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EU bubble: We meet competition lawyer Alexandra Rogers
I was born in the UK but I spent a couple of years in Australia as a child, and there is a part of Oz that will always be in me. We moved to Belgium so my father could work at the Solvay HQ in Brussels. It was quite a difference in lifestyle, but we fell in love with the country. I later moved back to England to study law and started working there as a lawyer. I came back to Belgium in 2006 for a short secondment to an international law firm but felt immediately at home again, and decided to specialise in EU law at the College of Europe in Bruges. Ten years later, I’m still here.
I work at the Brussels office of the global law firm White & Case. I’m a local partner specialising in EU and competition law, and defend companies that are the subject of competition investigations by the European Commission. I’ve also worked on several pro bono matters covering interesting environmental, human rights and sports law issues. Although I have many criticisms of how the EU functions, I think it’s inspiring that Europe has created a system to resolve its disputes based on the rule of law. I see my role as a lawyer as key to maintaining public trust in European justice.
I particularly enjoy litigation – there’s no hiding place in court so you have to be ready with your arguments and answers to tough questions. Law is a demanding profession with long hours, and the work/life balance is particularly hard for women with family commitments. White & Case takes a very progressive approach to such issues, and even promoted me to local partner while I was on maternity leave.
A typical day for me starts with the Olympic sport of getting our baby son, Raphaël, dressed and off to crèche. At work, I usually draft submissions or have meetings with colleagues and clients. I try to have lunch outside the office and catch up with friends, but that’s not always possible. I come home around 18.00 and play with Raphaël for a while before it’s bath and bedtime for him. My husband – also an EU lawyer – is in charge of cooking, so I usually plug back into work while he gets things ready. The evenings are ours – at least for now!