Leading firms: French-speaking Switzerland in Switzerland

Lenz & Staehelin

Lenz & Staehelin has an excellent reputation for its practice in Geneva and Lausanne. Team members have extensive experience in advising large clients on banking and finance; private and public M&A; dispute resolution and sports law. Leading practitioners are Shelby Du Pasquier, François Rayroux, Xavier Favre-Bulle, Benoît MerktAndreas Rötheli and Olivier Stahler as well as Lucien Masmejan and Jean-Blaise Eckert.

Other key lawyers:

Shelby Du Pasquier; François Rayroux; Xavier Favre-Bulle; Benoît Merkt; Andreas Rötheli; Olivier Stahler; Lucien Masmejan; Jean-Blaise Eckert

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd's teams stand out for being 'creative, sharp, and perfectly managed'. The core pillars of the Geneva office are dispute resolution, namely litigation and international arbitration as well as investigations and white-collar criminal law, areas of focus for Philippe BärtschLouis BurrusBenjamin Borsodi and Paul Gully-Hart; banking and finance, where Caroline ClemetsonTarek Houdrouge and Grégoire Wuest are key names; real estate and construction, where Yves Jeanrenaud specialises; and corporate and M&A, which is the focus of Christoph Vonlanthen.

Practice head(s):

Philippe Bärtsch; Caroline Clemetson

Other key lawyers:

Louis Burrus; Benjamin Borsodi; Paul Gully-Hart; Tarek Houdrouge; Grégoire Wuest; Yves Jeanrenaud; Christoph Vonlanthen; Clara Poglia; George Ayoub; Charles Goumaz

Testimonials

‘This team of lawyers is among the brightest not only in Geneva but on the whole Swiss legal market. Their professional excellence, devotion to clients, availability and thinking out of the box approach make them by far the best among their peers.’

‘Excellent expertise with active senior involvement. Strategic thinking and among few top arbitration practices in Switzerland with capabilities in German, French, and English.’

‘Former prosecutors and strong knowledge of criminal and regulatory enforcement compliance matters bolstered by significant litigation expertise allowing for efficient cross-border advice and domestic representation. Difficult to find combined leading expertise in both litigation and white-collar matters from within Switzerland. Excellent language skills and command of legal English.’

‘Benjamin Borsodi -Strong command of the law and process. Always responsive and insightful. Easy to work with.’

‘Skilled/pragmatic approach/available upon short notice’

‘Available any time. Impeccable and quick analysis’

‘Competent, efficient and sense of fairness to avoid into going into a long and costly procedure.’

‘Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd gathers the advantages of a large firm, is it very well recognized and respected in the segment, without lacking in agility and technical quality From our perspective, the firm has expertise in a wide range of legal needs.’

‘Reactivity – always on time – deadline respected.’

‘Creative, sharp, and perfectly managed team. The level of expertise of all involved is amazing starting from junior associates to partners.’

‘Schellenberg Wittmer is a truly star team. They are very dedicated to the matter.’

‘They are very accessible and easy to work with. Their management of cases that involve a lot of jurisdictions is excellent.’

‘Benjamin Borsodi is very experienced. He has a wide network of lawyers around the world and knows the dos and don’ts in many jurisdictions. He is therefore easy to work with.’

‘Dedicated to the clients’ wishes, very knowledgeable on the litigation processes and mechanics, very pragmatic ideas and very reactive which is a key to success. ’

‘The team has always been great. They have been reactive, flexible, supportive, kind and always delivered the promised work on time. Top class.’

‘Tarek Houdrouge demonstrates in-depth knowledge of the various legal aspects. Additionally during all our collaboration, Mr. Tarek Houdrouge was able to anticipate my future requests and manage proactively the various complex issues that we faced.’

‘Mr. Houdrouge has wonderful values and he’s always 100% dedicated. He’s also an excellent communicator and he has a brilliant strategic vision. Mr. Houdrouge is the best all-round lawyer with whom I had the chance to work with: Excellent in-depth legal knowledge in all the specific banking topics with always practical oriented advices and he’s also an outstanding communicator / “relationship manager”.’

‘Paul Gully-Hart is a leading practitioner in the white collar arena for corporations and individuals, an excellent designer of the strategy of defense for complex white collar crime with transnational elements.’

‘The white-collar crime team in Geneva is on top of all legal and strategic questions and is able to give the sharpest advice at all times. The team members are always very well prepared and have an excellent ability to work under pressure.’

‘They are extremely dedicated and willing to fight for their clients. One always feels welcome and taken care of. They also have a healthy sense of humour and are easily accessible. They are very experienced in what they do and always willing and able to provide excellent results.’

Key clients

Banco Santander

BNP Paribas

Celgene

Crédit Agricole

Deutsche Bank SA

EFG Bank

Gunvor Group

HSBC Private Bank (Suisse)

Mirabaud & Cie

Philipp Morris International

Russian Olympic Athletes

Uber

UBS

Volkswagen

GUPC SA

Crypto Fund AG

Hugo Fund Services

AddLife

Bouygues Construction

RAM Active Investments

BNP Paribas (Paris, France)

SET Ventures (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

Teradyne Inc.

Bordie & Cie

Credit Suisse Funds Ltd

UBP

UBS SA

CACEIS

Landolt Investment SICAV

Rhone Trust

NBK Banque Privée (Suisse) SA

Alpian SA

Work highlights

  • Representing the Russian Anti-Doping Agency against the World Anti-Doping Agency before the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).
  • Representing the Czech Republic which had fallen victim to major fraud in the context of the privatisation of a state-owned company at the end of the 1990s.
  • Advising Banco Santander International SA on the implementation of the Financial Services Act.

Bär & Karrer Ltd.

Bär & Karrer Ltd. is well positioned in dispute resolution mandates with practitioners including Saverio LemboAlexandra JohnsonAurélie Conrad Hari and Pierre-Yves Gunter. Also noted are Frédéric BétriseyCédric Chapuis and Martin Anderson, who handle M&A, regulatory, insolvency, and banking and finance matters for national and international clients. The team can also support in investigations and white-collar criminal law; Andrew Garbarski is a key contact here.

Practice head(s):

Cédric Chapuis; Frédéric Bétrisey

Other key lawyers:

Saverio Lembo; Alexandra Johnson; Aurélie Conrad Hari; Pierre-Yves Gunter; Martin Anderson; Andrew Garbarski

Testimonials

‘Great law firm, very responsive, 1A quality, excellent network and great contacts to the supervisory authorities, well-educated team.’

‘Andrew Garbarski is are very well educated lawyer with an excellent knowledge in criminal and civil procedure law.’

Key clients

UBS

Credit Suisse

Novartis

Alcon Pharmaceuticals

Banque Cantonale de Genève

Mercuria Energy Trading

Intesa

Standard Chartered

Calibra Inc.

Libra Association

Republic and Canton of Geneva

Work highlights

  • Assisted the Banque Cantonale de Genève with the successful completion of the placement of CHF135m perpetual additional tier 1 subordinated bonds.
  • Acting as legal adviser to Libra Association on its pursuit to create a new DLT-based payment system and financial infrastructure.
  • Appointed by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) to chair the Creditors’ Commission, which supervises the liquidation of Banque Privée Espírito Santo SA en liquidation in the course of its bankruptcy.

LALIVE

LALIVE is highly regarded for its strong expertise in a breadth of litigation and arbitration cases. The team can also advise on banking, finance and private client matters. Key contacts at the firm are Matthias Scherer, Alexander TrollerSandrine Giroud, Domitille Baizeau, Marc Henzelin, Veijo Heiskanen and Michael Schneider.

Other key lawyers:

Matthias Scherer; Alexander Troller; Sandrine Giroud; Domitille Baizeau; Marc Henzelin; Veijo Heiskanen; Michael Schneider

Pestalozzi

Pestalozzi offers 'seamless service to clients, demonstrating commercial awareness and presenting creative solutions'. The Geneva-office's strengths are financial transactions, regulatory, litigation and arbitration, M&A and white-collar criminal law matters. Dispute resolution specialist Christophe Emonet and transaction expert Sébastien Roy are key contacts. Nicolas Herren and Ludivine Boisard are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Christophe Emonet; Sébastien Roy

Other key lawyers:

Nicolas Herren; Ludivine Boisard; Jean-Baptiste Lhôte

Testimonials

‘Sébastien Roy is pro-active, available and handles the work in an efficient and effective manner. The work is predominantly done by him without leveraging too many other partners/associates on the file and the result thereof is that the fees are managed and controlled very well.’

‘Pestalozzi’s Corporate/M&A Group and Financial Services Group offer a seamless service to clients, demonstrating commercial awareness and presenting creative solutions to clients. They go the extra mile. Thoroughly recommended.’

‘Sébastien Roy is an expert in his practice area, very goal-oriented and pragmatic in the solutions offered to complex problems. He is very responsive, highly professional and very approachable. A pleasure to work with.’

Jean-Baptiste Lhôte is an excellent lawyer who is always available and can be relied upon to provide commercial and practical solutions to get a deal across the line.’

‘The team consists of the real professionals who are available for a client 24/7. The team has a solid experience to work during holidays and day and night if necessary at a rush time. A client does not need to motivate them, to the contrary, the team motivates a client. The team always offers several options of solving a problem together with their recommendation to choose one of them to facilitate your choice.’

‘Christophe Emonet is superb. His experience and judgment are second to none.’

‘Christophe Emonet is great practitioner, tough negotiator and extremely concentrated on the merits. He has a very deep knowledge of law, is able to learn something new, including even foreign national law.’

‘Christophe Emonet and his team are formidable – commercial, strategic and extremely hard-working.

Key clients

Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. and Conde Nast Publications SA

Bank of America

Banque Cantonale de Genève

City of Almaty

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Fahad Al Rajan

First International Bank of Israel

Glencore

Goldman Sachs

Olivier Maus

Republic of Kazakhstan

Türkmengaz

UBP

Union Bank of Israel

Vitaly Malkin

Work highlights

  • Acting for the former CEO of the Pension Fund of Kuwait and coordinating his defence in the context of one of the largest ever banking secret commission claims filed before the Commercial Court of London.
  • Acting for the city of Almaty in cross-border civil disputes, recovery actions and criminal investigations.
  • Represented First International Bank of Israel, Union Bank of Israel & Filstel Diamonds in receivership and liquidation in a bank’s loan recovery and avoidance claim against Eurostar Diamond Traders NV and Stelman International Diamond Dealers.

Walder Wyss Ltd.

The members of Walder Wyss Ltd.'s French-Swiss offices are well versed in corporate, banking and finance, regulatory, litigation and white-collar criminal law as well as real estate, tax and private client matters. The Lausanne offering also includes experience in IP/IT, where managing partner Jürg Schneider is a key contact. Managing partner of the Geneva office, Philippe Pulfer, regularly acts for high-net-worth individuals, trust companies and charities. Alexandre Both handles M&A and PE transactions. Rodolphe GautierHubertus HillerströmOlivier SiggPatrick Vogel and Fouad Sayegh are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Philippe Pulfer; Jürg Schneider

Other key lawyers:

Alexandre Both; Rodolphe Gautier; Hubertus Hillerström; Olivier Sigg; Patrick Vogel; Fouad Sayeg; Nicolas Iynedjian; Diana Akikol

Testimonials

‘Very responsive; quick turn-around of transaction documents; always available for advice (in and out of office hours); in face-to-face head-to-head lawyer exchanges during negotiations they are very strong; and have a very commercial law practice; transparent billing and efficient which keeps costs down.’

‘Alexandre Both – is a strong asset to have on your side during M&A negotiations. Alexandre is very strong in face-to-face and head-to-head lawyer exchanges. Mainly due to his strong calibre to adapt and propose on-the-spot alternative solutions to unblock a deadlock which matches his client’s wish list, to be commercial and not over-lawyer a situation, and remains calm and collected and leaves the ego at the door. Plus, on a personal-level, he is a great person to shoot-the-breeze with when you are both stuck in the trenches in the last 72 hours before a deal is closed.

‘Strong but calm expertise: the care they bring to everything they do clearly sets them apart. ’

‘Having worked with Philippe Pulfer for many years, I can only say that the clients who have benefited from his expertise have been extremely fortunate. The outcome of Philippe’s advice is always top notch and what the clients wish!’

Key clients

Nespresso

Hinduja

Bank J. Safra Sarasin AG

Bank Vontobel AG

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Banque Cantonale Vaudoise

Edenred Capital Partners

ING Bank

Société Générale

Swisscom Ventures AG

Engie

Zürcher Kantonalbank – Private equity fund

Airbus

Audacia Holding SA

Avaloq

Migros

Emmi Schweiz AG

Swiss Bankers Associations

Work highlights

  • Representing Nestlé Nespresso SA in asset recovery proceedings against ECC SA and ECC (Suisse) SA in Switzerland, through the recognition and enforcement of final judgments notably rendered in France and Switzerland in relation to worldwide pending litigation proceedings.
  • Assisting Emmi with its implementation of the GDPR and the revised Swiss data protection legislation.
  • Advised Migrol AG and Migrolino AG on the drafting and negotiation of a multi-year contract in relation to the introduction, implementation and operation of a new cashier solution systems for more than 400 points of sale.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie fields specialists in corporate and M&A, an area where Jingjin Guo is prominent; sports law, a focus of Olivier Ducrey; and litigation, arbitration and WTO disputes, where Luca Beffa and Pablo Bentes, who joined from Steptoe & Johnson LLP in December 2019, take the lead. Elliott Murray covers wealth management.

Practice head(s):

Jingjin Guo; Luca Beffa; Olivier Ducrey; Pablo Bentes; Elliott Murray

Key clients

Compagnie Financière Michelin

Zhejiang Henglin Chair Industry Co. Ltd

Wüest Partner group

Mohammed Hanzab

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Helvetica Property

Carabao

International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA)

World Taekwondo

Basketball Champions League / FIBA (International Basketball Federation)

World Trade Organisation

ECORODOVIAS S.A.

Gulf Aluminum Rolling Mill Co

Kingdom of Bahrain

Work highlights

  • Assisted Michelin Group in connection with a restructuring of its worldwide cash pooling structure with respect to banking and finance regulatory issues and transfer pricing.
  • Advised Wüest Partner on its acquisition and integration of real estate tech firm Homadata from multiple shareholders, through certain acquisitions and partial exchanges of shares.
  • Assisted BMS with its acquisition of Celgene, including tax structuring work, VAT support, review and analysis of Swiss ruling status as well as post-acquisition reorganisation work.

BianchiSchwald LLC

BianchiSchwald LLC is active for clients from industries including financial services, transport, healthcare and life sciences, and retail, among others. The group has experience in banking and finance, M&A, employment, real estate and tax. Managing partner Thomas Goossens is also knowledgeable in investment funds. Thierry AmyManuel Bianchi della Porta, and disputes specialist Jean-Marc Carnicé as well as Yves de CoulonStéphanie Fuld and Joseph Merhai are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Goosens

Other key lawyers:

Thierry Amy; Manuel Bianchi della Porta; Jean-Marc Carnicé; Yves de Coulon; Stéphanie Fuld; Joseph Merhai

Key clients

Banque Profil de Gestion SA

TPG / Transports publics genevois

Le petit-fils de L.U. Chopard & Cie SA

Richemont International SA

Kreos Capital

Barclays Bank SA

BNP Paribas SA

Work highlights

  • Assisted Richemont International with various post-closing issues in relation to Piquadro S.p.A.’s acquisition of Lancel.
  • Acting for HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA in several judicial disputes.
  • Advised TPG /Transports publics genevois on the Geneva salary dumping scandal.

CMS

CMS has a comprehensive offering, which spans various practice areas, industries and - through its international network  -also jurisdictions. The Geneva office has capabilities in corporate and M&A, competition, tax and sports as well as dispute resolution. The key practitioners are managing partner Olivier CarrardChristian LüscherPascal FavreAndrio Orler and Pierre Ducret.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Carrard

Other key lawyers:

Christian Lüscher; Pascal Favre; Andrio Orler; Pierre Ducret

Key clients

Yves Bouvier

China Development Bank

Xavier Justo

Prio SA

Hyperion Insurance Group Limited

ERMEWA Holding

KfW-IPEX Bank GmbH

Work highlights

  • Advising Swiss art shipper and dealer Yves Bouvier in criminal and civil proceedings pending before the Geneva courts, in relation to his dispute against Russian oligarch Dimitry Rybolovlev.
  • Advising Ermewa Holding on the Swiss aspects of the cross-border restructuring and refinancing of its group debt through a combination of multi-currency secured bank debt and US private placement notes for a total value of circa €1.5bn.
  • Advising KfW-IPEX Bank on the negotiation and implementation of a €191m senior credit warehousing and VAT facility agreement, the purpose of which was the financing of the purchase by Prio of a fleet of rental freight cars.

FBT Attorneys-at-Law

FBT Attorneys-at-Law has 'extensive expertise in the financial, litigation and commercial sectors'. The team includes Frédérique Bensahel, who is well versed in banking and finance matters; tax specialists Jean-Luc Bochatay and Michel Abt; and dispute resolution practitioner Serge FaselPierre-Olivier Etique and Jean-Louis Tsimaratos are also noted.

Other key lawyers:

Frédérique Bensahel; Jean-Luc Bochatay; Michel Abt; Serge Fasel; Pierre-Olivier Etique; Jean-Louis Tsimaratos

Testimonials

‘Extensive expertise in the financial, litigation and commercial sectors. Very proactive and business oriented. Efficient legal survey.’

‘Skilled/pragmatic approach/available upon short notice.’

‘Very dedicated team of ultra professionals, combination of legal and tax expertise, know-how across the board.’

‘Very responsive and professional attitude. Original and highly skilful approach to a wide range of legal problems.’

‘High capability to create and successfully lead international teams of lawyers being part of different firms.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a bank in an international dispute where the bank is sued for over $250m.
  • Advised a Swiss major insurance group on a FINMA licence for its asset manager of over $6bn of insurance and pension funds assets.
  • Advised a Swiss bank on a €100m secured loan.

Froriep

The Geneva office of Froriep advises clients on banking and finance, corporate, sports and private client law. Active practitioners are Jean-Luc Herbez, Jean Marguerat, Jérôme de Montmollin, Julie Wynne and Dmitry Pentsov.

Other key lawyers:

ean-Luc Herbez; Jean Marguerat; Jérôme de Montmollin; Julie Wynne; Dmitry Pentsov

Kellerhals Carrard

Kellerhals Carrard is noted for covering a broad range of industries and practice areas. It has offices in Lausanne, Sion and Geneva, and its team has expertise in sports law, corporate and M&A, tax, competition, regulatory and disputes. Julien Rouvinez is the head of the Sion practice, and Emmanuèle Argand and Clarence Peter co-manage the Geneva office. Other key practitioners include Edgar PhilippinFrançois CarrardJean-Luc Chenaux and Christophe Rapin.

Practice head(s):

Edgar Philippin; Julien Rouvinez; Emmanuèle Argand; Clarence Peter

Other key lawyers:

François Carrard; Jean-Luc Chenaux; Christophe Rapin

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd has a 'great blend of experience and talent'. It is instructed by clients from the pharmaceutical, engineering, energy, software and retail industries and has experience handling private client, corporate law, real estate and dispute resolution matters. Serge Calame, Frédéric Cottier, Philippe Prost and Bernard Lachenal are the respective specialist. Mona Stephenson is also highlighted.

Practice head(s):

Serge Calame; Frédéric Cottier; Philippe Prost; Bernard Lachenal

Other key lawyers:

Mona Stephenson; Maud Udry-Alhanko

Testimonials

‘MLL responds very quickly and professionally with the right information and gives information outside our question to alert us for possible other issues. They have a strong intern connection, they have always another lawyer how knows the case and can respond in an adequate manner.’

‘Mona Stephenson is a very good professional. She has a good knowledge of French legal concepts as well as business approach allowing her to take over cross-border transactions.’

‘The team is a great blend of experience and talent. It is more internationally focused than most Swiss firms, and probably more easy to go with. ’

‘Bernard Lachenal is definitely a go to person in Geneva.’

‘Efficient and trustworthy service and highly competent and affable advisors with excellent connections in their field. Although they are a Geneva firm, they understand how their Anglo Saxon counterparts work in a way some Swiss firms perhaps do not and are a pleasure to work with.’

‘Maud Udry-Alhanko is always highly competent and helpful and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Serge Calame is also excellent’

‘Dedicated team coming with practical approaches and also ready to provide commercial or business counsel and not only legal advice. For a company without an internal legal department it is very useful as it covers the whole range of our needs. They take the time to know their customers and their businesses to provide the service and make the link between the different departments when needed.’

‘Mona Stephenson is very responsive and has this helicopter view which helps her to provide and seek the correct services from the law firm and from her colleagues. We have a very good communication and it is always very clear what is business and commercial advice and support and what is legal advice.’

Key clients

Banque CIC Suisse SA

Landolt & Cie

UBS AG

OBERSON ABELS SA

OBERSON ABELS SA is particularly regarded for its tax expertise, an area where Xavier Oberson and Pierre-Marie Glauser are noted. It also handles banking and finance as well as corporate and M&A matters. Antoine AmiguetPhilipp Fischer and Sébastien Bettschart are other active practitioners.

Other key lawyers:

Xavier Oberson; Pierre-Marie Glauser; Antoine Amiguet; Philipp Fischer; Sébastien Bettschart

Python

Key practitioners at Python include Marc Iynedjian, Christophe de Kalbermatten and Homayoon Arfazadeh. Areas of expertise include banking, corporate, real estate, and private client matters.