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The Swiss legal market has a rather decentralised structure, mirroring Switzerland itself. Zurich, the country’s largest city and location of the principal stock exchange, is home to the majority of leading banking and capital markets lawyers. It is located in Switzerland’s German-speaking region, in which Basel and the capital Bern are also significant legal centres. Geneva, the country’s second largest city, with its many private banks and international organisations, is home to many leading banking and international arbitration lawyers. It is located in the French-speaking West, where Lausanne is another important legal centre. Also noteworthy is Lugano, the third most important financial centre in Switzerland and legal centre of the Italian-speaking region in the Southeast.

Among the seven law firms that achieve the most top tier rankings in Switzerland, only Bär & Karrer AG is well established in all three language regions. Baker & McKenzie, Lenz & Staehelin, and Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd have offices in the German and the French-speaking parts, while Homburger and Niederer Kraft & Frey AG are based in Zurich only. Walder Wyss Ltd, which has several offices in the German speaking region, opened a Lugano office in 2013 and entered the French-speaking region in 2016, with the opening of new offices in Geneva and Lausanne and lateral hires from Froriep.

The Swiss legal market, which is usually notable for its stability, has also seen some other movement recently: Kellerhals, with offices in Basel, Bern and Zurich, merged with Carrard, with presences in Lausanne and Sion, to form Kellerhals Carrard and cover the German and the French-speaking regions. Python & Peter experienced several departures, some of which went to Pestalozzi, strengthening the latter’s presence in Geneva. International law firms Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and White & Case LLP opened new arbitration practices in Geneva in 2015.

Firms in the spotlight

Bär & Karrer AG

Bär & Karrer is a leading Swiss law firm with more than 150 lawyers in Zurich, Geneva, Lugano and Zug. Our core business is advising our clients on innovative and complex transactions and representing them in litigation, arbitration and regulatory proceedings. Our clients range from multinational corporations to private individuals in Switzerland and around the world.

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