task Force, 2008-2009
- Fuel & Energy Industry, Council Liaison, 2006-2009
- State Antitrust Enforcement, Council Liaison, 2006-2009
- Membership & Equal Opportunity, Co-Chair, 2005-2007
- Council, 2002-2009
- NAAG Representative, 2002-2005
- Litigation Outreach Task Force, 2004-2005
- American Antitrust Institute, Advisory Board, 2002-Present
- The State Center, a 501(c)(3) that helps provide training to State Attorney General Antitrust and Consumer Protection enforcement staff, Board of Directors, 2021
- National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), Multistate Antitrust Task Force, Chair, 2001-2005
- The Florida Bar, Antitrust and Trade Regulation Certification Committee, 2001-2004
- Chair, 2003-04
- Vice Chair, 2001-2003
- Florida Attorney General’s Office “Trish Conners Award”, 2020
- Established by Attorney General Ashley Moody to honor Trish’s 36 years of service. Presented annually “to recognize the [Office of Attorney General] lawyer who exemplifies excellence, professionalism, and demonstrated dedication, to the mission of the Department of Legal Affairs.”
- National Association of Attorney General Recognitions
- Outstanding Senior Staff Award, for leadership role in the multistate opioids case, 2018
- Outstanding Chief Deputy Award, for contributions to the NAAG community as Chief Deputy, 2018
- Outstanding Senior Staff Award, for service to NAAG as the appointed Chair of the NAAG Multistate Antitrust Task Force, 2005
- Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite
- Antitrust & Trade Regulation, Hall of Fame, 2020
- Government & Non-Profit Attorneys Section, 2016-2020
- Nelson Award, American Bar Association, 2017
- Davis Productivity Award, 20 Years of Sustained Achievement on Behalf of the State of Florida, 2015
- AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell®
Publications & Presentations
Villainy Gone Viral: The Many Faces of Fraud in a Pandemic
American Bar Association Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division|May 2021
Old Price Gouging Laws, New Applications
American Bar Association Antitrust Law Section, Spring Meeting Webinar|March 2021
Antitrust and CP Ethics Meet Hollywood Squares
American Bar Association Antitrust Law Section, Spring Meeting|April 2020
Enforcement Issues and Opportunities for Antitrust Practitioners
Practicing Law Institute, Developments in Antitrust Law & Regulation 2020|April 2020
Antitrust Counseling and Competitor Collaboration and Price Gouging During COVID-19
American Bar Association Antitrust Law Section, Consumer Protection Conference|April 2020
American Bar Association Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division/Section of Antitrust Law|November 2019
Enforcement Issues and Opportunities for Antitrust Practitioners
Practicing Law Institute, Developments in Antitrust Law & Regulation 2019|April 2019
Last Year Today—The Year in Consumer Protection
American Bar Association Antitrust Law Section, Spring Meeting|March 2019
Stearns Weaver Miller Expands Tallahassee Office Space and Offered Services
In the Media:
TLH Briefcase: Jan. 6, 2022
Tallahassee Democrat|January 2022
In the Media:
Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 12.9.21
Florida Politics|December 2021
Former Florida Chief Deputy Attorney General Patricia “Trish” Conners Joins Stearns Weaver Miller