Affinitas spoke to José Villafuerte, asssociate of Miranda & Amado since 2014, about his recent experience in Chile, where he spent 6 months as secondee.
José was selected to participate in Affinitas secondment program, which took him to Santiago de Chile, working at Affinitas’ member firm in Chile, Barros & Errázuriz. He lived through some very significant and historic moments and came back with a wealth of impressions and experiences he will not soon forget.
– José, why did you decide to participate in this program?
Because I was motivated to grow professionally and personally and I knew that the experience of working abroad (and in a firm with the prestige that B&E has) would help me achieve both goals. Whenever I can, I challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone because only then can I be sure that I am growing, and I could not imagine a better way to do this than working abroad, adapting to a new way of working and new colleagues.
– What area did you work in? What kind of matters did you handle?
I was assigned to the Financing and Infrastructure team, where I participated in the advice for the structuring of financing, as well as in the preparation and negotiation of construction, operation and maintenance contracts and several contracts related to the business of clients in that area. I was also part certain M&A and Capital Markets, where I was involved in company acquisitions and issuance of debt instruments.
– What do you highlight from your professional experience during the secondment?
I believe that working at B&E has allowed me to be more versatile in the types of assignments I am given, due to the variety of issues I have been able to see during my stay and thanks to the great work of the lawyers at B&E in structuring the secondment program, who from the first day were concerned that I could participate in a broad range of legal matters, and had the confidence to assign me complex assignments.
I also appreciate the experience of working on infrastructure issues, which is a subject I do not normally deal with on a daily basis, but which, partly due to the structure of the B&E areas (and also thanks to the confidence of people like Nicolás Balmaceda, Francisco de la Barra and Maria Olga Rivera) I was able to see more closely and learn in practice.
And in your personal experience?
I lived through a significant moment in the history of Chile and, like the entire B&E team, I believe that this phenomenon has generated several questions to the ideas and preconceptions that we have rarely tried to revise or rethink from a different perspective than our own. It is disturbing to recognize that many of the ideas we assume to be true are in fact correct, only from the point of view of our privileges. I believe that the life experience I take with me from this period in Chile is invaluable for many reasons, for the quality of people who have received me and welcomed me with great affection, for the great friends I made at B&E and for the lessons learned from a society that does not -and will not- stop surprising me.
“I lived through a significant moment in the history of Chile and, like the entire B&E team, I believe that this phenomenon has generated several questions to the ideas and preconceptions that we have rarely tried to revise or rethink from a different perspective than our own.”
– Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Just a word of thanks to the entire B&E team and especially to the Finance and Infrastructure team. I have learned a lot from them, I admire a lot the great work they do and I will always be grateful for their friendship.
Affinitas’ international secondment program, which was founded in 2004 and formalized 10 years later, offers young lawyers a unique opportunity to spend a number of months working in one of the other member firms, gaining both personal and professional experiences of a lifetime in the process. Selected lawyers have 5-6 years of professional experience, demonstrate outstanding professionalism, and an advanced level of English.
For more information on Affinitas’ Secondment Program, please contact Ms. Natalia Chu: firstname.lastname@example.org