The Legal 500

Switzerland

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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.

Press releases

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

Legal Developments in Switzerland

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

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
  • 24 February 2015 - Tencent Acquires Miniclip Group SA

    Tencent has acquired ownership in Miniclip Group SA. Headquartered in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Miniclip is a digital games company which develops, publishes and distributes mobile and online games to around 70 million monthly active users across mobile, social and online platforms. Tencent, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, is one of the largest internet companies worldwide based on market capitalization and provides services such as social networks, web portals, e-commerce, and multiplayer online games.
  • 4 March 2015 - Valora Successfully Completes the Acquisition of LS Distribution Suisse (Naville)

    Valora has completed the acquisition of LS Distribution Suisse, which holds all shares in Naville, the leading integrated small-outlet retailer in French-speaking Switzerland. Naville operates an outlet network encompassing more than 175 units and also has one of the main logistics platforms in French-speaking Switzerland.
  • 5 March 2015 - Capita Successfully Completes the Acquisition of avocis

    Capita, a UK leader in business process management and outsourcing solutions, has successfully completed its previously announced acquisition of avocis, a leading provider of customer contact management services in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, from its former owners.
  • 5 March 2015 - Novartis Portfolio Transformation Completed

    On 22 April 2014, Novartis announced that it had agreed to acquire GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) oncology products and to divest its vaccines business (excluding flu) to GSK. Moreover, Novartis and GSK had agreed to combine Novartis OTC and GSKs consumer health businesses in a joint venture. In a separate transaction, Novartis had agreed to divest its animal health business to Eli Lilly.
  • We welcome Désirée Wiesendanger as our new partner

    We are pleased to announce that Désirée Wiesendanger became partner of the firm on January 1, 2015. She specializes in financial markets law.
  • 2 February 2015 - Bär & Karrer Further Strengthens its Tax Team with Prof. Dr. Robert Danon

    Bär & Karrer is delighted to announce that, as of 1 February 2015, Robert J. Danon, Professor of Swiss and International Tax Law at the University of Lausanne, will join Bär & Karrer as Counsel and further strengthen its tax practice group.
  • 27 January 2015 - Bär & Karrer Partner hears first CAS sports case in Abu Dhabi

    Michele Bernasconi, partner at Bär & Karrer, was recently assigned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to lead the first hearing in a CAS matter held at the court's Abu Dhabi branch. The case related to an Indian swimmer that filed an appeal with CAS against a sanction of two years ban, imposed by the Indian National Anti-Doping Agency.
  • 27 January 2015 - Bär & Karrer Partner wins Silver at Citywealth Power Women Awards

    Tina Wüstemann, who heads Bär & Karrer's private client department, was honored in the 2015 Citywealth Power Women Awards, which took place in London on 22 January 2015. She won a Silver Award in the category "Woman of the Year: Leadership (Professional services)". Awards were handed out to individuals and companies that support female leadership and diversity within the wealth management sector. The winners were selected from a shortlist of candidates drawn up by ten judges, all prominent figures from the wealth industry. Additional online voting was verified by an independent third Party.
  • 12 January 2015 - Walgreens Acquires the Remaining Equity Ownership in Alliance Boots

    Walgreen Co., the largest drug store chain in the United States, has completed the acquisition of the remaining 55% equity ownership in Alliance Boots GmbH, the Swiss parent company of a leading international pharmacy-led health and beauty group. Walgreens had acquired 45% in Alliance Boots GmbH in 2012 with the option to proceed to a full combination by acquiring the remaining 55%.
  • 15 January 2015 - Daniel Leu elected partner

    We are pleased to announce that we elected Daniel Leu as partner as of 1 January 2015. Daniel Leu, a Certified Inheritance Law Specialist, advises private clients on corporate and estate planning, on the handling of estates, in connection with foundations and trusts and on questions in connection with the place of residence. Other areas of work include advising clients who buy or sell real estate in Switzerland and art law.