Robel: Team spirit is the key to success at work and in life
2 February 2022

Robel Mehari Tsegaye is a senior associate at our Addis Ababa office

How did your career path begin?

In 2009, I graduated in law from Addis Ababa University and got my first job teaching at a private college in Addis Ababa. Between 2011 and 2014, I worked as an in-house lawyer for a trading company. I then met Ato Tameru and began working as a junior associate at Tameru Wondm Agegnehu Law Office, which has been cooperating with BonelliErede since 2017. In 2020, I was promoted to my current position of senior associate.

During my time as a junior associate, I moved to Sweden for a little over a year to pursue an LL.M. in international and EU tax law from Uppsala University. I really appreciated the opportunity to learn in a different education system from Ethiopia’s: it broadened my horizons, and I enjoyed delving into various topics through the university’s many seminars. Students also had the opportunity to visit some of the biggest professional service firms. Not only did I experience an entirely new culture in Sweden, but also a completely different climate! It was the first time I’d really experienced living in snowy, cold weather, as the average temperature in Addis Ababa tends to be around 20 degrees C.

Tell us about coming over to Italy, including what struck you most about BonelliErede?

Upon completing my LL.M. in 2020, I moved to Milan – unfortunately just two days after the Covid-19 lockdown began – to begin a secondment at BonelliErede’s main office that lasted about six months. Initially, many of my planned in-person meetings with colleagues had to be held remotely – but nevertheless, the firm’s strong focus on teamwork as the main working method immediately stood out to me. Unlike my previous work environments, BonelliErede takes a very structured approach that involves various colleagues taking on different portions of the work – this means we’re constantly working together to secure the best possible results for clients. I work especially closely with my fellow Africa Team members across EMEA, which gives me the opportunity to put my international background to good use. And I was eventually able to meet them in person during my secondment!

The experience I’ve gained at BonelliErede right from the start has been instrumental to my professional growth, as the firm’s renown and broad areas of expertise have given me the opportunity to learn about many different sectors.

What is your favourite way to spend your free time?

Besides spending time with friends and family, I love reading, especially political economy books and historical non-fiction. Reading gives me newfound perspectives on cultures and economies, be they foreign or my own – plus it’s a good respite from the energy that Addis Ababa gives off daily!

I also like to unwind by watching my favourite football team, FC Arsenal! I sometimes get together with other team members to watch the Champions League, which we most recently did for the Real Madrid vs Juventus match. Having a common interest with colleagues from around the world allows us to find common ground despite our different backgrounds – and it brings us closer together.

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