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Switzerland > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Switzerland’s legal market has a decentralised structure, reflecting the federal political structure of the country itself. Located in Switzerland’s German-speaking region, Zurich is not only the country’s largest city, but is also the location of the principal stock exchange and home to the majority of leading banking and capital markets lawyers. 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 are Lugano, the third most important financial centre in Switzerland and legal centre of the Italian-speaking region in the Southeast, as well as the German-speaking cities of Basel and the Swiss capital, Bern.

Of the six law firms that achieve the most top-tier rankings in Switzerland, only Bär & Karrer AG has a well-established presence in all three language regions. Walder Wyss Ltd, however, is catching up: it has three offices in the German-speaking region, opened a Lugano office in 2013 and entered the French-speaking region in 2016 with openings in Geneva and Lausanne. In addition to their Zurich offices, Lenz & Staehelin and Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd also have offices in the French-speaking West, while Homburger and Niederer Kraft & Frey AG are based in Zurich only.

Increased banking regulation and greater transparency has put significant pressure on the Swiss private banking sector and has been a key driver of legal work. Especially important was the US Programme for non-prosecution agreements or non-target letters for Swiss banks. Under this programme, 78 banks obtained non-prosecution agreements in 2015 and 2016. This significantly reduced uncertainties and led to an increase in M&A in the private banking sector.

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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
  • 17 February 2017: Auris Medical's Public Equity Offering

    Auris Medical Holding AG (NASDAQ: EARS) issued and priced its public offering of 10,000,000 common shares and 10,000,000 warrants, each warrant entitling its holder to purchase 0.70 of a common share.  The common shares and warrants are being sold in units comprised of one common share and one warrant at the public offering price of USD 1.00 per unit. The warrants will be immediately exercisable at a price of USD 1.20 per common share and are exercisable for five years. In connection with the offering, the Company has granted the underwriter a 30-day option to purchase up to 1,500,000 additional common shares and/or 1,500,000 additional warrants at the public offering price less underwriting discounts. The offering is expected to close on or about February 21, 2017, subject to customary closing conditions. Roth Capital Partners is acting as sole book-running manager in the offering. Maxim Group LLC is acting as a financial advisor in the offering.
  • 16 February 2017: Credit Suisse successfully launched its new subsidiary Credit Suisse (Switzerland)

    Credit Suisse (Switzerland) Ltd. was incorporated with the purpose to be organized as a Swiss bank. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Credit Suisse AG. The transfer of assets and liabilities according to Swiss merger law became effective on 20 November 2016. The transfer was aimed to evolve the legal entity structure of the Credit Suisse Group to meet regulatory requirements for systematically important banks.
  • 14 February 2017: BASF acquires Rolic Group

    BASF acquires Rolic, a Swiss based group offering innovative and forward-thinking solutions, particularly in the display and security industries as well as the optical film business.
  • 15 February 2017: gategroup CHF 300 mio. bond issuance

    gategroup successfully raised CHF 300 million through the issuance of a fixed rate 5-year senior bond with a final maturity on February 28, 2022. The bond with a coupon of 3% p.a. has been issued by gategroup Finance (Luxembourg) S.A. and is guaranteed by its parent company gategroup Holding AG. gategroup will apply for the listing of the new bond on the SIX Swiss Exchange.
  • 17 February 2017: RWS acquires LUZ, Inc.

    RWS Holdings plc, a world leading provider of intellectual property support services (patent translations, international patent filing solutions and searches), commercial translations and linguistic validation, has completed the acquisition of 100% of LUZ, Inc., a market leading Life Sciences language services provider based in San Francisco, for a cash consideration of USD82.5m.
  • 17 February 2017: Cembra Money Bank acquires invoice financing provider SWISSBILLING SA

    Cembra Money Bank has reached an agreement to acquire 100% of the shares of SWISSBILLING. The transaction is expected to close within the first quarter of 2017. The transaction consideration was below CHF 10 million and is expected to have a negative impact of 0.1% on the Group’s CET1 ratio as at closing.
  • 7 February 2017: TPF closes private offering and bank financing

    Transports publics fribourgeois Trafic (TPF TRAFIC) SA closed the financing of its maintenance and exploitation centre in the canton of Fribourg. The financing was partly made through a CHF 40 mio. private placement, a CHF 32 mio. secured bank loan and a CHF 55 mio. unsecured bank loan.
  • 3 February 2017: Migros acquires Tipesca

    The Migros Group, through MĂ©rat & Cie. SA, has acquired Tipesca SA, a company incorporated in the canton of Tessin. Tipesca offers a wide range of fish products.
  • 24 January 2017: Sharp Corporation and Skytec Group Limited enter into strategic business alliance

    Japan-based Sharp Corporation, part of Taiwan’s Foxconn Group, enters into a strategic business alliance with Skytec Group Limited (“Skytec”) regarding the manufacture and sale of Sharp branded products and services in Europe. For that purpose, Sharp acquires a majority stake of 56.7% in the newly incorporated joint venture Skytec UMC Ltd.
  • 25 January 2017: Zug Estates CHF 100 mio. Bond

    Zug Estates Holding AG (SIX: ZUGN) has successfully issued its first CHF 100 mio. fixed-interest bond with a 0.7% coupon and a 5-year maturity.

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
  • Bär & Karrer Advised the Sellers of Rotronic

    The owners of Rotronic AG, which develops and manufactures measuring technologies, sold the company to funds managed by Battery Ventures.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises CliniSciences on the Acquisition of BIOTREND Chemicals

    On 13 June 2017, CliniHolding S.Ă  r.l. (CliniSciences) acquired the entire stake in BIOTREND Chemicals AG (BIOTREND) from its founders. BIOTREND is a leading distributor of high-quality reagents and biochemicals for the life science research community in Switzerland, Germany and USA.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Banque Cantonale de Genève on the Placement of CHF 200 Million Additional Tie

    Banque Cantonale de Genève successfully completed the placement of CHF 90 million perpetual additional tier 1 subordinated bonds and CHF 110 million tier 2 subordinated bonds due 2027. The additional tier 1 subordinated bonds were issued at 100% of their nominal amount with an interest of 2.00%. The tier 2 subordinated bonds were issued at 100.024% of their nominal amount with an interest of 1.125% and will mature on 28 June 2027 at their nominal amount. Both bonds have been provisionally admitted to trading at the SIX Swiss Exchange and are expected to be listed there as well. UBS AG, Zürcher Kantonalbank and Banque Cantonale de Genève acted as Joint Lead Managers.
  • Bär & Karrer wins Europe Women in Business Law Award

    Bär & Karrer is pleased to announce that partner Tina Wüstemann, who heads the private clients team, won the title 'Best in trusts & estates' at the Europe Women in Business Law Awards ceremony on 15 June 2017 in London. This is the second time Tina Wüstemann wins this award. In addition, partner and dispute resolution specialist Nadja Jaisli Kull was shortlisted as 'Rising Star Litigation'.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Groupe Acrotec on its Placement of CHF 70 Million 3.75% Bonds

    Groupe Acrotec SA, a high precision manufacturer of small components and specialised service provider for the watchmaking and industrial sectors, has completed the placement of CHF 70 million 3.75% bonds due 2023. The bonds were issued at 100% of their principal amount and, unless previously redeemed or repurchased and cancelled, will mature on 14 June 2023 at 100% of their principal amount. The bonds are guaranteed by a number of subsidiaries of the issuer, among them Finacrotec SA, which as substitute guarantor fulfills certain requirements under the listing rules of SIX Swiss Exchange in the place of the issuer. Credit Suisse AG acted as Lead Manager and Bookrunner.
  • Bär & Karrer Advised UBS on its Shared Services Transfer to UBS Business Solutions AG

    Through a series of transactions which were completed for the most part in early June, UBS AG and other UBS group companies transferred group shared services functions, which are mainly based in Switzerland, in the UK and the US, to UBS Business Solutions AG and other related service companies. UBS Business Solutions AG now operates as the group service company of UBS and is a wholly owned subsidiary of UBS Group AG. The implementation of UBS Business Solutions AG enables UBS to maintain operational continuity of critical services should a recovery or resolution occur. It represents an important step towards improved resolvability, and is in line with global guidance defined by the Financial Stability Board.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Huntsman Corporation on All-stock Merger of Equals with Clariant

    On 22 May 2017, SIX Swiss Exchange (SIX) listed Clariant AG and Huntsman Corporation, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), announced that their Boards of Directors approved a definite agreement to combine in a cross-border merger of equals through an all-stock transaction. The combination of both companies will create a leading global specialty chemical company with a combined enterprise value of approximately USD 20 billion at announcement.
  • Bär & Karrer boosts Tax Practice with new Partner in Geneva

    Bär & Karrer announces that Christoph Suter has been elected as partner to lead the tax practice in Geneva as of 1 October 2017.
  • Bär & Karrer Successful in Large Arbitration Proceeding

    Bär & Karrer successfully defends the interests of its long standing client EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG in a CHF 1 billion ad hoc-arbitration proceeding in Zurich instituted by a German entrepreneur four years ago. In its final award, the tribunal dismissed the plaintiff's claim in its entirety and awarded Bär & Karrer's client full compensation for its legal costs.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises CVC on the Acquisition of a Majority Stake in Breitling

    CVC Fund VI has agreed to acquire an 80% stake in Breitling, a leading independent, family-owned manufacturer of Swiss luxury watches. As part of the transaction, Théodore Schneider will re-invest for a 20% shareholding in Breitling. Closing of the transaction is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities.