Dispute resolution: litigation in Switzerland
Full-service firm Bär & Karrer Ltd. stands out for its 'in-depth know-how and pragmatic legal advice', as well as its 'experience in complex international cases and good relationships with other relevant entities'. The ten-partner team is best known for M&A, private client, intellectual property, IT litigation and white-collar criminal law matters. In a pending matter before the Swiss Supreme Court, Pierre-Yves Gunter and Aurélie Conrad Hari are instructed by Omea to enforce an award against the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in order to secure a payment of more than €95m, while Matthew T Reiter represented an industrial company in a successful appeal proceeding before the Zurich Superior Court concerning profit margins related to a share purchase agreement. 'Excellent outside-the-box thinker' Andreas Länzlinger acts for an insurance carrier as respondent to the insured in a proceeding regarding alleged claims under a professional indemnity insurance policy. Saverio Lembo is a key partner in Geneva.
The 'pragmatic and knowledgeable' team at Homburger impresses with its 'good bi-lingual capability, sound commercial judgement and goal-oriented approach'. With many blue-chip companies among its client base, the litigation practice covers disputes for the regulated industries and further specialises in M&A, as well as commercial-, finance- and fraud-related proceedings. Balz Gross and Claudio Bazzani represent the liquidators of a Ukrainian and Cypriot company in criminal proceedings regarding embezzlement against the company's former owners, while 'experienced procedural lawyer' Felix Dasser has the litigation lead for Swatch Group's negative declaratory relief claim against an English company concerning Swatch's global spare-parts distribution system. Clients also recommend Gabrielle Nater-Bass, Roman Richers and counsel Julian Schwaller, who 'go out of their way to assist during cases'.
Lenz & Staehelin's strengths in litigation include banking and finance, liability claims, white-collar crime, shareholder and post-M&A litigation, inheritance disputes, employment claims, as well as contentious intellectual property and real estate matters. In 2018, Harold Frey and Dominique Müller reached a settlement for client Sika, the Burkard family and Saint-Gobain concerning the €1.8bn dispute over the attempted sale of the family's stake to Saint-Gobain, terminating all proceedings and maintaining Sika's status as an independent company. Frey acts for respondent Bank Julius Bär in ongoing monetary claim proceedings against the German government body BvS (Federal Institute for Special Tasks Arising from Unification). Daniel Tunik heads the team in Geneva.
'A leading force in the Swiss market', the 'outstanding litigation practice' at Niederer Kraft Frey AG 'consists of very experienced and highly professional lawyers who are results-oriented and committed to winning', handling 'complex cases with international dimensions'. The client base includes banks, technology, construction and fashion companies, as well as sports organisations, automotive manufacturers and insurers. 'Cross-border expert' Peter Honegger acted for UBS, which held assets worth €1.5bn for an Italian family that faced criminal charges concerning public safety on an Ilva steel plant. Honegger is also representing Fifa, alongside 'exceptional tactician' Daniel Eisele and 'stellar advocate' Tamir Livschitz, in its widely reported global corruption case. Also recommended are Valerie Meyer Bahar and Ernst F Schmid, who achieved a settlement for Bill and Melinda Gates as minority shareholders in a dispute concerning the hostile takeover attempt by Saint-Gobain initiated by the majority shareholder of Sika. Commercial dispute attorney Brigitte Knecht was promoted to counsel in January 2019.
Pestalozzi has 'deep-bench expertise around the Swiss court system'. The team is most experienced in the commodities and financial sectors, as well as post-M&A and white-collar crime cases. 'Top practitioner' Christophe Emonet 'deeply cares about his clients' and is representing the Republic of Kazakhstan and the City of Almaty in multi-jurisdictional investigations, global recovery actions and civil disputes against former public agent Viktor Khrapunov. Commercial litigator Michael Kramer, who is based in Zurich, is another core practitioner. Thomas Rohner, Laurent Killias, Florian Mohs and Beat Mumenthaler are other names to note.
The 'strong and competent team' at Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd 'demonstrates a very high degree of expertise, professionalism, pro-activity and responsiveness'. Commercial and banking disputes form the key areas of experience, in addition to white-collar crime litigation and internal investigations. Peter Burckhardt represents Volkswagen in a class-action matter concerning damage claims connected to the diesel scandal brought by 6,000 car owners, while 'excellent white-collar crime litigator' Vincent Jeanneret acted for Credit Suisse in a criminal proceeding involving a $150m asset diversion against a former employee. George Ayoub and Clara Poglia in Geneva were promoted to the partnership in January 2019. 'Strategic thinker and very good negotiator' Urs Hoffmann-Nowotny is recommended for his knowledge in multi-jurisdictional banking litigations and currently represents Centrum Beratungs- und Beteiligungen in a claim against other Swiss banks concerning issues with effecting payment transactions. Martin Bernet left to establish Bernet Arbitration / Dispute management in 2018. Stefan Leimgruber has particular expertise in banking and post-M&A litigation. Louis Burrus has considerable expertise in financial services sector disputes. Manuel Liatowitsch is also noted.
With multiple offices in every region of Switzerland, Walder Wyss Ltd focuses on commercial litigation, the enforcement of foreign judgement, as well as infrastructure, construction, engineering, banking, post-M&A and shareholder disputes. Team lead Dieter Hofmann is representing Eurobank Ergasias in its asset recovery claim against one of its former managers, who was charged with embezzlement via unsecured loans. Counsel Urs Schenker acted for the Burkard family in the £2.5bn dispute over the Sika takeover and the sale of a controlling stake in the company to Saint-Gobain. Michael Buhler and Oliver Kunz are other names to note in Zurich, while Rodolphe Gautier is the key partner in Geneva.
CMS's 'skilled and motivated lawyers' are renowned for their 'intelligent, client-oriented services, clear strategic focus and constructive negotiation'. Apart from a general focus on commercial disputes, the practice further handles banking, corporate, construction, sports, insurance, as well as trust and estate litigation. Geneva partner Christian Lüscher represented art shipper and dealer Yves Bouvier as respondent in a $1bn fraud claim by Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. 'Highly capable and structured' Zurich managing partner Jodok Wicki was instructed by AIG Europe to act as defence counsel in a D&O policy coverage dispute against the SEC Securities and Exchange Commission, while Philipp J Dickenmann assisted a Norwegian company with an award enforcement in Switzerland against its debtor, the owner of an offshore company. Philippe Grumbach, Olivier Carrard and Damiano Brusa are other key names. Niklaus Zaugg made partner in January 2018. Counsel Aline Wey Speirs and Aileen Truttmann are also recommended.
'Top international firm' LALIVE is 'very client-oriented, prompt and precise, having a tight grip on the issues involved and offering forward-thinking solutions'. Covering civil and criminal litigation, the ten-partner team focuses especially on commercial, private client, banking and white-collar crime disputes, while also engaging in contentious matters from the employment, real estate and intellectual property fields. In headline work, 'outstanding white-collar crime litigator' Marc Henzelin, 'highly experienced and knowledgeable' Sandrine Giroud, 'good listener' Matthias Gstoehl and Simone Nadelhofer are acting for Latin American government in an asset tracing and recovery investigation worth $1bn, involving over a hundred civil litigation cases against multiple Swiss banks, fiduciaries, companies and individuals. Alexander Troller represents an ultra-high-net-worth individual as defendant against $400m-worth of damages claims brought by a former alleged partner. André Brunschweiler was promoted to the partnership in January 2018.
VISCHER's 'thorough' dispute resolution practice has 'in-depth knowledge and outstanding legal expertise, combined with a practical, result-oriented approach'. The main areas of focus include commercial attachment, enforcement and injunctive relief proceedings, and it also has considerable experience in the transportation, insurance, IT and telecoms sectors. The 'patient and capable' Christian Oetiker is representing Pricewaterhouse Coopers as liquidators of Lehman Brothers in proceedings against the claimant, the Italian pension fund Fondazione Enasarco. 'Excellent strategist' Daniele Favalli and 'dedicated analyst' Thomas Gelzer are also recommended. Thomas Weibel leads the team.
'One of the top law firms in litigation', Baker McKenzie houses 'a very available and responsive team that anticipates the clients' needs and is very involved in every case'. The Zurich office is best known for distribution, agency, licensing, competition and inheritance disputes, while Geneva mostly handles contentious financial, post-M&A, energy and sports matters. 'Innovative and dedicated' Luca Beffa and 'stand-out litigator' Anne-Catherine Hahn are recommended.
Froriep offers representation in civil, white-collar crime and liability proceedings. Focus areas include banking, corporate and commercial, construction, insurance and sports. Isabelle Romy acted for the Department of Environment, Transport and Agriculture of Geneva in a proceeding concerning the remediation of a polluted site related to the construction of the Ceva railway connection. Lucien W Valloni acted for football player Ezequel Matia Schelotto in a Supreme Court dispute against his former agent concerning his transfer to FC Internazionale Milan. Alain Gros and Marcel C Steinegger are other names to note.
Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd (MLL) 's 'efficient and dedicated team is very strong in dealing with complex, multi-jurisdictional litigation cases', particularly in the banking, pharmaceutical and corporate sectors. A recent highlight was the representation of Gilead in nullity actions against Mepha Pharma involving tenofovir patents and SPCs. Clients recommend 'responsive, efficient and solution-oriented' banking litigator Léonard Stoyanov and 'reliable, clever negotiator' Walter Häberling, who has 'wide-ranging experience in real estate and tenancy matters'. Marcel Lustenberger and Bernard Lachenal are the practice heads.
'Highly specialised and reputable boutique law firm' Nater Dallafior Rechtsanwälte AG 'is ahead of competitors in terms of quality, efficiency and client focus', providing 'in-depth analysis and forward-thinking solutions'. The team is especially renowned for handling contentious matters in banking, finance and intellectual property, while also being active in corporate and commercial, insurance, employment, criminal and sports litigation. Practice lead Roberto Dallafior, Patrik Salzmann and the 'multilingual' Manuel Arroyo are recommended.
Wenger & Vieli LTD's team includes 'excellent litigators handling high-profile cases', such as liability, pharmaceutical, banking, insurance, private client and employment disputes. Marco Cereghetti leads the team, while 'diligent and detail-oriented' Nicolas Bracher is also noted. The practice also includes banking litigator Peter Altorfer, as well as corporate and financial specialists Bignia Vieli and Philipp Lindenmayer.
BianchiSchwald LLC's 'outstanding litigation team' comprises 'very hands-on and pragmatic practitioners', who 'speak the same language as entrepreneurs' and 'understand the importance of pro-active, sound and thoughtful legal advice'. A major strength is the handling of domestic and international white-collar crime matters for banking and asset management firms, in addition to employment, real estate and corporate litigation. 'Sharp legal mind' and 'always available' managing associate Cyrill Süess, who is recommended as an 'expert in civil proceedings', represented a Swiss abbey in the re-negotiation of contracts with a local cable car company and in opposing the cable car company's plans to merge with a third party; the matter was settled outside of court. The 'outstanding' Christoph Gasser successfully acted for Navita Schweiz as defendant in a trade mark dispute initiated by its former suppliers Reico Vital Systeme. At associate level, 'knowledgeable and skilled negotiator' Adrian Trutmann and 'customer-focused' Philippe Vladimir Boss are recommended. White-collar criminal law specialist Jean-Marc Carnicé heads the practice.
The 'vastly experienced' team at Bratschi Ltd is 'very committed' and impresses with its 'team player spirit and innovative approach to finding solutions'. Daniel Glasl handles commercial and media litigation, while his practice co-lead Mirco Ceregato specialises in banking and cross-border disputes. Recent highlights include the representation of an entrepreneur in his libel claim against a media house. 'Smart and accessible' Sandra De Vito Bieri is recommended alongside 'straightforward and focused' Kurt Blickenstorfer.
Basel-based firm burckhardt Ltd covers a range of international disputes, including banking, medical negligence, inheritance and transport. Practice head Piera Beretta continues to represent an Egyptian resident in a $400m forex manipulation dispute against a Swiss bank, while Ramon Mabillard acts for a logistics company in its CHF3m claim against an oil refining company in liquidation. Regula Hinderling and Gudrun Österreicher cover employment-related litigation.
Eversheds Sutherland AG's partners are recommended for being 'time-conscious and responsive, as well as good listeners'. With qualifications in both Swiss and English law, the litigators are experienced in banking, telecoms and IT, commodities, engineering, real estate and construction, as well as white-collar criminal law matters. Global head of dispute resolution, the 'experienced and creative' Dr Claudius Triebold, is one of the seven key partners. Monika McQuillen, Peter Haas and Barbara Klett are also singled out by clients. James Hargrove left for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in February 2018.
FBT Attorneys-at-Law is best known for its experience in Swiss and international banking litigation, while also covering the commercial, insolvency, employment, insurance, real estate and criminal practice areas. In a new highlight, Michael Biot represents several investors in their civil and criminal claims concerning the alleged Ponzi scheme of an asset management company. Serge Fasel continues to act for a Swiss bank in the recovery of amounts paid as taxes on the assets of British customers.
'Well known and experienced commercial litigation firm' Kellerhals Carrard displays 'a clear, partner-managed and aggressive approach in court'. The sizeable team is active in litigation related to corporate and commercial matters, insolvency proceedings and post-M&A disputes throughout Switzerland. Co-lead Andreas Guengerich is acting for a Swiss architects firm in its additional compensation claim against a city due to modifications applied during the construction of a new theatre, while his 'pleasant, professional and competent' counterpart Lukas Bopp supported the insolvent Banque Privée Espirito Santo in a voidance action concerning a payment made during liquidity. Clients also recommend the 'very experienced and commercially knowledgeable' Peter Schatz. Lugano-based Ivan Paparelli and François Roger Micheli, who joined the new Geneva office from Python in January 2019, are other names to note. Life sciences, internal compliance and corruption specialist Claudia Götz was a new arrival from Novartis in October 2018.
Best known for white-collar criminal law advice and international mutual legal assistance, Mangeat Attorneys at Law LLC's team also handles contractual, banking, private client, medical and insolvency disputes. Grégoire Mangeat leads the defence of the president of the Paris Saint-Germain football club in a criminal proceeding concerning unfair advantages in relation to granting media rights for upcoming Fifa World Cups to Middle Eastern and North African countries. Ramon Rodriguez specialises in contentious banking and art matters.
Prager Dreifuss AG impresses with its 'responsiveness and very good knowledge of fraud, asset recovery, enforcement and data protection matters'. The range of services includes commercial, insurance and bankruptcy litigation. Daniel Hayek is acting for Mare Finance Investment in the enforcement of an ICSID arbitration award against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela concerning an asset tracing matter. Practice head Urs Feller is 'a calm, detailed and unflappable thinker' and Marcel Frey is 'dedicated and enthusiastic'.
The unique focus areas of Python's litigation team include London-based private insurance claims involving Swiss banks and fund managers, international inheritance disputes, as well as various commercial, insolvency-related and criminal proceedings. Dominique Henchoz and Homayoon Arfazadeh are the practice heads, while banking litigator Nicolas de Gottrau and administrative law expert Philippe Ciocca are additional key contacts.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Schweiz) GmbH
'Large US firm' Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Schweiz) GmbH houses 'a top-notch practice' that stands out for its 'results-oriented' approach and 'focus and clear achievement of clients' objectives'. It is especially recommended for its 'depth of expertise in financial litigation', where it frequently acts against global money centre banks, and 'ability in high-stakes negotiations', but also engages in M&A and shareholder disputes, criminal investigations, as well as contentious sports, pharmaceutical, life sciences and entertainment matters. Swiss and US-qualified 'stellar operator' Thomas Werlen is acting for EFG International in a cross-border litigation and regulatory investigation matter against several parties, including a Taiwanese insurer.
Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd handles commercial litigation in the financial and industrial sectors, as well as criminal and fraud cases. Philipp Känzig is representing a fashion department store chain in a tenancy dispute against the new owner, who terminated the client's tenancy after acquiring the building. Insolvency and restructuring specialist Marc Bernheim and commercial litigator Jonas Stüssi are also key partners in the team.
Thouvenin Rechtsanwälte is 'well-established' in the space and provides an 'excellent and timely service for clients in the banking industry' and further handles estate, tax and commercial disputes. 'Exceptional analyst and tactician' Patrick Rohn represents a British hospitality company in a commercial dispute concerning the control over a Swiss holding company against its former joint venture partners, while 'excellent succession planning and family governance lawyer' Daniel Stoll acted for three members of a Swiss ultra-high-net-worth family in a dispute concerning the division of their late father's estate.
The client base of Zurich- and Basel-based firm Wenger Plattner features companies, public-law entities and private persons who require legal assistance in corporate, commercial and insolvency-related disputes, as well as banking, transport, insurance, intellectual property and real estate litigation. Team lead Stephan Kesselbach is involved in contentious proceedings concerning the insolvencies of clients Banque Hottinger & Cie, Petroplus Marketing and SwissAir. The team also includes of counsel Werner Wenger and commercial litigator Roland Bachmann, who joined from Nater Dallafior Rechtsanwälte AG in November 2018.