A Belgian Lawyer in New York 2015
On 2 January 2015, my plane from United Airlines took off to set course towards the Newark airport in New York, United States. The start of what would be an unforgettable experience of 3 months, representing the Belgian legal desk of EY Law at Donahue & Partners LLP.
I was given the opportunity to work on various multinational restructuring projects: drafting the required documents, advising on and assisting with the implementation, coordinating the work abroad, maintaining a good relationship with the client as well as with foreign legal counsels. This experience was also an opportunity to improve the relationship and mutual confidence between Donahue & Partners and EY Law Belgium.
For the Donahue-team and myself, it was a great learning experience. The cooperation gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about the Dutch law system and various rules. Also, due to the large multinational projects, my knowledge of corporate, commercial and IP law extended from Belgian knowledge to a much broader international knowledge. This knowledge is very useful, since my day-to-day activity in Belgium often comprises international restructuring. On the other hand, Belgian law was interesting for the Donahue team as well.
Next to the great benefit of gaining a lot of knowledge, this experience had many more benefits:
– Network: my network has largely grown, especially since I was working at an international desk with people from all over the world: India, U.K., Spain, France, Luxemburg, Mexico, Africa, … also thanks to my contact with our clients and their legal counsels, who are based all over the world (British Virgin Island, Australia, China, South-America)…
– Culture and community: not only the working part is nice, living abroad gives you the opportunity to go local: live alongside local people and take in the culture.
– Multicultural and multilingual working environment.
– Language skills – even though I was raised bilingual (Dutch – British English), spending time with the American native speakers improved my American English (which is quite different to British English ;-)).
– The opportunity to travel within America. New York is such an amazing city… you discover new places and hotspots everyday… Also, outside New York, there are plenty of places worth a visit!
I guess words don’t lie… I had a great time at Donahue & Partners, both from a professional and personal point of view. I have met nice people at work and outside of it. Special thanks goes out to the Donahue-team, as their warm welcoming was the basis of the entire experience!