Alessandro: living and working in Brussels, kilometre after kilometre, assignment after assignment
11 April 2022

Alessandro Cogoni is a junior associate in our competition/antitrust practice

Tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up at BonelliErede

I grew up in Monza and graduated in law from the University of Pavia in 2016. I moved to Brussels that same year to start an LL.M. in International and European Law at the VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel).

It was at university that I met someone who would prove to play a very important role in shaping my future: Massimo Merola. We first got to know each other while I was drafting my thesis, and our work together ended up setting the stage for a great professional opportunity: He asked me to join BonelliErede’s Brussels office, which he heads up.

I’m still working with Merola six years on, mainly on State aid issues – though every now and then we get to work on academic projects together, too. He’s a role model for me, and it’s always a pleasure to put our heads together to find solutions, especially for the most complex of legal issues.

What does being part of the Brussels team mean to you?

Before joining, I was used to working alone. But I really enjoy all the opportunities here to work with colleagues of all seniorities, including those just starting out on their career. The Brussels office is a very close-knit group with a lot of young people whose journey to the firm is similar to mine: They move to Brussels to further their studies or attend international LL.Ms, they meet someone at BonelliErede, and they decide to stay here in Brussels and kick off their career with BonelliErede!

Because of all the great guidance and support I got when I joined six years ago, I do my best to do the same for my more junior colleagues by involving them on assignments as much as possible and guiding and supporting their professional development.

Support and guidance is obviously a big thing across all the offices, but there’s one thing about the Brussels office that no other BonelliErede office can say: we share our office space and common areas with colleagues from all our Best Friends!

And we’ve become personal friends too – we often get together for lunch, an after-work drink (or two) and fun activities. We’re a prime example of cultural and professional cross-fertilisation – which happens to be something Brussels is famous for!

How do you like to spend your free time?

Simple: running.

I’ve always loved sports – cycling, skiing, padel; but my great passion is running.

I started at university, and since moving to Brussels I’ve kept upping the distance. The beautiful large parks means that I always have a great backdrop. As in work, I like to set myself goals in my private life, and with running I’m always trying to achieve a better time, kilometre after kilometre. I have two marathons under my belt − one in 2019 and one in 2021 − and I plan to get another two under my belt this year.

Besides the competitive aspect, running allows me to free my mind and relax: it’s one of the most important outlets for me and helps me to reflect.


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