60-second interview with Graham Wilson

Graham Wilson, 24/3/2020

Graham Wilson TEP is a Partner at Wilson Associates in Luxembourg.

What does your firm do?

Wilson Associates is an international law firm based in Luxembourg. We focus on international business and tax law and, as most of our clients are small and medium-sized enterprises, we very often get involved in the personal and succession issues of the shareholders and managers. We are 50:50 male: female, eight nationalities, speak seven languages and have professional (legal) qualifications from four countries. The majority of our lawyers are women.

What is the most important thing STEP does, in your opinion?

STEP provides a coherent focus for many different professionals who share common objectives in their work for clients. STEP brings shared values to a diverse and complex business on an international stage.

You were given a Founder’s Award last year. What does this mean to you?

One would hope that any competent professional will earn both fees and plaudits from their clients, but to receive an accolade from one’s peers confirms that one's doing something right. Receiving a STEP Founder’s award is one of the best such accolades that one can ever receive.

How and why did you get involved with STEP?

I had the opportunity to be one of the original adherents, as a colleague in Luxembourg was involved right at the beginning. I was sceptical that such a multi-profession organisation could work. A year or two later, I saw the error of my ways and became member number 1860.

What benefits has it brought you?

For me the principal benefit has been the many professional contacts I’ve made, who have been both extremely useful and, in many cases, become friends. It is an endless source of more than competent professional colleagues.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing your branch or region at the moment, and how are you planning to deal with them?

The two main challenges are, in my opinion, first providing relevance and an attractive place for potential young members, particularly in such a diverse milieu as Luxembourg, and then maintaining an active branch programme, when members are under ever-increasing pressure in their daily work.

We have made great advances in both of these over the last two years under our previous Chair, Louise Benjamin TEP. Her replacement, Simon Gorbutt TEP has been very involved on the committee and is ideally placed to carry this on, so I am very optimistic.

What do you most like about your job?

One, solving problems and two, drafting - taking the personal and commercial input from clients and putting them into coherent, concise and easy-to-understand agreements.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

I would say solving problems for our clients.

What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?

Ours is an industry with many opportunities, and whatever mechanisation or automation takes place in the future, whether through use of AI or otherwise, there will always be a demand for the inter-personal skills that are at the heart of what we do.

I’d add that the person needs to have a good understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses and their own likes and dislikes, because it is not an industry for everyone.

Where do you see future growth, both in terms of sectors and jurisdictions?

The principal growth I see is in cross-jurisdictional issues. These continues to accelerate and are not likely to stop anytime soon. As to sectors, I am pretty traditional: births, marriages and deaths and all the issues surrounding these, will always be the principal source of demand for our services.

Graham Wilson TEP is a Partner at Wilson Associates in Luxembourg, and is a barrister (England and Wales) and Avocat à La Cour (Luxembourg). Graham founded the STEP Benelux Branch and was its first Chair. He currently serves as Branch Treasurer.