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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Switzerland > Private client > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Private client
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners

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Bär & Karrer Ltd. is 'one of the go-to firms in Switzerland' in this space, due to its 'personal commitment, top private client lawyers, strong technical skills and good client relationships' and it has 'an excellent and highly regarded practice'. With an office in every region, the multilingual team often acts as a coordinator in international matters for entrepreneurs, family offices and high-net-worth individuals. Practice head Tina Wüstemann, who 'is bursting with inspiring energy', is well known for handling estate and succession planning, as well as estate administration and contentious trust and estate matters. Clients also recommend 'thoughtful' partner Daniel Leu, 'up-and-coming' Geneva partner Aurélie Conrad Hari, 'experienced and solution-oriented' Daniel Bader and 'great notary' Massimo Vanotti.

The 'pragmatic and efficient' private client team at Lenz & Staehelin 'operates at the highest technical levels' and 'has an outstanding ability to provide comprehensive advice to international clients on business succession, taxation, family governance, estate planning and wealth management matters'. The practice also handles contentious matters, with a strong focus on trust litigation. Key partners include Lucien Masmejan, 'an outstanding lawyer who has a wealth of experience advising and coordinating matters for high-net-worth families', 'trust structure expert' Mark Barmes and 'technically able, clear adviser' Heini Rüdisühli in Zurich.

The focus areas of Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd's private client practice include the planning and structuring of private wealth and business assets for families, succession planning, art- and philanthropy-related matters, inheritance disputes and international trusts and estates litigation. Manuel Liatowitsch and Andrea Dorjee-Good represent the shareholder of a family cooperation in a dispute concerning the control over the business, while Grégoire Wuest advises a trust company on the implementation of the Automatic Exchange of Information for its entire client base. Bernard Vischer and Alexander Jolles lead the teams in Geneva and Zurich, respectively.

The 'commercial, realistic and responsive' team at 'well-known firm' Walder Wyss Ltd has 'a real strength and depth across the private client space' and 'works well on international matters'. It is renowned for advising entrepreneurs, including their families and businesses, in trust, estate and succession planning, relocation, tax and philanthropy matters. Clients recommend 'engaging, pre-eminent private client lawyer' and 'excellent tactician' Philippe Pulfer, 'strong' co-lead Kinga Weiss, 'knowledgeable and savvy' Olivier Sigg and 'competent and reactive' managing associate Robert Desax. Tax specialist Fouad Sayegh joined from Oberson Abels Ltd in May 2018.

Baker McKenzie's main strengths are multi-jurisdictional wealth management, tax and asset relocation matters for large families. Geneva-based Stephanie Jarrett, who is assisting a Swiss trustee with the tax and trust aspects of an extensive cross-border family matter, Marnin Michaels, who is based in Zurich, head the practice.

'Providing a seamless service to clients', the 'friendly and approachable team' at Charles Russell Speechlys AG 'offers unique cross-border legal advice with particular emphasis on English and Swiss law'. Key areas of expertise include international wealth structuring and litigation, tax planning, succession and family law, as well as estate planning and fiduciary matters. 'Fast, efficient and brilliant standout lawyer' David Cooney, who is 'technically impeccable', assisted a member of a high-net-worth family with the sale of a Cayman Islands-flagged super yacht, while 'dynamic adviser and lateral thinker' Michael Wells-Greco advised a family on a private equity investment in an African housing project. Tax partner Mark Summers and relocation expert Grégoire Uldry are also key members of the team.

'Particularly adept at advising on the needs of complex international tax and succession law matters', the 'efficient and easy-to-reach' practice at Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd (MLL) serves as 'a one-stop shop with expertise in all services required by private clients'. The team, led by 'incredibly responsive and commercial' Patricia Guerra and 'very professional and hands-on' international estate planning expert Serge Calame, has additional experience in relocation, asset structuring, estate planning, philanthropy and inheritance disputes. 'Dedicated and reliable family lawyer' Maud Udry-Alhanko is another name to note.

The 'flexible, pragmatic and attentive' private client department at Zurich firm Blum & Grob Attorneys at Law Ltd has 'outstanding knowledge in Swiss tax, asset structuring, inheritance, trust and investment structure issues'. Collaborating closely with the firm's aviation team, the practice also assists with aircraft and yacht transactions. It is headed by 'experienced' counsel Claude Blum and 'precise, solution-oriented and professional' Natalie Peter, who was a new arrival from Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd at the end of 2017.

'Solid and well established mid-market firm' Bratschi Ltd has 'a good international reach', 'a full-service approach' and houses 'a knowledgeable, accessible and responsive' private client practice. It is best known for handling matters relating to trusts and foundations, tax, estate planning and the structuring of assets and commodities. Clients particularly recommend 'level-headed and strategic thinker' Kurt Blickenstorfer and 'unique international tax lawyer' Walter Boss, who 'consistently delivers excellent and timely work'. Trust expert Ingmar Snijders, who also serves as Honorary Consul to Iceland in Switzerland, and tax partner Michael Barrot are other names to note.

The internationally active private client practice at CMS focuses on assisting high-net-worth families and individuals with inheritance law, estate planning and litigation, with particular experience in matrimonial property matters, succession planning, philanthropy and disputes concerning trusts and estates. Team lead Tobias Somary and senior associate Louise Lutz Sciamanna are the key practitioners, supported by inheritance specialist Max Albers and tax partner David Hürlimann.

FBT Attorneys-at-Law's client base comprises high-net-worth individuals and family offices, as well as intermediaries such as banks, wealth managers, investment funds and fund asset managers. The practice acts for clients in private banking, international succession, fund, trust structuring, tax, transactions and relocation matters. Department lead Frédérique Bensahel, tax partners Jean-Luc Bochatay and Michel Abt, as well as banking specialist Jean-Louis Tsimaratos make up the core team.

Homburger is well known as 'a one-stop shop private client boutique covering all relevant areas', such as inheritance matters, foundation and trust law, tax structuring and dispute resolution. 'Straightforward and solution-oriented' estate planning and asset protection lawyer Gabrielle Nater-Bass, 'sophisticated cross-border tax specialist' Claudia Suter and Harold Grüninger are the names to note.

The 'professional, solution-oriented, flexible and efficient' private client practice at Pestalozzi stands out for its 'know-how and commitment to philanthropic matters' and houses 'some excellent litigators'. It focuses on the global planning, coordination and structuring of private wealth and business assets, using its expertise in tax, inheritance, trust and estate, property and private equity law. Oliver Widmer advises Cern on the merger of two foundations, while Christophe Emonet represents a Russian oligarch in a claim against a Swiss private bank concerning losses in the client's account. 'Skilled, approachable and thoughtful' Thomas Rohner is recommended for his 'high-end international litigation work'.

Geneva- and Lausanne-based firm Python handles asset protection and succession planning matters, as well as tax, investment and general estate matters in the private client space. The team, which advises many Chinese clients, includes Jean-Christophe Hocke, Thomas Steinmann and Ingrid Iselin Zellweger.

The 'down-to-earth professionals' at Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd provide 'a highly professional and personalised approach' and 'outstanding advice regarding trusts, foundations and tax'. The practice also covers estate and succession planning, inheritance law, matrimonial and family-law matters. Practice head Michael Hamm is 'attentive, excellent and reliable'. Andreas von Erlach, who is 'experienced', and Georgia Fotiou  were recent arrivals from Haymann von Erlach and KPMG Switzerland, respectively.

Borel & Barbey is based in Geneva and focuses on foundation and trust law, succession planning, tax advice, testament executions and family office matters for private clients. The six-partner team includes estate specialists Olivier Dunant and Luc Hafner, immigration law expert Marc Fischer, tax lawyer Laurent Kyd and internationally active partners Louis Boussier and Stéphanie La Roche

'Highly professional firm' Burckhardt Ltd. 'demonstrates competence, experience and absolute dedication to the client', and is best known for dispute resolution related to international succession matters, advising on client and asset relocations, as well as the foundation of philanthropic organisations. Jacqueline Burckhardt and Mark Eichner are renowned for their 'thoroughness, efficiency and cross-border knowledge', while attorney Michelle Bruni is 'able to deal with complex problems at speed'.

Fischer Ramp Partner AG is 'a great tax boutique with exceptional expertise in private client matters, trusts, estate law and real estate taxation'. Its range of services also include international succession, pension and social security planning, relocation, philanthropy matters and dispute resolution. The key practitioners are the 'straight-to-the-point and very capable' Michael Fischer, the 'professional, down-to-earth and responsive' Samuel Ramp and 'diligent' senior associate Marc Buchmann.

Froriep is recommended for its 'flexible approach, strategic view and practical solutions'. It handles estate, tax and succession planning, charitable activities, relocation matters and disputes. Of counsel Oliver Arter represented Bettina and Vital Stefanini in a board-member dispute against the Stiftung für Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte before the Federal Supreme Court. The 'very organised and knowledgeable' Dmitry A Pentsov, as well as 'creative and detail-oriented' partners Julie Wynne and Jean-Marie Vulliemin are other names to note.

With a specialism in inheritance, trust and estate disputes, media litigation, matrimonial cases, art-related advice and matters concerning the protection of elderly family members, clients appreciate LALIVE's 'highly skilled team' for its 'cohesive nature, outstanding case management, supportiveness and emotional presence'. Litigator Alexander Troller and 'experienced and readily available' Sandrine Giroud, who has 'exceptional strategic skills and great conviction to win difficult cases', are the key partners in Geneva. 'Knowledgeable' inheritance law specialist Dr Werner Jahnel and Dr Simone Nadelhofer are the standout names in Zurich.

The 'excellent and highly efficient private client practice' at MME Legal | Tax | Compliance 'chooses its teams well, maintains a good internal communication and works hand-in-hand with each other'. It is best known for acting for clients in international inheritance, financial matrimony matters, company succession and tax matters. The team is led by 'profoundly knowledgeable, experienced and pragmatic estate law specialist' Balz Hoesly and also includes the 'excellent' Martina Aepli. Senior associate and inheritance law specialist Alexandra Geiger is another name to note.

Niederer Kraft Frey AG 'provides top-quality, professional advice and is highly motivated and dedicated to its clients' cases'. Core areas of expertise include estate planning, tax structuring, matrimonial property and divorce law, philanthropic matters, as well as real estate, art and relocation issues. Tax partner Thomas Graf and 'highly competent stand-out practitioner' Catherine Grun Meyer are the main contacts.

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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.