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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Switzerland > Dispute resolution > Litigation > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Dispute resolution: litigation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Bär & Karrer Ltd. has ‘broad experience in a wide range of litigation cases and regulatory proceedings, especially in relation to white-collar crime’. Another focus is M&A and banking litigation, as well as private client disputes. In a recent highlight, the team defended EnBW in a dispute brought by H.G. Kiss regarding the valuation of the minority shareholding in Kiss’s Thermoselect which EnBW had acquired in the 1990s. Novartis and UBS are other active clients. Andreas Länzlinger is noted for his expertise concerning international matters, for which he ‘comes up with concise, pragmatic and specifically tailored advice’. Also recommended are ‘pragmatic litigatorDaniel Hochstrasser, head of litigation Matthew Reiter and associate Cinzia Catelli. Saverio Lembo is the main contact in Geneva.

Top Swiss law firmHomburger provides a ‘very high level of service’, especially for private companies in the regulated industries regarding commercial, employment, insurance, white-collar crime and data protection disputes. Recent highlights include representing Alpiq in civil and administrative proceedings related to statutory and contractual pre-emption rights on shares in Swissgrid. Zurich Insurance and Ericsson are other key clients. The ‘knowledgable, professional and pleasant-to-work-withBalz Gross took over the dispute resolution lead from commercial litigator Felix Dasser.

Lenz & Staehelin is ‘top notch’ in litigation and delivers ‘first-rate quality and fully reliable advice’. A special focus lies on financial services and corporate litigation, while clients also increasingly seek assistance with employment, real estate, private client and IP disputes. The Zurich team around Harold Frey is representing Sika in a proceeding against shareholder Schenker-Winkler regarding the client’s planned takeover by Saint-Gobain, which brought up share transfer issues. Julius Bär and Valartis are also active clients. In Geneva, team lead Daniel Tunik is recommended along criminal law litigator Miguel Oural and private client experts Mark Barmes and Lucien Masmejan.

Well-positioned in the market’, Niederer Kraft Frey’s ‘dedicated lawyers are easy to work with, cooperate efficiently’ and make ‘excellent use of internal resources outside of their specific department’. The team acts for banks, car manufacturers, sports organisations, insurers, construction companies and fashion retailers and 2017 highlights included the representation of UBS in a high-value, international dispute with the Riva family concerning the management of the latter’s assets. In other work, the group represented BMW in proceedings regarding the client´s CHF 156m vertical restrictions fine imposed by the Swiss Competition Commission. The ‘pragmatic and tacticalDaniel Eisele is recommended together with the ‘highly capableTamir Livschitz. Valerie Meyer Bahar is ‘extremely responsive and provides actionable advice’ and on associate level, the ‘talented’ Anja Vogt and Livia Keller stand out.

Very experienced and reliable firmPestalozzihas the advantage of being smaller in size and a higher chance of partner involvement’. The historical focus lies on commodity businesses, banking disputes and criminal investigations. Ongoing highlights are the representation of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the city of Almaty in global investigations, civil court litigation and asset recovery, as well as representing First International Bank of Israel in loan recovery and avoidance claims against several foreign companies. The ‘diligent and responsiveThomas Rohner in Zurich and ‘great negotiatorChristophe Emonet in Geneva are recommended. Head of the Zurich practice Michael Kramer is another name to note.

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd’s team ‘has built up a reputation of excellence in litigation’, is ‘very responsive and easy to work with’ and ‘has a good grasp of problems that go beyond Swiss law’. The group is particularly strong in banking, white-collar crime, post-M&A and commercial litigation and recently defended Gazprom Neft against a CHF80m corporate liability claim brought by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Another highlight is the defence of a Swiss bank against damages claims related to alleged money laundering activities. Peter Burckhardt is ‘outstanding in every respect’, while co-lead Christian Girodimpresses with his excellent litigation skills’. Also recommended are white-collar crime experts Vincent Jeanneret and Benjamin Borsodi, as well as ‘creative strategistManuel Liatowitsch and the ‘hands-on and thoroughBlaise Stucki. Louis Burrus is ‘highly responsive and efficient’, ‘excellent lawyerStefan Leimgruber has ‘great social skills’ and ‘quick strategic thinkerUrs Hoffmann-Nowotny made partner in January 2017.

Walder Wyss Ltd‘s ‘outstanding’ team ‘matches rigor with elegance’, is ‘responsive and eager to work for the client’ and excels in commercial litigation, particularly in the construction, engineering and infrastructure sector. Highlights included representing Sartus Capital in several contractual disputes. Nestlé is another key client. Dieter Hofmann in Zurich heads the practice, which was strengthened by the arrival of the ‘thorough and strategic’ Rodolphe Gautier from Baker McKenzie in July 2017.

CMS provides ‘quality advice with very high responsiveness’ in banking, insurance, construction, white-collar crime and sports disputes and is also recommended as a ‘solid law firm for dispute resolution in commercial and employment law and enforcement cases’. The team acts for a Norwegian company in an ongoing enforcement proceeding against the owner of an offshore company. The client roster also includes AXA Leben and Atos. ‘Experienced trial lawyerDamiano Brusa has ‘a good feel for strategic questions’, while real estate expert Stefan Gerster is ‘very solution-oriented’. Further recommended are the ‘highly capable, organised and fast’ Jodok Wicki and the ‘professional and convincingPhilipp Dickenmann.

Lalive provides ‘a heavy-weight contentious offering’, including a ‘specialisation in white-collar crime’. The team also exhibits strength in banking, commercial, private client, energy, real estate, employment and IP disputes and recently represented the Lybian Investment Authority in a $58m asset recovery case against Société Générale. Other work included representing the head of a Middle Eastern group against multijurisdictional fraud claims worth $9bn. The ‘knowledgeable and well-respectedMarc Henzelin, who jointly leads the practice with Alexander Troller, the ‘attentive, accurate and conciseSandrine Giroud and ‘commercially astute’ counsel Sonja Maeder Morvant are recommended. Matthias Gstoehl joined the Zurich office from Nater Dallafior Rechtsanwälte AG.

Vischer has an ‘excellent in-depth litigation team’, which ‘acts quickly through collaboration’ and focuses on the transport and freight forwarding industries, as well as the financial services, insurance and TMT sectors. In a recent highlight, the group advised Pirelli Tyre and Banque Cantonale Vaudoise on the enforcement of a judgement against a former board member of a debtor company. ‘Strategic thinkerChristian Oetiker is recommended for his ‘strength in banking, finance and bankruptcy litigation’, while Thomas Weibel is ‘a very reputed and successful estate and succession litigator’.

Baker McKenzie focuses on multi-party and white-collar crime litigation, especially in relation to trusts, inheritance, finance, energy, infrastructure and corporate issues. The practice represented an Austrian logistics and postal services company in a dispute against three Turkish individuals related to a call option agreement and a Taiwanese pharmaceutical company in a cross-border fraud litigation against Swiss individuals. Alessandro Celli joined from Froriep in October 2016, while Beat Mathys and Florian Bommer founded BommerMathys Rechtsanwälte and Rodolphe Gautier left for Walder Wyss.

No-nonsense firmFroriep delivers ‘first-class service in an extremely responsive manner’, with a coverage of criminal, insolvency, environmental, commercial, corporate, banking, tax, sports and transport litigation. The Environmental, Transport and Agricultural Department within the State of Geneva received support in a railway construction dispute which raised pollution and remediation issues. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Abbott Pharmaceuticals and Groupon are other active clients. The ‘highly professional and solution-oriented’ Isabelle Romy is ‘very experienced in environmental legal issues and international litigation’, while ‘consummate professionalAlain Grosinspires confidence and gets results’. Alessandro Celli joined Baker McKenzie.

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd (MLL)always provides swift, appropriate and solution-focused responses’ and adopts a ‘professional, yet personal approach’. The practice is active in the banking, corporate and pharmaceutical sectors, representing industry heavyweights such as Bayer Pharma, AstraZeneca, Migros and Credit Suisse. With Léonard Stoyanov and Geneva team lead Bernard Lachenal, clients ‘are in best hands’ and can ‘count on the reliable team in every situation’. Further recommended is Simon Holzer, who is appreciated for his ‘knowledge, availability and hard work’. Marcel Lustenberger heads the Zurich team.

Boutique firm Nater Dallafior Rechtsanwälte AG is ‘well positioned to provide dispute resolution services against insurance companies’ and offers ‘very good response times’. Another big focus is banking and finance litigation, including enforcement matters, while the team also has experience in IP, TMT, employment, competition, inheritance and sports disputes. The practice defended Bombardier in a public procurement litigation brought by Stadler Rail and Siemens related to the new Zurich tram. ‘Skilled, respected and knowledgeable’ partners Roberto Dallafior and Patrik Salzmann are especially recommended for their knowledge in banking and domestic tax cases. Insurance litigator Roland Bachmann is another name to note. Manuel Arroyo joined from Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd (MLL) in 2017, while Matthias Gstoehl left for Lalive.

Wenger & Vielihas a very pragmatic, cost-sensitive approach’ and ‘provides high-value services’. The group predominantly focuses on litigious banking, commercial and white-collar crime matters, but the service offering also includes expertise in contentious liability, employment and private client matters. Head of litigation Marco Cereghettiworks fast and exact’. Peter Altorfer, Michael Huber and Michael Mráz are other notable practitioners.

BianchiSchwald LLC is particulary adept at advising on white-collar crime matters, but exhibits additional expertise in employment, real estate, banking, media and corporate litigation. Jean-Marc Carnice specialises in white-collar crime, while Thierry Amy provides advice on contentious banking and finance, as well as real estate matters. Stéphanie Fuld is the key contact for employment disputes.

Bratschi Ltd has a ‘very committed, understanding and available team’ that focuses on commercial and banking litigation. The practice defended a telecommunication company against a CHF8m breach of contract claim. The ‘brilliant and straight-to-the-point’ Sandra de Vito is a ‘team player and understands the balance between cost and the requested results’. Mirco Ceregato, Daniel Glasl, Lukas Wyss and Thierry Augsburger are other key practitioners.

Buis Bürgi AG has longstanding experience in representing clients against Swiss banks as well as in post-M&A, trust, shareholder, employment and liability disputes. The team also handles white-collar crime cases. Eric Buis and Paul Bürgi are supported by eight associates.

From its offices in Basel and Zurich, Burckhardt Ltd. covers financial services, employment, trust and inheritance disputes. Recent highlights include the representation of an Egypian resident in a contractual dispute against a Swiss bank, as well as the defence of various state hospitals and private clinics in clinical negligence cases regarding childbirth, living organ donations and medically assisted reproduction. Piera Beretta, Regula Hinderling, Gudrun Österreicher and Ramon Mabillard are the main partners.

Eversheds Sutherland AG impresses with ‘excellent services’, ‘adequate response times, very deep industry knowledge and precise, high-quality work’. The team is especially recommended for major personal injury and product liability claims, while disputes in the telecoms, construction, banking, pharmaceutical and energy sectors are other areas of expertise. Sportfive, Louis Dreyfus and Tyco are active clients. Barbara Klett and Peter Haas are ‘very reliable and experienced’. Commercial litigator Claudius Triebold heads the practice.

FBT Attorneys-at-Law’s litigation team is ‘very responsive and quick’ and its ‘pro-activity makes it stand out’. Litigation on behalf of banks, as well as tax, corporate, criminal, competition and transport disputes are the key areas of expertise. A recent highlight is the representation of a trading and shipping company in a contentious distribution matter regarding the supply of liquefied petroleum gas to an African country. Serge Fasel and Michael Biot are recommended.

Jacquemoud Stanislas handles liability, shareholder, contractual, competition, criminal and transport disputes. Recent highlights include defending a major pharmaceutical company against product liability claims related to the client´s medication´s patient information leaflets. Guy Stanislas and Marc Balavoine are the key partners.

Kellerhals Carrard focuses on commercial and corporate litigation. The team represented a Swiss company in an insurance dispute related to the coverage of a turbine breakdown in an industrial plant in South America. Peter Schatz, Andreas Güngerich, Lukas Bopp and Nicolas Gillard head the team.

Mangeat Attorneys at Law LLC‘s ‘client-oriented’ team is ‘a rising player in the market’ that provides ‘impressive white-collar crime and cross-border expertise’, particularly in criminal matters pertaining to medical and professional negligence. The group is defending an art dealer against a hidden commission claim brought by a former client. ‘Strategic and impressive litigatorGrégoire Mangeatthinks and acts off the beaten path’, while maintaining a ‘clear, straightforward and entrepreneurial style’. On associate level, clients recommend ‘precise and punctual’ employment litigator Sara Dousset and Fanny Margairaz, who has an ‘outside-the-box legal approach’. Ramon Rodriguez joined the team from R&R Avocats in July 2017.

Prager Dreifuss AG handles commercial and banking litigation, insurance claims and debt collection cases. The practice is representing KTS in an ongoing bankruptcy litigation worth CHF640m against Lehman Brothers Finance. Daniel Hayek is ‘very client-focused, excellently masters the details of his cases and works really hard to get the best possible outcome for his clients’. Urs Feller heads the practice.

Python is well versed in international insurance claims, white-collar crime, energy, construction, technology, sponsorship and general commercial disputes. Dominique Henchoz, Homayoon Arfazadeh, Marc Joory, François Micheli and Philippe Ciocca are the key individuals.

Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd has ‘strong expertise in banking litigation’, but also provides ‘good value’ advice on contentious commercial matters. The team successfully defended Swiss Climate Cent Foundation against a clawback action brought by liquidators of PMAG related to the payment of the Klimarappen. The client roster also includes Centralschweizerische Kraftwerke and ThyssenKrupp Aufzüge. Philipp Känzig ‘sees the bigger picture’ and Marc Bernheim is ‘calm and focused’.

Thouvenin Rechtsanwälte’s litigation team consists of ‘brilliant minds’ who deliver ‘well thought-through advice in a punctual manner’. The main focus lies on banking, tax and estate litigation, as well as commercial, construction, distribution and competition disputes. In a recent highlight, the group defended a real estate developer against a deception of price claim brought by the buyer of a hospitality property. Patrick Rohnis very much in control of the proceedings’; Daniel Stoll and Michael Bösch are other names to note.

Wenger Plattner advises on the full spectrum of contentious corporate, banking, trade, real estate, construction, inheritance, labour, insurance and IP issues. The team recently defended a former boarder member of a medium-sized company in a director’s liability claim. Swiss Air and Petroplus are also active clients. The recommended Dieter Gränicher and Stephan Kesselbach are the names to note.

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  • Bär & Karrer awarded by Mergermarket as "Switzerland M&A Legal Adviser of the Year 2018"

    At this year's Mergermarket European Awards Ceremony on 6 December 2018 in London, Bär & Karrer has been awarded as the "Switzerland M&A Legal Adviser of the Year 2018".
  • Bär & Karrer Advises the Sellers of Astes4 SA

    The owners of Astes4 SA, a company based in Balerna, Switzerland, which is engaged in development, production and sales of patented automated sorting solutions for sheet metal laser processing machines, sold their interests in the company to Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Mitsubishi Electric is active in the manufacture, marketing and sales of electrical and electronic equipment used in information processing and communications, space development and satellite communications, consumer electronics, industrial technology, energy, transportation and building equipment. By acquiring Astes4, Mitsubishi Electric will further strengthen its lineup of automation systems together with sorting solutions for sheet metal laser processing machines to provide its valued customers with integrated solutions that require less manual loading, unloading and sorting to realize higher productivity and efficiency.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Constellium on the Sale of Rolling Business Assets in Sierre, Switzerland, to

    On 23 July 2018, Constellium Valais SA, a company of the Constellium group engaged in the aluminium plate and extrusions businesses for industry, aerospace and transportation applications, successfully completed the sale of its aluminium rolling business assets in Sierre, Switzerland, to Novelis Switzerland SA for EUR 200 million. The assets, consisting of real estate, machinery and equipment, were previously leased by Constellium Valais to Novelis Switzerland and both parties will continue to operate in Sierre following the transaction. Concurrently with the asset sale, Constellium Valais contributed the Sierre site's shared infrastructure to a newly established 50-50 joint venture with Novelis Switzerland.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Bank Cler in Connection with the Public Tender Offer by Cantonal Bank of Basel

    On 20 June 2018, the Cantonal Bank of Basel, which already holds 77.52% of the share capital and the voting rights of Bank Cler Ltd., published the preannouncement for a public tender offer for all publicly held bearer shares of Bank Cler, which is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Subsequently, Bank Cler concluded a transaction agreement with the Cantonal Bank of Basel regarding the public tender offer. The Cantonal Bank of Basel offers CHF 52 per share of Bank Cler. Taking into consideration the results of the Fairness Opinion of an independent Expert, the board of directors of Bank Cler recommends to its shareholders to accept the offer.
  • Bär & Karrer Successful in Appeal Proceedings before the Federal Administrative Court Against the F

    On 11 May 2016, the French tax authorities requested administrative assistance from the Swiss Federal Tax Administration. The request was made based on lists containing several thousand UBS Switzerland AG account numbers which are or were held by persons presumed to be French residents for tax purposes. The French tax authorities were asking for Switzerland to provide names and dates of birth of the persons connected to the accounts as well as the account balances. UBS Switzerland AG (which the Federal Administrative Court ("FAC") had granted party status in its judgment A-4974/2016 of 25 October 2016) and private individuals directly affected lodged appeals with the FAC against the Federal Tax Administration’s final decisions, which were issued on 9 February 2018.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises BZ Bank on Purchase of United Grinding Group

    BZ Bank Aktiengesellschaft, through its acquisition company LEMRO AG, purchased the United Grinding Group from Körber Beteiligungen GmbH. The United Grinding Group is one of the world's leading suppliers of precision grinding machines.
  • Bär & Karrer advised PSP Swiss Property on Sale of a Commercial Property

    PSP Swiss Property sold a commercial property in Petit-Lancy, Geneva. The property at the Av. des Morgines 8/10 (approx. 14'000 m2 of rentable space) was sold for CHF 55 million to an affiliate company of Epic Suisse AG.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs in a Combined Offering on the Placement of Sha

    Idorsia Ltd successfully placed 11,912,000 new shares by way of an accelerated bookbuilding in a private placement with institutional investors. The placed shares are sourced from the company's existing authorized share capital and the pre-emptive rights of the existing shareholders have been excluded. The offer price was set at CHF 25.62 per share. Additionally, Idorsia successfully placed CHF 200 million of senior unsecured convertible bonds due 2024 in a private placement with institutional investors.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Vontobel on the Placement of CHF 450 Million Tier 1 Bonds to fund the acquisit

    Vontobel Holding AG successfully completed the placement of CHF 450 million perpetual additional tier 1 subordinated bonds. The additional tier 1 subordinated bonds were issued at 100% of their nominal amount with an interest of 2.625% until 2023. The proceeds of this capital market transaction will be mainly used to finance the acquisition of Notenstein La Roche Private Bank.
  • Bär & Karrer Advised Swiss Re in the Offering of USD 500 Million Senior Exchangeable Notes with Iss

    Swiss Re Ltd (Swiss Re) has completed an offering of USD 500 million, 6-year senior exchangeable notes, which may be stock settled at the option of Swiss Re or may be exchanged at the option of noteholders for registered shares of Swiss Re, unless Swiss Re elects to settle the exchange of notes in cash. Swiss Re has purchased call options on its own shares, which allow it to settle an exchange by noteholders without issuing new shares.