Michael Coutts has always been intellectually curious, and a big believer in learning and development.
After initially finishing university with a Bachelor of International Studies and a Juris Doctor, Michael worked in private practice with two large corporate law firms, Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills. During this time, he started specialising in competition law, consumer law and regulatory advice, with a particular interest in the technology, retail and fast-moving consumer goods sectors.
“I really enjoyed competition and consumer law, and decided I wanted to dedicate myself to this field for at least the next 5 to 10 years of my career,” explained Michael. “I began searching for a structured, specialised course that would deepen my knowledge and give me a dimension that my work experience did not. That led me to search for a formal degree in competition and consumer law.”
Shortly after, Professor Caron Beaton-Wells gave a presentation on the Master of Laws (Global Competition and Consumer Law) to Michael’s team at Herbert Smith Freehills. For him, it was a serendipitous turn of events.
“She explained that the degree drew upon the competition law of the United States and European Union (EU) to provide students with interdisciplinary knowledge and skills concerning competition policy, law and enforcement. I explored several other degree options, both in Australia and abroad, but none of the content grabbed my attention the way the University of Melbourne’s masters did,” said Michael.
The global subject matter of the program provided Michael with the core knowledge he needed to understand the theoretical and policy underpinnings of competition law in Australia and internationally – which has been crucial in his role as Counsel, Competition and Regulation for Uber.
“Generally speaking, a country’s competition law regime tends to be based on a particular set of principles or school of thought taken from a jurisdiction such as the US, EU, or in some cases, the United Kingdom or Australia,” explained Michael.
“Because the program was globally focused and involved a comparative analysis of precisely these jurisdictions, I’ve found myself well-placed to navigate the competition law regimes of a diverse range of countries. I’ve had to upskill and learn the nuances of foreign legal regimes, but the Master of Laws (Global Competition and Consumer Law) gave me a good grounding to do this.”
When reflecting on his experience at the University of Melbourne, Michael highlights that it was one of the most formative experiences of his career and that it inspired him to continue his study.
"I strongly considered becoming a competition law academic and dedicating myself to research in this area. This was partly because I really enjoyed the research component of the degree, and so thought I’d like to undertake an MPhil or PhD. The Master of Laws (Global Competition and Consumer Law) gave me both the academic credentials and references I needed to apply for an MPhil at leading competition law institutions around the world.
“If you’re serious about specialising in competition law, the global competition and consumer law masters is a great choice, and Melbourne Law School is a wonderful institution to be affiliated with. The course content is tailored to developing your skills and knowledge as a competition lawyer. I have frequently drawn upon what I learned in both in my competition law advisory work and in my academic research. I also cannot speak highly enough of the people involved in the course.”
The Master of Laws (Global Competition and Consumer Law) has since been restructured and renamed and is now available for applicants as the Master of Global Competition and Consumer Law.