Rowan McMonnies is Baker & McKenzie’s newest local and international competitions partner. The former ACCC director tells us how becoming a lawyer was luck, his love of surfing and why competition law is so interesting.
What made you decide to become a lawyer?
Luck. I chose a range of courses going into University and my results made the decision for me. I've never looked back.
How long have you worked at Baker & McKenzie and what brought you to that position?
Four weeks. The decision was an easy one. The firm has a strong reputation in Australia, an established global network and their recent growth meant they had a definite need for a competition partner my size and shape.
What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
While at the Australian competition regulator, I reluctantly prosecuted a group of go-kart enthusiasts for cartel conduct. It wasn't my proudest moment but the record low penalty was a career high.
If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
My wife would kill me if I brought home three dead people for dinner. I pick my battles.
You’re based in Sydney – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
The Manly Wharf Hotel - which is at the end of my ferry wharf. The patrons look so relaxed and stress free. Walking past is very difficult.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?
Enjoy the challenge.
Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
Thinking about surfing while running after a young family. I'm hoping in few years I'll get a chance to reverse the process from time to time.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
Independently wealthy. Until then, I'm sticking with the law.
What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in Australia in 2014?
Keeping up with the pace of change. The Australian legal market has experienced unprecedented change recently with international affiliations and a high degree of lateral movement. The firms with the right structures and cultures to deal with this will accelerate.
If you had Tony Abbott’s job for one day, what would you do?
Stop, read and think. It's an antiquated art but the political process would be better for its revival.
What do you love about your job?
It is perpetually interesting. The application of competition law to dynamic markets means you've never seen it all before. Without this complexity I would lose interest fairly quickly.
What would you change about your job right now if you could?
I'd have the office in the corner. The one with the sweeping view of the harbour.