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Editorial

Legal market overview

The Swiss legal market is characterised by two important factors that also define Switzerland as a whole: stability and a decentralised structure. 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 legal centre of the Italian-speaking region in the southeast.

Among the top seven law firms in Switzerland, only Bär & Karrer AG has a presence in all three language regions. Baker & McKenzie, Lenz & Staehelin and Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd have offices in the German and the French-speaking parts, while Walder Wyss Ltd has a presence in the German and the Italian-speaking regions. Homburger and Niederer Kraft & Frey AG are based in Zurich only, but are nevertheless among the top law firms.

The stability of the Swiss legal market was rocked when most lawyers of Wenger Plattner’s Basel office left the firm to open a new office for Walder Wyss Ltd in August 2014.

Another challenge for Swiss traditions is the continuing international pressure to disclose information about bank accounts potentially used for tax evasion. Most prominent is the US Department of Justice Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters for Swiss banks, but pressure from Germany and France is also increasing. This, however, has kept the country’s banking and tax lawyers very busy.

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Legal Developments in Switzerland

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Press Releases in Switzerland

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to