“I heard about the firm’s secondment program through partner Gonçalo C. Godinho, who explained the ins and outs of the program to me. Following a trip to Ireland, where the bank Arthur Cox was very receptive to the idea of receiving a Brazilian associate, I was invited to join them for the secondment.
I had already worked a great deal with them and Gonçalo understood that it would make sense for me to be the one chosen for the position.
I spent six months working abroad and the work itself was similar to that carried out in Brazil. I did not notice great differences in the tasks performed or in the concepts of negotiation between one country and another. The biggest differences were in the culture of the firm, the country and the market in general.
Unlike what we are familiar with here in Brazil, Irish culture is more focused on the professional side so that interpersonal relationships between lawyers are less distinct.
On the office side, there is a great concern with structure and training, so that professionals are as efficient and independent as possible. Every lawyer has complete freedom to manage his or her time – schedules are flexible and lawyers are encouraged to be efficient in order to achieve a desirable balance of personal life vs. work.
Regarding the lawyers themselves, there is also a great deal of concern about efficiency and timeliness – there is no lunchtime, most lawyers eat at their desks or in 15 minute breaks.
In the same vein, external (or even internal) meetings are very rare – most negotiations take place by means of calls and/or exchanges of minutes – all so that time is maximized. The division of labor is also efficient and the level of work of each lawyer varies little – all have a high workload.
Clients are sensitive to the costs of lawyers, and use outside lawyers wisely – very rarely are urgent requests made and teams have to be restricted to a few people per case. With this, each lawyer has a large volume of work within the operations, but also handle a few operations at the same time.
Ireland is an extremely interesting country with a lot of history and diverse traditions. The landscapes of the country are beautiful and recognized worldwide. Because it is a relatively small country, it is possible to discover ‘distant’ places on trips of one to three days.
During my stay, I got to know much of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The differences in landscapes, customs, food and culture are very interesting and unusual in such a small nation.
It was also an excellent opportunity to be living in the midst of an extremely topical theme – Brexit. The most enriching experience, though, was to get to know more deeply a new culture and a new country, which I might not have known in depth without doing the secondment.
I take with me new friends, contacts and enriching professional and personal experiences.”