Episode 03: How to Build a Successful International Law Practice
Dr. Katrina Burrus, MCC ask Mr. Xavier Oberson what he attributes his success to in Building a Successful International Law Practice?
“Express your knowledge in a simple way,” says Xavier Oberson. “Take a niche market aspect of law and develop it to an International level” “What made you so well known?” I like to entertain and teach. Playing music, teaching and speaking at conferences is entertainment ”
“I do it in a humble and entertaining way but with good content and I use anecdotes to teach”.
What about Switzerland’s tax, legal and fiscal regime?
“If Switzerland goes in the right direction, Switzerland has a lot of potential” Switzerland has a strong legal system with independent judges”…..
What was the most difficult time in your career and how did you overcome it?
I went to Harvard Law School and I was nobody there. Nobody knew me there. I was among other very smart people. This was the best professional decision I took. It opened my mind. You do not take anything for granted. It humbles you because you meet very intelligent people. After that experience, I developed the firm Internationally.
I published articles and gave presentations but you really need to work and I even worked on holidays writing books when all my family was on the beach. It probably cost my marriage.
Did you have an aha moment when your career shifted drastically?
I had a second child when I was in Harvard in a very small apartment. I intended to work in the US when I received a phone call from the University of Geneva to be a lecturer. I said yes, and my life changed completely but I knew that was the right decision.
You also advise the Swiss government?
You need the skills of a professor, of a negotiator and be able to entertain…..
What motivates you today?
Tune in to find out how Xavier Oberson answered this question and many more.
- What is the best business advice you received?
- What did music teach you about business?
- What habits has been part of your business success?
- What advice would you give to young attorneys today?
Who is Xavier Oberson?
Xavier Oberson is a Professor in Swiss and International Tax Law at the University of Geneva. After his studies at the University of Geneva where he obtained his law degree and his Doctorate in law in 1990, he pursued his studies and research at the Harvard Law School where he also completed the International Tax Program (ITP) in 1992.
He published numerous books and articles, notably the standard books « Droit fiscal suisse », Basel 2011, 4th ed (Helbing & Lichtenhahn), « Précis de droit fiscal international », Bern 2014, 4th ed. (Stämplfli) and was co-author of « Switzerland in international tax law », 4th ed., Amsterdam, 2011 (IBFD Publications). He teaches regularly in various Universities abroad and is invited Professor at la Sorbonne (Paris Assas).
He is President of the “Journée de droit fiscal” that he organizes every year with the “Ordre Romand des Experts Fiscaux diplômés (OREF) of which he is a member of honor. He initiated and is the director of the new Tax LL.M. (Master of Advanced Studies), of the University of Geneva, which started early 2011.
He is active in various associations, expert committees, and foundations. In this context, he regularly drafts legal opinions, collaborates on various tax reforms and takes part in Parliament sessions.
More of his activities
He was admitted to the Geneva bar in 1987 and is also a partner of Oberson Avocats, a law firm specialized in Tax matters. He advises private clients as well as corporations in all Tax matters. In addition, in 2008, he participated in the development, with the State of Morocco, of a project regarding an Ecological Tax reform.
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