At Cleveland & Co, we offer all our employees the ability to live and work in another C&Co office location through our Secondment Programme. Antonia Manti was the first of our team members to take up this opportunity and has recently returned from her stay at our Sydney office. We sat down with Antonia to ask about her experiences whilst in Sydney!

Q1. Congratulations on being our first Cleveland & Co secondee! What were your initial thoughts about going to Sydney for 3 months?

Thank you! I am very grateful to Emma and the team for the opportunity to be the first secondee of C&Co. Living and working in Sydney was a huge privilege and a wonderful experience, an experience of a lifetime. Visiting Australia was a massive goal on my bucket list so when I was given this opportunity, I was ecstatic. I was also initially daunted by the prospect of living in a different continent, away from my friends and family. However, with the support from the C&Co team and my family, I was able to confidently embrace and rise to the challenge. Approaching my time in Sydney with excitement, positivity and an open mind enabled me to adapt to the culture, enhance my career through exposure to a new legal system, and create memories with new friends.

Q2. How was your transition to Sydney handled by the firm?

The teams in both London and Sydney were amazing in handling my transition. The office in London was excellent in sorting out my accommodation and travel arrangements. This took significant pressure off me and allowed me to focus on completing outstanding work in London and prepare for the move. Similarly, the Sydney team was very welcoming and quickly made me feel like a part of the culture there. The consistent support from both offices and the feeling of being part of something huge at C&Co empowered me to push my boundaries while learning.

Q3. What benefits do you feel the secondment brought you and the firm?

This secondment afforded me the opportunity to grow as a person and as a professional. Stepping up to the challenge of moving to a different continent to live and work bolstered my belief in myself and boosted my personal confidence. It also gave me the opportunity to build new relationships, explore a new city, and experience a different culture. On a professional level, the secondment enabled me to progress quickly and become proficient enough to work with and provide legal advice to Australian clients. I also had the privilege of networking, shadowing, and working alongside our incredible team in Sydney. Having the opportunity to work with and learn from Emma marks a huge step forward in the progression of my career. My secondment, enabled the Sydney team to experience, through me, ‘how we do it in London’, our legal passion and dedication, and that was, in my opinion, a great benefit to the firm. A few weeks after my secondment started, I was up to speed and able to actively help the team and reduce some of the pressure on management by contributing to the completion of everyday client work.

Q4. Did you find anything about the secondment challenging or difficult?

Yes, I did. Being away from my family and friends was my biggest challenge, as was working in a different continent, with a different culture, and with a different legal system. However, by resolving to tackle the challenges with a positive attitude, embracing change, and taking it one step at a time, was able to make the most of the experience, exhibiting my capability to succeed in a different environment whilst having a fulfilling time in Sydney.

Q5. What were the highlights of the trip for you?

To pick a few highlights feels diminutive of my experience. Nonetheless, some moments stood out to me from this amazing experience. I remember the feeling of immense satisfaction and achievement I felt on my last day in the office after an intense three months of learning and development. Additionally, the interesting Australian Regulations, the enormous Corporations Act, and the complex financial system cannot be left out!  Other memorable moments that stand out include waking up to the natural beauty surrounding Sydney – there is an ease living there, watching the weekly Friday fireworks, exploring random tiny bookshops, the walks by the harbour, the amazing donut place by the Rocks and the friendly locals. Sydney epitomises the free-spiritedness associated with Australians – people walking barefoot to beaches carrying surfboards! Experiencing this freedom for three months was the highlight of my year.

Q6. Would you go on another secondment in the future?

For sure I would! It was an amazing and unique experience, and I will capitalise on any opportunity where I see a prospect of developing myself, my skills, my legal knowledge, and experience.

Q7. What advice would you give to future Cleveland & Co secondees?

Embrace the challenge to grow, chase the idea of becoming the best version of yourself, work hard and stay focused: the feeling of satisfaction and achievement is irreplaceable. Be yourself throughout this experience, welcome new knowledge, and the chance to develop your skills. Be prepared, keep yourself informed of what is expected of you, do more than what you are asked or expected to do, believe in yourself and in the possibility of succeeding in a different environment. Finally, do not ever worry about the world ending today; it’s already tomorrow in Sydney!

To learn more about our secondment opportunities or to find out more about working at Cleveland & Co, please get in touch here.