Firm & Awards

International Family Day 2023: Q&A with partner and mother of three Cosima Trabichet-Castan

Cosima Trabichet-Castan has been with MLL Legal since 2012 and became a partner in 2020. She specialises in real estate law, she is actively involved in various associations, she is an assistant judge at the Geneva Court for landlord and tenant disputes. And she is a devoted mother of three lovely young kids aged three, two and three and a half months. Does Cosima ever wonder what exactly she has got herself into? It is the United Nations Family Day and we are here to find out.

At work, you were recognised for the first time in this year’s edition of the prestigious Chambers and Partners Europe guide, a great achievement. What kind of award would your family be giving you?

I would probably be labelled “the Peacemaker”! Indeed, as a lawyer, you are facing conflict daily, which does come in handy when you need to arbitrate disputes between siblings. At home like at work, I believe in finding constructive solutions and bringing the kids together towards a common goal rather than fostering excessive competitiveness.

Any parent can confirm that it’s hard to out-negotiate a child when they are set on something. As a lawyer who’s inherently equipped with the highest negotiation skills, have you ever found yourself losing a “case” at home hands down?

Arguing with my three-year-old is probably more difficult on my nerves than conducting a negotiation between two parties who usually do have some sense of rationality! That being said, raising children teaches you the value of patience and steadfastness. It also definitely puts into perspective most of the issues you may be facing at the office.

Support and teamwork is both vital in managing work and in managing a family. How do you find support in your work environment that will help you with your parental responsibilities and on the other hand, how does your family life sustain your professional life?

A good organisation is essential in order to be able to face the challenges of daily life with kids (especially during the winter months when every virus passes down from one child to another causes mayhem in your household). Since my husband and I both work full-time, one of our focal points is dinnertime, which we usually spend together as a family. In addition to the help of our nanny, we are lucky to have strong support from our relatives whenever needed. Finally, it is also very positive to be surrounded by other parents of young children, who understand the challenges we may be currently facing and can also share their experiences of parenthood. At MLL Legal, most of my colleagues from the same generation also have two or three children so they know what it is to deal with short nights and busy days!

Is it possible for professional parents / parental professionals to be fully dedicated to their employers and their families? What kind of impact does a reduction from “fully” to “a little less than fully” have on your work and your family?

Honestly, sometimes it is hard for me to give as much energy and attention to both aspects as I would like to. In absolute terms, however, I think that a good balance is possible without feeling frustrated – provided that you have the necessary support and help (see previous point). In any case, I would encourage any parent to first try before giving up, as one might actually be surprised by what can be accomplished. I also firmly believe that our children benefit from seeing their parents enjoying their work. I think that to balance the two, you have to concentrate on the important things and above all know how to take the time you need for those, be they family- or work-related.

And finally, speaking of personal work-life balance, how do you take care of your own well-being and self-care when you are sometimes indeed asking yourself: “What on earth have I got myself into?”

Whenever I see myself getting tired of running from one meeting or errand to another, I try to take a step back and focus on what is the most important. We tend to lose ourselves in small details when in reality the priorities are very easy to recognise from a distance. Also, I rarely compromise on my weekly “me-time”, be it a sports session, a lunch with a friend or just some time to read an interesting book or article or enjoy a nice glass of wine. These are the types of re-energising moments that allow me to continue to live at a fast pace!

Many thanks, Cosima, for taking the time of sharing your inspirational insights with us!

Share Article