Leading firms: French-speaking Switzerland in Switzerland

Lenz & Staehelin

Lenz & Staehelin offers a broad array of services out of its Geneva and Lausanne offices and is particularly known for its advice in banking and finance, corporate and M&A matters as well as practice areas related to new technologies. Banking and finance specialists Shelby Du Pasquier, François Rayroux and Olivier Stahler, dispute resolution expert Xavier Favre-Bulle, competition law specialist Benoît Merkt, transactions specialist Andreas Rötheli as well as key contacts for private clients Lucien Masmejan and Jean-Blaise Eckert are noted.

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd is particularly well known for its activities in all forms of dispute resolution, encompassing international arbitration and litigation as well as white-collar crime cases and investigations, as well as its banking and finance practice, with further strength in the real estate and construction sector. Key contacts for dispute resolution are Philippe Bärtsch, Louis Burrus, Benjamin Borsodi and Paul Gully-Hart while Caroline Clemetson, Tarek Houdrouge and Grégoire Wuest are the key figures for banking and finance advice. Real estate and construction specialist Yves Jeanrenaud and corporate and M&A-focused Christoph Vonlanthen are also noted.

Bär & Karrer Ltd.

Bär & Karrer Ltd. has a strong core competence in dispute resolution where Saverio Lembo, Alexandra Johnson, Aurélie Conrad Hari and Pierre-Yves Gunter are the key practitioners and Andrew Garbarski is noted for his support in investigations and white-collar criminal law. Frédéric Bétrisey, Cédric Chapuis and Martin Anderson are the key individuals handling banking and finance transactions, regulatory matters for banks and financial institutions as well as international M&A transactions.

Key clients


Credit Suisse


Alcon Pharmaceuticals

Banque Cantonale de Genève

Mercuria Energy Trading


Standard Chartered

Calibra Inc.

Libra Association

Work highlights

  • Advised Fideuram – Intesa Sanpaolo on a long-term strategic partnership with Reyl.
  • Advised Union Bancaire Privée, UBP SA (UBP) on an agreement with Banco Comercial Português, S.A. (BCP), whereby UBP will acquire all the shares of the BCP group’s Swiss private bank, Millennium Banque Privée – BCP (Suisse) SA.


LALIVE is well known for its strengths in domestic and international dispute resolution and arbitration. The key practitioners Matthias Scherer, Alexander Troller, Sandrine Giroud, Domitille Baizeau, Marc Henzelin, Veijo Heiskanen and Michael Schneider all have specific areas of expertise, including commercial contracts, financial matters, fraud, asset recovery, joint ventures, M&A transactions, economic criminal law and construction matters.


Pestalozzi’s Geneva office has a strong reputation for advice regarding regulatory matters, financial transactions and M&A transactions as well as representation in litigation and arbitration proceedings including white-collar crime cases. Christophe Emonet and Nicolas C Herren are the key contacts for dispute resolution. Sébastien Roy, Ludivine Boisard and Jean-Baptiste Lhôte are the key practitioners handling a broad variety of banking and finance as well as M&A transactions.


‘Sébastien Roy – Availability, calm, legal knowledge.’

Key clients

Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. and Conde Nast Publications SA (editors of Vogue magazine)

AGCO International GmbH / AGCO Corporation (NYSE: AGCO)

Bank of America

Banque Cantonale de Genève

Canton of Aargau

City of Almaty

CH Media

Cott Beverages

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Fahad Al Rajan

First International Bank of Israel

General Electrics


Goldman Sachs

Hauck & Aufhäuser


National Oil Corporation of Libya

Republic of Kazakhstan

Saxo Bank (Schweiz) AG



Union Bank of Israel

Vitaly Malkin

Work highlights

  • Assisted a high profile client in the framework of highly publicised criminal investigations, related civil, banking and international mutual assistance proceedings in criminal matters regarding investments and banking transactions worth USD 80 billion.
  • Assisted the National Oil Corporation of Libya (“NOC”) in the context of a Swiss federal criminal investigation and recovery actions.
  • Advised a group of global financial institutions on Swiss law aspects of the comprehensive financial restructuring of the Swissport group.

Walder Wyss Ltd.

The Geneva and Lausanne offices of Walder Wyss Ltd. are well known for their capabilities in private client matters, litigation and white-collar crime proceedings as well as banking and finance, regulatory, real estate and tax issues. Private client specialist Olivier Sigg heads the Geneva office while the Lausanne office is headed by IT and data protection expert Jürg Schneider. Philippe Pulfer, Alexandre Both, Rodolphe Gautier, Hubertus Hillerström, Patrick Vogel and Fouad Sayegh are other key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Sigg; Jürg Schneider


‘The team is friendly, well organized and helpful.’

‘Partners are opened to discussion with respect to billing. Partners and associates have the extensive knowledge on their expertise and are open-minded in tackling the issues to be addressed.

‘Walder Wyss team covers a wide range of subjects and they are highly professional and experienced, ready to intervene in case of urgencies.’

‘Professionalism, being highly skilled and experienced. Available for urgent and immediate request/cases. Friendly.’

‘Sound knowledge of venture capital and private equity transactions.’

‘Alexandre Both and Grégoire Henriod: Quick, efficient, pragmatic.’

Key clients



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


Zürcher Kantonalbank – Private equity fund


Adent Cliniques Dentaires Groupe

Audacia Holding SA



Swiss Bankers Associations

Banque Syz SA


Emmi Schweiz AG



KomGo SA

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie’s Geneva office offers expertise across a variety of practice areas. Jingjin Guo takes the lead on corporate and M&A matters, Luca Beffa, Pablo Bentes and Simon Ntah are focused on litigation, arbitration, WTO disputes and white-collar criminal law cases, while Elliott Murray and Jacopo Crivellaro are specialists in wealth management. Charles Gschwind covers real estate transactions.

Key clients

Compagnie Financière Michelin

Zhejiang Henglin Chair Industry Co. Ltd

Wüest Partner group

Mohammed Hanzab

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Helvetica Property


International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA)

World Taekwondo

Basketball Champions League / FIBA (International Basketball Federation)

Number of top international ice hockey players

World Trade Organisation


Gulf Aluminum Rolling Mill Co

Kingdom of Bahrain

BianchiSchwald LLC

BianchiSchwald LLC offers comprehensive legal and tax advice to clients from a variety of backgrounds. Real estate and construction expert Yves de Coulon is the firm’s head in Geneva. Thierry Amy covers the banking and finance sector. Founding partner Jean-Marc Carnicé is the key contact for business crime issues, Stéphanie Fuld is an employment expert and Joseph Merhai covers taxes. Since publication, Manuel Bianchi della Porta left the firm.

Key clients

HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA

One swiss bank SA (formerly, 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

Hotel Beau-Rivage SA Genève

One swiss bank SA (formerly Banque Profil de Gestion SA)

Work highlights

  • Acted for HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA in several judicial disputes.
  • Acted for TPG /Transports publics genevois in the framework of the Geneva salary dumping scandal.

CMS von Erlach Partners Ltd.

Lauded for its ‘quality of people, technical skills (especially in tax matters), good contacts with local authorities and international network’, CMS von Erlach Partners Ltd.‘ team covers a broad array of practice areas and also work with teams in other jurisdictions. The Geneva team, which is led by Pascal Favre, has strengths in dispute resolution, competition, tax and sports law as well as corporate matters and M&A transactions. The key figures are Christian Lüscher, Olivier Carrard, Andrio Orler and Pierre Ducret.

Practice head(s):

Pascal Favre


‘1) Understanding of the law, the lawsuit and its processes; 2) capacity to produce in a short notice an impressive volume of data and jurisprudence; 3) quality and depth of arguments provided.’

‘Building up the pertinent level of confidence momentum in the mind of the customer and keeping it alive through lengthy lawsuits.’

‘Quality of people, technical skills (especially in tax matters), good contacts with local authorities and international network.’

‘The tax advisors and tax lawyers I am often working with are definitely outstanding in terms of know-how, creativity in problem solving and knowledge of local practices and people. They are also excellent in terms of reactivity and proactivity.’

Key clients

Socar Energy Limited GmbH

ARM Swiss Representatives SA

The Permanent Committee of the Geneva International Motorshow

S2F Groupe Partnaire SA

BeeMed SA

Banque Cantonale de Genève

Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

China Development Bank

Work highlights

  • Represented Socar Energy Limited GmbH, the Swiss branch of SOCAR, in two consecutive M&A transactions, the first of which involved the sale of Deville Mazout to Tamoil SA and the second – that of the corporation’s LPG business in Switzerland to the Swiss subsidiary of UGI Corporation.
  • Advised the shareholders of ASR on their sale of 100 % interest in ASR to the APEX Group.
  • Advised the Hachette Group (Diffulivre SA), a member of the French Lagardère Group, on an alleged ban on parallel imports in the market for French-language books.

FBT Attorneys-at-Law

The ‘efficient‘ team at FBT Attorneys-at-Law has strengths in dispute resolution, tax, banking and finance, mergers and acquisitions as well as family estate law. Co-founder and chairman Jean-Luc Bochatay is the team’s specialist for tax and regulatory matters. Frédérique Bensahel, Jean-Louis Tsimaratos and Michel Abt are the key contacts in banking and finance matters and Serge Fasel handles dispute resolution.


‘Pragmatic approach, efficient, very much skilled, available upon short notice.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a very large Swiss bank in an international dispute where the bank is sued for over USD 250 million.
  • Accompanied a Swiss major insurance group seeking a FINMA licence for its asset manager of over 6 billion of insurances and pension funds assets.
  • Advised a Swiss bank on a EUR 100 million secured loan. Foreign corporate guaranties and securities were granted by the borrower.

Kellerhals Carrard

Kellerhals Carrard’s offices in Geneva, Lausanne and Sion include experts in corporate and M&A, tax, regulatory, sports law and dispute resolution. The Geneva office is co-managed by estate planning expert Emmanuèle Argand and new technologies-focused Clarence Peter. Julien Rouvinez heads the Sion office and specialises in corporate transactions. Managing partner Edgar Philippin, Jean-Luc Chenaux, who focuses on corporate and commercial matters, and Christophe Rapin, a specialist in economic law, are other key contacts.

MLL Legal

MLL Legal was formed by the merger of legacy firms Meyerlustenberger Lachenal and Froriep and the combined teams have  strength in advising clients from the retail, pharmaceutical and energy sectors as well as clients with a technology background, including engineering and software companies. Serge Calame, Frédéric Cottier, Philippe Prost and Bernard Lachenal are adept at handling private client matters, as is Julie Wynne. Jean Marguerat is well versed in dispute resolution and Dmitry Pentsov specialises in banking and finance advice. Mona Stephenson, Maud Udry-Alhanko and Jean-Luc Herbez are also noted.


OBERSON ABELS SA, best known for its advice on tax matters, also has expertise in corporate and M&A matters as well as banking and finance. Xavier Oberson and Pierre-Marie Glauser are the key contacts for tax. Antoine Amiguet and Philipp Fischer are the firm’s banking and finance law specialists. M&A expert Sébastien Bettschart is also noted.


Python has strengths in banking, corporate, and private client matters as well as real estate. Marc Iynedjian, Christophe de Kalbermatten and Homayoon Arfazadeh are the names to note for advice regarding corporate and M&A, commercial contracts and arbitration proceedings.