Milan secondment story

I can safely say that applying to go on secondment to BonelliErede, our Italian ‘Best Friend’, in Milan was a great decision and that I was lucky to be chosen.

Even for an Italophile with some experience of the country, the welcoming atmosphere at Bonelli was astonishing. This is largely down to the natural exuberance of my colleagues here – especially the trainees with whom I shared the 'acquario' (fish – tank) open-plan office for two months. I’ve recently been joined by a secondee from Bredin Prat, another ‘Best Friend’ firm, but was previously the only novelty foreigner and benefited from the great goodwill that a series of successful predecessors have built up.

I now share an office with an associate in the Corporate Finance group. This is excellent for both of us as I get to experience transactions in more detail, and she can practise her English ahead of her own secondment to Slaughter and May in September. The work so far has been interesting and varied and I have helped with deals in the Italian television, alcoholic drinks, hospitality, and medical sectors. The partners I’ve worked with are charming and have great affection for, and anecdotes about, Slaughter and May. I’m also in the process of giving a series of introductory talks on the UK legal system, ranging from the civil litigation procedure to equity capital markets in London, which have been well received and provoked debate about and comparisons between the different ways we do things.

It’ll be hard to leave Bonelli and Milan. However, at least I will have married an Italian by the time I return to London,* which should ease the reintegration process. I hope, and have the feeling, that returning to London won’t be the end of my relationship with Bonelli.

*I should add that she pre-dated this secondment – although Milan is wonderfully welcoming, there are limits!

Ben Wonnacott
Trainee secondment to BonelliErede

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