Leading firms: French-speaking Switzerland in Switzerland

Lenz & Staehelin

Lenz & Staehelin has an impressive full-service offering, with experienced lawyers based in Geneva as well as Lausanne. The firm has a particularly strong track record in banking and finance, dispute resolution, private and public M&A and sports matters. Names to note include Shelby Du PasquierFrançois RayrouxXavier Favre-BulleBenoît MerktOlivier Stahler and Jean-Blaise Eckert as well as Lucien Masmejan and Andreas Rötheli.

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd

Full-service law firm Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd is a well-established player in the market. In dispute resolution, the firm covers litigation, arbitration and white collar crime; the specialists in this area are Vincent JeanneretPaul Gully-HartBenjamin BorsodiPhilippe Bärtsch and Louis Burrus. Other highlighted areas of expertise are banking and finance, corporate and M&A and private client matters, with further key names including Caroline ClemetsonGrégoire Wuest and Tarek Houdrouge. The firm is noted for its diverse and strong bench of junior lawyers, such as newly promoted partners Clara Poglia and George Ayoub.

Testimonials

Schellenberg Wittmer anticipates the key challenges and manages them proactively; the teams demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the legal aspect but also a good understanding of the cultural specificities of their clients. It also impresses with a strong sense of integrity, resulting in very reasonable fees, hence great value for money.’

SW consists of highly qualified professionals providing tailor-made support, a pragmatic approach, high-quality work, diligent management of deadlines and good availability.’

Louis Burrus is amazingly reactive and efficient. He provides outstanding advice in sophisticated white-collar crime matters.’

Caroline Clemetson is noted for her efficiency and FINMA knowledge.

Tarek Houdrouge is always accessible and responsive, and his advice is thorough, helpful, pragmatic and prompt. He is excellent to work with.’

Benjamin Borsodi is certainly one of the brightest minds in his generation.’

Grégoire Wuest gives personalised and tailored support, is easy accessible and delivers quality input.’

Philippe Bärtsch is excellent – bright, responsive and commercial.’

Clara Poglia is an up and coming superstar; she works details focused and can provide an accurate estimation on strategic possibilities.’

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

SET Ventures

Teradyne Inc.

Bordie & Cie

Credit Suisse Funds Ltd

Diamond Capital Management (Switzerland) Ltd

UBP

UBS SA

CACEIS

Landolt Investment SICAV

Rhone Trust

NBK Banque Privée (Suisse) SA

Work highlights

  • Representing an entity jointly owned by two European energy companies in a €400m dispute arising out of the operation of a dam in Europe.
  • Advised a Swiss investment bank in transforming a Swiss contractual fund into a Swiss SICAV.
  • Advising a European bank in a merger and restructuring project.

Bär & Karrer Ltd.

Bär & Karrer Ltd.'s strong Geneva line-up includes Saverio LemboPierre-Yves Gunter and Alexandra Johnson, who are particularly active in dispute resolution. Further core pillars of the firm are its banking and finance, regulatory and M&A practices. Other names to note include Cédric ChapuisFrédéric BétriseyMartin Anderson and Aurélie Conrad Hari.

LALIVE

LALIVE impresses with its strong litigation and arbitration offering, where the team is active in significant national and international cases. Beyond that, it is active in private client law and banking and finance matters. Noted team members are Alexander TrollerDomitille BaizeauMarc HenzelinSandrine GiroudVeijo HeiskanenMichael Schneider and Matthias Scherer.

Walder Wyss Ltd.

At Walder Wyss Ltd., the Geneva office impresses with expertise in banking and finance, corporate, tax, private client and litigation, while the lawyers based in Lausanne are well versed in the areas of IT, IP and real estate. The offices are managed by Philippe Pulfer and Jürg Schneider, respectively. Dispute resolution specialist Rodolphe Gautier, banking and finance experts Hubertus Hillerström and Patrick Vogel as well as Olivier SiggAlexandre Both and Nicolas Iynedjian are among the highlighted practitioners. Fouad Sayegh and newly promoted Adriano Antonietti are further key names.

Practice head(s):

Philippe Pulfer; Jürg Schneider

Testimonials

Very efficient team, which has good time management and finds pragmatic and business-oriented solutions.’

Philippe Pulfer is an excellent technical lawyer with sound judgement and a good strategic approach.’

Nicolas Iynedjian is very practical and strategic in his counsel and advice. He does not equivocate; he provides well-reasoned, actionable advice.

Fouad Sayegh is technically excellent and provides clear, concise advice.

Patrick Vogel understands the scope of his client’s work well and provides outstanding work within time frame and budget. He is always available when needed.’

Key clients

AOG – The Addax and Oryx Group

Avaloq

Banque J. Safra Sarasin AG

Castleton Commodities International LLC

Endeavour Vision

Migros

Nemaco

Nestlé SA

Pepperdine University

Swiss Bankers Association

Swisscom

Work highlights

  • Acted for ENGIE in connection with its investment in tiko Energy Solutions Ltd.
  • Representing Nestlé Nespresso in asset recovery proceedings against ECC in Switzerland, through the recognition and enforcement of final judgements rendered in other jurisdictions.
  • Represented Bank J. Safra Sarasin in its acquisition of the private banking business of Bank Hapoali.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie's Geneva offering includes support in the areas of banking and finance, corporate and M&A, employment and wealth management. Of counsel Stephanie Jarrett and newly made up partner Elliott Murray are the key contacts in the latter, where they are particularly active for foreign clients. Luca Beffa is the dispute resolution specialist, while Jingjin Guo is instructed on corporate transactions. Another area of expertise is sports law, which is covered by Olivier Ducrey.

Practice head(s):

Jingjin Guo; Luca Beffa; Olivier Ducrey; Elliott Murray

Work highlights

  • Assisted SK Telecom with its acquisition of a majority stake in ID Quantique SA as well as with the transfer of its Quantum Unit from Korea to Switzerland.
  • Advised multiple international ice hockey professionals on contractual issues.
  • Counselled Moon Jet on the structuring and negotiation of an aircraft acquisition and financing.

BianchiSchwald LLC

BianchiSchwald LLC covers banking and finance, M&A, employment, real estate and tax. The firm has expertise in a variety of industries, including energy, retail, technology and transport, among others. Managing partner Manuel Bianchi della Porta is instructed by companies and entrepreneurs in corporate and commercial matters. Jean-Marc Carnicé heads the dispute resolution and white-collar crime practice, which is a further core pillar of the firm. Other noted individuals include Thierry AmyThomas GoossensStéphanie FuldJoseph Merhai, and Yves de Coulon.

CMS

International law firm CMS offers considerable experience in various practice areas from its Geneva office; among these are corporate and M&A, competition, tax and sports as well as dispute resolution. Managing partner Olivier CarrardAndrio OrlerPascal Favre and Philippe Grumbach are recommended. The key contacts for litigation, arbitration and white-collar crime are Christian LüscherDaniel Kinzer and Pierre Ducret.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Carrard

Key clients

Aberdeen Group

Areal Bank

CitizenM

Otsuka Pharmaceutical

Sberbank of Russia

Work highlights

  • Representing a Swiss art shipper and dealer in a dispute accusing him of fraud.
  • Assisted KfW-IPEX Bank in the negotiation and implementation of a €191m senior credit warehousing and VAT facility agreement.
  • Advised Guardtime and a Swiss institutional investor in a cross-border project involving the relocation of Guardtime from BVI to Switzerland and the concurrent acquisition of interest in Guardtime by the investor.

FBT Attorneys-at-Law

The lawyers at FBT Attorneys-at-Law are experienced in matters of a cross-border nature, and work closely with the Paris office. The firm focuses its practice particularly in the areas of banking and finance, corporate, commercial, labour and dispute resolution. Tax matters are covered by a team led by Jean-Luc Bochatay and Michel Abt, and family estate law is another core business area. Frédérique BensahelJean-Louis Tsimaratos and Pierre-Olivier Etique are regularly instructed by banks and financial institutions. Serge FaselMarco Villa and Michaël Biot are also noted.

Testimonials

FBT is great for transnational legal and tax issues relating to French-Swiss issues.

Jean-Luc Bochatay and Frédérique Bensahel both have a practical approach and excellent analytical skills.

Work highlights

  • Representing various banks and wealth managers in mismanagement litigation cases.
  • Acted for several HNWIs in international successions.
  • Counselled multiple clients on the constitution of family or charitable foundations.

Froriep

Jean-Luc HerbezJean MargueratJérôme de MontmollinJulie Wynne and Dmitry Pentsov are among Froriep's key practitioners. The Geneva office is especially noted for its offering in banking and finance, corporate, sports and private client law.

Kellerhals Carrard

Beyond its Lausanne and Sion offering, Kellerhals Carrard further established its position in French-speaking Switzerland with the opening of its Geneva office in early 2019. The lawyers from these offices are particularly active in sports law, litigation and arbitration, as well as corporate and M&A. Lausanne's François Carrard, Edgar Philippin and Jean-Luc Chenaux are highlighted practitioners. Sports experts Ross Wenzel and Julien Rouvinez, who manages the start-up desk, are also noted, as is Christophe Rapin who joined from Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Jean-Philippe Rochat; Julien Rouvinez

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd impresses with its close cross-departmental collaboration, and it is particularly active for clients from the pharmaceutical, engineering, energy, software and retail sectors. Strong practice areas include banking and finance, private client, real estate, competition and dispute resolution. Bernard Lachenal is a key contact for the latter. Other practitioners are Serge CalameLéonard Stoyanov and Nicolas Didisheim. Christophe Rapin joined Kellerhals Carrard in 2020.

Testimonials

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal is composed of extremely competent and responsive lawyers, who understand the needs of their clients.’

The firm is noted for its very attentive customer contact. It communicates well and gives good, understandable explanations to the client.

Léonard Stoyanov is an excellent lawyer who understands his profession, takes time for his customers and presents practicable solutions.’

Serge Calame is extremely easy to work with, pragmatic and straight talking.’

Bernard Lachenal is an excellent litigator, who understands business needs and is solution-focused.’

Oberson Abels Ltd

Oberson Abels Ltd is strongly present in French-speaking Switzerland, where it is known for its activity in tax, banking and finance and corporate and M&A. Xavier Oberson and Pierre-Marie GlauserAntoine Amiguet and Philipp Fischer; and Sébastien Bettschart are the key contacts in these areas, respectively.

Pestalozzi

Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law Ltd has considerable experience in dispute resolution and white-collar crime mandates, M&A, finance and IP matters. Christophe Emonet is, besides litigation and arbitration, also instructed on regulatory work and investigations. Thomas Legler also regularly acts as an arbitrator. Sébastien Roy is strong in banking transactions. Beat MumenthalerLudivine Boisard and Nicolas Herren are also key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Christophe Emonet; Sébastien Roy

Testimonials

Pestalozzi is a superb firm.’

Sébastien Roy is very experienced, calm, thought-through and solution-oriented.’

Christophe Emonet is an outstanding practitioner.

Key clients

Glencore

Advance Magazine Publishers Inc.

Conde Nast Publications SA

Banque Cantonale de Genève

City of Almaty

Credit Suisse

First International Bank of Israel

Trafigura, Vitol, et al

Olivier Maus

Türkmengaz

Union Bank of Israel

Vitaly Malkin

Work highlights

  • Counseling the Republic of India regarding claims of Deutsche Telekom concerning India’s cancellation of a contract.
  • Represented First International Bank of Israel, Union Bank of Israel & Filstel Diamonds Ltd in the receivership and liquidation in the bank’s loan recovery and avoidance claims against Eurostar Diamond Traders NV and Stelman International Diamond Dealers, among others.
  • Acting for the city of Almaty in various civil disputes, recovery actions and criminal investigations.

Python

Full-service law firm Python is regularly instructed in matters related to banking, corporate, real estate, tax and private client matters. Key practitioners of the firm are Nicolas de GottrauMarc IynedjianEtienne von StrengChristophe de Kalbermatten and Homayoon Arfazadeh.