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Switzerland > Legal market overview > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Legal market overview clients in Switzerland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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The legal market in Switzerland is characterised by a decentralised structure, spreading from French-speaking Geneva and Lausanne in the west to German-speaking cities Bern, Basel and Zurich in the east. Contrary to the broadly international approach of legal hotspots Zurich and Geneva, the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino has its legal centre in Lugano, focusing on instructions from local and South European clients. While Zurich is well known for its corporate, public banking and capital markets strength, as well as ongoing links to German and US-based corporations, Geneva firms are uniquely placed around a strong private banking sector, leading players of the sports industry and a global commodity trading hub.

During the past year, Swiss firms saw thriving activity in mid-market transactions, an increase in tax controversies, sports disputes and white-collar criminal law matters, as well as major overhauls in European and domestic data protection law. Banking and financial regulation is also keeping teams active, mainly due to the implementation of the financial instruments directive MiFID II and upcoming product regulations contained in the Financial Services Act (FinSA/FIDLEG), the latter of which is going to impact the liability of private banks and wealth managers. Another booming sector is fintech. As the financial market authority FINMA strives to offer a safer, more regulated environment through the publication of guidelines, Switzerland has now become one of the go-to jurisdictions regarding initial coin offerings (ICOs).

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Lenz & Staehelin

While Lenz & Staehelin is acknowledged by most as Switzerland’s leading law firm, its connections and expertise span the globe. With over 200 lawyers, its ability to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing complexities of legal and regulatory environments in Switzerland and beyond, has attracted many of the world’s top corporations as well as private individuals.

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FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

BĂ„R & KARRER LTD.

Bär & Karrer is a renowned Swiss law firm with more than 170 lawyers in Zurich, Geneva, Lugano and Zug. Our core business is advising our clients on innovative and complex transactions and representing them in litigation, arbitration and regulatory proceedings. Our clients range from multinational corporations to private individuals in Switzerland and around the world.

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The market is still dominated by traditional Swiss firms such as Bär & Karrer Ltd., Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd, Homburger and Niederer Kraft Frey AG, while Walder Wyss Ltd has notably increased its headcount, expertise and visibility significantly in recent years. The ranking also includes newly established Swiss boutique firms, for example TIMES Attorneys and LBM AVOCATS & ASSOCIES SA, as well as several US firms that have strengthened their footing in Switzerland during the past months, including Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Schweiz) GmbH.

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Legal Developments in Switzerland

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Ordinance on Integrity and Transparency in the Therapeutic Products Sector has been adopted

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  • Bär & Karrer Advises B3i in its Current Equity Funding Round

    Industry-led InsurTech B3i Services AG successfully raised additional funds from current shareholders and new investors to further develop and grow its blockchain-based insurance transaction platform. B3i was founded in October 2016 as an insurance industry consortium which then formed B3i Services AG as an independent company. The shareholder group includes some of the world's largest insurers and reinsurers from across Europe, the Americas, and Asia. B3i intends to further expand its shareholder base over the next several months.
  • Bär & Karrer Continues to Grow Finance and Sports Practice with Two New Partners

    Bär & Karrer is pleased to announce that it further strengthens its Financing and Sports practices with new partners Lukas Roesler and Dr. Jan Kleiner, both of whom have worked with the firm previously.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Novartis and Alcon on the Spin-off of Alcon

    Today, Novartis AG completed the spin-off of the Alcon eye care devices business, and Alcon Inc. debuted as independent publicly traded company. The Alcon shares were successfully listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange Ltd. and the New York Stock Exchange. They are also included in the Swiss Market Index (SMI), which comprises the 20 largest Swiss listed stocks.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Primeo Energie and CSA Energie-Infrastructure Schweiz in Aquisition from ElĂ©t

    Primeo Energie, EOS Holding SA (EOS) and Électricité de France (EDF) have entered into a share purchase agreement relating to the purchase by Primeo Energie and EOS of the 25% interest held by EDF in Alpiq Holding SA. The purchase by Primeo Eergie and EOS will be financed through mandatory exchangeable loan agreements made by CSA Energie-Infrastruktur Schweiz (CSA) as lender, the biggest investment pool for Swiss energy infrastructure with 135 Swiss pension funds acting as investors. At maturity the mandatory exchangeable loan agreements will be converted into shares in Alpiq. Primeo Energie and EOS thereby pave the way for a Swiss shareholder structure of Alpiq.
  • Bär & Karrer Awarded Most Innovative Swiss Law Firm of the Year at the IFLR Europe Awards

    Bär & Karrer was awarded „Most innovative law firm of the year - Switzerland", the national award for Switzerland given in the IFLR European Awards. The most innovative law firm of the year award recognizes Bär & Karrer as the Swiss law firm with the best track record in 2018 giving advice on the most innovative cross-border deals covering all award practice areas. It is already the third prize of this kind in period of six years awarded to Bär & Karrer.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises DSV on Public Exchange Offer for Panalpina

    On 1 April 2019, DSV A/S, Hedehusene, Denmark and Panalpina Welttransport (Holding) AG, Zurich, Switzerland, have entered into an agreement on the terms and conditions of a combination by way of a public exchange offer by DSV for all publicly held registered shares of Panalpina for approximately CHF 4.6 billion. The board of directors of Panalpina has resolved to support the public exchange offer by DSV and to recommend the acceptance of DSV's public exchange offer to its shareholders.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Lonza on the Entering into a Strategic Joint Venture with Chr. Hansen for Deve

    On 2 April 2019, Lonza, a leading pharma contract manufacturing company, and Chr. Hansen, a leading global bioscience company, announced that they have signed an agreement to establish a 50/50 joint venture to pioneer the live biotherapeutic products (LBPs) industry and position themselves as the leading contract development and manufacturing partner (CDMO) for biotech and pharma customers. The joint venture brings together best-in-class, complementary capabilities and will be the first CDMO globally to provide a full supply chain that offers manufacturing of bacteria strains for therapeutic use. The joint venture will be a 50/50 controlled legal entity that will operate from its headquarters in Basel (CH) and have production facilities in Denmark and Switzerland. A phased investment of approximately EUR 90 million will be deployed over three years to build cGMP-compliant pharma production capabilities. The joint venture will upgrade existing facilities in Hørsholm (DK) and equip new facilities in Basel (CH) to serve pre-clinical to phase II projects. Further facilities for phase III and commercial manufacturing will be developed as the pipeline matures. The joint venture is expected to be largely self-funding after the production set-up has been established.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Computacenter in the Acquisition of PathWorks

    Computacenter Group, a leading European IT service provider listed on the London Stock Exchange, acquired PathWorks, a well-established hardware reseller in the Swiss market.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Addtech in the Acquisition of a Majority in Omni Ray

    Addtech Group, a leading Swedish publicly listed technology trading group, acquired a majority stake in Omni Ray AG, a well-established Swiss trading company and service provider for automation solutions, mainly focused on industrial applications, infrastructure, transportation and medical industry. By this transaction, Addtech aims at strengthening its position in the European automation market.

Press Releases in Switzerland

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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.