Bonnard Lawson (Geneva)
Timing is everything
The timing of Julien Dif’s specialisation in the law of collective investments, trusts and estates has him riding high on the growth of international fund and private client advice.
Timing is everything and the choice of “when” can often be the defining moment on the route to success. In 1998, international law firm Bonnard Lawson was founded. They seized the new opportunities advising international collective investment firms as well as serving the rising number of global entrepreneurs seeking advice about widespread holdings and succession planning. Julien’s career began in 1999. Within a decade, his specialisations and experience converged with Bonnard Lawson’s when he joined the firm as a partner in the Geneva office. He is also resident in their Luxembourg and Dubai offices and co-heads the Luxembourg office with fellow partners Sonia Bellamine and Catherine Hornung.
Our image of fashion designers – flamboyant, colourful and expressive - is at odds with our view of sober-suited and restrained lawyers. But Julien’s other career as a fashion designer (had he not read law) requires a talent shared with fashion – creativity. With offices in Geneva, Lausanne, Nyon, Shanghai, Paris, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, and Dubai; and its lawyers speaking to clients in French, English, Italian, German, Dutch, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Gujarati, Hindi/Urdu and Hebrew, Bonnard Lawson faces a kaleidoscope of international jurisdictions. Julien navigates this maze of diversity with the imagination, flair and creativity, which, if he had been a fashion designer, he would have applied to creating his collection. But as a lawyer, his work requires tailoring bespoke solutions for clients among a variety of legal systems. Sometimes law demands weaving the weft and warp of the financial fabric. When investment innovation collides with the rigidity of regulation, Julien happily engages creatively.
Go with the flow
Negotiating is the primary skill of a lawyer; where obstacles and intransigence are surmounted by compromise. While Julien “goes with the flow” on the horses he rides in his spare time, it is he who has the final say (sometimes firmly) as to which course the horse will take. Similarly, during negotiations, it is his clients’ interests that must prevail even where this necessitates conflict, something Julien says he tends to be too anxious to avoid. That is perhaps because Julien brings empathy and generosity to the negotiating table, allowing him to view negotiations from the counterparties’ point of view, and to feel how an outcome might affect them. It is revealing that among the people that Julien most admires are former US President, Barak Obama and Pope Francis who have demonstrated similar traits. Julien confesses to overthinking issues, leading to too many questions and options. But his in passion for oenology, identifying the subtleties of wine, is good practice in focusing on what aspects are important amidst complexity and taking time to recognise the best features of a wine – or a deal.
Birthday: 16 May 74
Birth place: Nevers - France
Languages: French, English, German, Luxembourgish
Hobbies: Horse riding, tennis
My favourite Cities: Marrakech - Geneva
Member of STEP – Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners