“Lawyers need to stay on the cutting edge”

Julia Holden, Partner, Trevisan & Cuonzo

  • Tell us a bit about yourself and your professional course.

I qualified in the UK as a British Solicitor in 1990 and worked with Slaughter and May before moving in-house to the PRS (UK Music Collecting Society).

I moved to Milan in ‘92 and joined Trevisan & Cuonzo in summer ‘93 when this new partnership was created. In 2007, I qualified as an Italian Attorney. I have always enjoyed IP law and focused on trademarks advising Italian, US and other European clients on brand enforcement strategies, with a particular focus on luxury and fashion.

  • How is Trevisan & Cuonzo – and you personally – dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic?

Italy and in particular Milan were hit hard by Covid in early 2020, so our lawyers closed the office for a brief 10week period. By June 2020 we reopened our doors with strict restrictions. Luckily, we are a service industry and our only ‘products’ are the words we produce, so I think lawyers have been hit less compared to other industries when it came to a pandemic. Personally – though it was grim – I have found the staying at home gave me time to reflect, which was helpful for my personal inner strength and growth.

  • You have been noted by the Legal 500 as being a “pioneer in the IP field”. What are the most fascinating and the most challenging aspects of working in the IP, and more specifically, the trademark spectrum?

The most fascinating aspect is trying to find solutions for issues which are always different, and the challenging aspect is that nothing ever stays the same – rules continually change, society changes, teams change, so lawyers need to stay on the cutting edge to provide the best advice for their clients.

  • You are based in Milan, the capital of fashion & luxury. What are the core business and legal needs of the clients you work with in this industry?

Fashion is an exciting place to work, with high energy people thus requiring fast, yet measured legal decisions to ensure our clients are always a step ahead of the pack.

Clients are often experienced businesspeople with an appetite for risk. The task of their lawyers is not to dampen down that energy but to safeguard clients, to ensure they operate in a legally safe environment so that ambitious expansion plans make good commercial sense.

  • What does the life of a lawyer in Italy look like?

It is a crowded market for lawyers and the litigation procedure can often be frustratingly slow. There is a strong need for a financial injection into the Italian judicial structure to overhaul juridical procedures, so as to fast-track more cases. Here in Milan, it is important to acquire legal specialization to differentiate from competitors and offer a top-quality service to win over clients. Within our law firm we have a wide variety of cases covering many industry sectors and our lawyers are hardworking, team spirited and will stop at nothing to get the best, legally viable solutions for their clients.

  • What are your hobbies and what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I‘m a huge theatre and Opera fan: my side business (J. Productions) aims to bring professional English theatre to Milan and other cities in Italy.

  • What books are you currently reading?

In the year of the anniversary of Alighieri Dante I have spent much of 2021 getting to grips with The Divine Comedy. I am still scraping the surface…

I have recently read numerous plays from Tom Stoppard to Noel Coward amongst others. There is so much wonderful literature out there it is often difficult to choose. I have a fascination with books set in Berlin in the interwar years.