The Legal 500

Switzerland

Editorial

Legal market overview

Geneva and Zurich are the key legal centres of Switzerland, with Basel, Berne, Lugano and Lausanne also featuring prominently. Zurich, the country’s largest city and its financial centre, is home to the majority of leading banking and capital markets lawyers. Geneva, in the French-speaking west, is the location of choice for many international organisations for arbitration and litigation.

Switzerland’s banking and private client markets were rocked in August 2013 by a joint statement issued by the Swiss Federal Department of Finance and the US Department of Justice regarding a programme to encourage Swiss banks to co-operate in DoJ’s ongoing investigation into the use of foreign bank accounts for tax evasion.

Language barriers between the German-speaking east of the country, the Francophone west and the Italian-speaking area in the south shape the legal landscape, and mean that most of the national law firms have several offices across the different regions.

Geneva-based firm Lalive opened an office in Zurich and hired two well-known partners from Walder Wyss Ltd, while the latter firm opened a new office in Lugano. Both firms are part of a well-established group of national players which includes Baker & McKenzie, Bär & Karrer AG, Homburger, Lenz & Staehelin, Niederer Kraft & Frey AG and Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd. CMS now has an office in Geneva as well as Zurich following its merger in January 2014 with ZPG Avocats.

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.