Firms To Watch: Private client

Teichmann International has recently seen notable growth in its private client practice and acts for a range of Swiss and foreign business people and entrepreneurs. Fabian Teichmann leads the practice.

Private client in Switzerland

Bär & Karrer Ltd.

The private client practice at Bär & Karrer Ltd. is headed up by Tina Wüstemann, who is described by clients as a ‘leading lawyer’ and ‘one of the top trusts and estates litigators in Switzerland‘. The firm offers assistance to national and international clients on wealth and succession planning issues, cross-border structuring work, inheritance claims and trust disputes, international migration issues, family offices, and tax mandates. Other ‘outstanding’ names at the firm include Daniel Bader, Daniel Leu, Daniel Hochstrasser, and Ruth Bloch-Riemer.

Practice head(s):

Tina Wüstemann


Other key lawyers:

Daniel Bader; Daniel Leu; Daniel Hochstrasser; Ruth Bloch-Riemer


Testimonials

‘Bar & Karrer are a phenomenal firm. Potential clients should know that the firm is a safe pair of hands. Working with Bar & Karrer as a whole has been a very easy experience, and they truly provide a first-class service. In particular, their strengths are carefully considered, unique to the client advice and they have great efficiency in dealing with very complex jurisdictional matters. Tina Wüstemann is a stand-out lawyer of the firm in the private client team, who is the private client lawyer of her generation in my view.’

‘I have dealt with Tina Wüstemann at Bar & Karrer. In terms of private client lawyers, I consider Tina the leading lawyer in Switzerland. She has an extraordinary black book of clients, and I consider her to be the number one lawyer to go to if you need any private client advice in Switzerland. She is extremely competent, intelligent and thinks outside of the box. She is reliable and a safe pair of hands. There is no competitor to her in Switzerland. She has the utmost integrity and a phenomenal ability to tailor advice to the clients cross-jurisdictionally.’

‘Outstanding attorneys include Tina Wüstemann, Daniel Bader and Daniel Leu.’

‘The firm has considerable strength in depth across the private client spectrum and the international experience and expertise to assist UK tax practitioners with clients who have connections with Switzerland.’

‘Tina Wüstemann – very simply she is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced international private client practitioners in Switzerland.’

‘They are first rate and we have worked with them, both in litigation and on cross-border tax and trust planning, on a number of very interesting matters for many years. We place Bär & Karrer in the top tier of the firms with which we work regularly in Switzerland on private client matters for important clients.’

‘We have worked most closely with Tina Wüstemann, Daniel Bader, Daniel Leu and Daniel Hochstrasser. They are highly skilled, very experienced, excellent lawyers, Tina Wüstemann is one of the top trusts and estates litigators in Switzerland, with extensive experience in the largest and most complex international trust disputes. She has excellent judgement and strategic litigation skills. She is a delightful person with whom to work and I never would want her as an opponent. Daniel Bader is a top private client lawyer with deep expertise in cross-border planning. Daniel Leu is a trust litigator and tax planner with whom we are working closely and are very impressed. Daniel Hochstrasser is the head of litigation. He has enormous experience and excellent strategic judgement.’

‘Daniel Bader and Ruth Bloch-Riemer are two of the lawyers in the firm that we have worked more with. They are very responsive, business focused and pragmatic in their approach. It’s a pleasure to work with them.’

Work highlights


  • Advised an UNHW crypto entrepreneur with assets worth $2bn on legal and tax matters related to his relocation to Switzerland.
  • Represented an heir of a Swiss UHNWI in inheritance litigation related to the $1bn estate of the deceased, including a large real estate portfolio, a precious art collection, as well as numerous investments.
  • Appointed by the Swiss Supervising Authority of Foundations as commissioners to review the activities of an international foundation with assets worth $500m.

Lenz & Staehelin

Lenz & Staehelin‘s private client team is headed up by the ‘very experiencedHeini Rüdisühli and Lucien Masmejan. Recent work spans wealth and estate planning issues, establishing new estate planning projects for HNWI, assisting clients with both national and international inheritance law matters, and acting in various re-domiciliation projects. Other team members include Frédéric Neukomm and Daniel Schafer, who are both certified tax experts, and Mark Barmes, who advises on all aspects of wealth planning. Alexandra Hirt, described by clients as a ‘future star‘, was promoted to partner in January 2022, and Géraldine Auberson is the key name at senior associate level.

Practice head(s):

Lucien Masmejan; Heini Rüdisühli


Other key lawyers:

Mark Barmes; Fedor Poskriakov; Tanja Luginbuehl; Floran Ponce; Frédéric Neukomm; Géraldine Auberson; Alexander Greter; Jean-Blaise Eckert; Alexandra Hirt; Daniel Schafer


Testimonials

‘Mark Barmes is the most experienced, broad minded and creative private client lawyer in Switzerland. Fedor Poskriakov has a lot of corporate and transactional knowledge which he successfully uses dealing with private client issues.’

‘Lucien Masmejan – very experienced, good with clients and sound commercial judgement. Tanja Luginbuehl – commercially-minded and good with multi-jurisdictional/conflict of law issues. Highly organised. Floran Ponce, Frédéric Neukomm, Géraldine Auberson – able and pragmatic.’

‘My impression of the team as a whole is impressive. Their strengths are their people, who are incredibly specialised and capable of dealing with very complex matters, involving very prominent Ultra High Net Worth individuals, providing a first-class service. For me they are the number one private client firm in Switzerland. They are easy to deal with, efficient and are very clear in their delivery. I cannot recommend Lenz & Staehelin enough and I will continue to work with them, especially Lucien Masmejan.’

‘The primary lawyers I have dealt with at Lenz & Staehelin are Lucien Masmejan and Mark Barmes. Lucien’s strengths are certainly his project management, which he carried out to perfection and his organisation skills are to be admired. He dealt phenomenally well with the coordination of a very large international team. On top of this, in times of high emotional stress, he was extremely tactful with an exceptional approach and rapport. The advice he gave throughout the matter was pragmatic and academic and he led an army of lawyers extremely well. His knowledge of international tax is very impressive. Mark Barmes has an excellent reputation. Géraldine Auberson also assisted Lucien on the case, and I found her to be very impressive.’

‘Deep and proven experience with international clients with interests in Switzerland. Although Swiss, the firm has a very strong international dimension and is outward looking in its approach. This enables the firm to deal with complex cross border issues for its clients.’

‘I work with Alexander Greter. He advises on a very large portfolio of entities for one family and is able to keep all the detail in his head and give excellent and timely advice. He is extremely supportive so he is giving more than just his technical expertise.’

‘We have worked most closely with Lucien Masmejan, Mark Barmes, Jean-Blaise Eckert and Géraldine Auberson. They are all highly skilled, very experienced, excellent lawyers. Lucien is equally strong on contentious and non-contentious trust and private client matters, and is known as a superb corporate lawyer as well. He is a superb litigator, with excellent judgement and creative strategic litigation skills. He is extremely bright and a delightful person with whom to work. Lucien cuts through all the issues to the heart of the matter and finds a novel strategic solution. Mark Barmes is widely recognized as one of the leading international private client lawyers in Switzerland, with an extraordinary cross-border practice of clients from around the world. He is a great pleasure to work with, very bright, creative, thoughtful, deeply experienced. Jean-Blaise Eckert is an outstanding lawyer, deeply experienced and talented in all areas of private client work, from tax to estate planning to litigation. Géraldine Auberson is an extremely talented private client and tax planning lawyer, deeply knowledgeable, with excellent judgment. We have worked closely with Jean-Blaise and Geraldine on very significant and complex matter and Geraldine has handled it masterfully.’

‘Heini Rüdisühli – very experienced operator. Picks up the key points and gives intelligent and clear advice. Alexandra Hirt – definitely a future star. Helpful and intelligent and has learnt a lot from good partner guidance.’

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd

The private client department of Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd is jointly led by Andrea Dorjee-Good in Zurich and David Wallace Wilson in Geneva. The team has ‘broad experience‘ and advises clients on mandates encompassing contentious and non-contentious matters for individuals and their families including inheritance, estate planning and art-related advice and residency planning issues. Other members of the team including Bernard Vischer and counsel Caroline Lopez Nagai, who are described by clients as ‘committed, knowledgeable and efficient‘.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Dorjee-Good; David Wallace Wilson


Other key lawyers:

Bernard Visher; Caroline Lopez-Nagai


Testimonials

‘David Wilson, a figurehead of the Swiss Private Client practice and top specialist in trusts. David is going above and beyond his day-to-day work as a lawyer by being involved in or taking part in all sorts of submissions to represent the trust industry towards the Swiss government and international bodies. Bernard Visher has vast experience and is an all-rounder, with some interesting areas of specialisation like Middle East wealth structuring and philanthropy advice.’

‘Partners have a long-standing good reputation in the field and are supported by a team of committed, knowledgeable and efficient counsels and associates.’

‘Caroline Lopez-Nagai is a key member of the team. She has extensive legal knowledge of Swiss law (tax, contractual, immigration aspects) and other jurisdictions her clients reside in. She is efficient and pragmatic and very available to assist clients.’

‘Andrea Dorjee-Good is one of the best inheritance lawyers in Switzerland.’

‘David Wallace Wilson is a stand out lawyer, both technically in the areas of trust, but also in leadership. He has built an excellent team around him. David’s technical experience is one of the best, and he promotes knowledge sharing through many channels. Any legal advice received from him and his team have been succinctly and clearly documented.’

‘The team has broad experience in Swiss and cross-border estate and wealth planning matters, including the capacity to handle administrative matters and litigation on an international level. It works with many professionals across the world to handle, for example, litigation in foreign jurisdictions.’

‘I work with Partner David Wallace Wilson and Counsel Caroline Lopez-Nagai. Both are extremely competent and responsive, providing honest advice on the different issues and the possible outcome of legal matters submitted to them. They also are able to handle and coordinate every step, also involving foreign lawyers, to manage international litigation in the best way possible.’

Key clients

Rhone Trust


NBK Banque Privée (Suisse) SA


Work highlights


  • Represented one of several heirs in a very complex cross-border trust and estate dispute regarding the estate of a Swiss national, involving complex trust structures in various jurisdictions holding a major family owned business.
  • Representing a client in a complex Swiss estate litigation, involving claims against the executors and challenges of substantial lifetime gifts, including the transfer of a major family business to the descendants.
  • Advising one of the largest providers of fiduciary services in securing its authorisation to operate as trustee in Switzerland.

Walder Wyss Ltd.

Walder Wyss Ltd.‘s private client team is jointly led by Kinga Weiss in Zurich, who has extensive experience with Swiss and international inheritance law in addition to marital property and family issues, and Philippe Pulfer in Geneva, who is a long-time committee member of STEP Geneva. The ‘top tier‘ firm advises high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients on a variety of matters including wills, national and international succession planning issues, relocations, family law matters, and trust mandates. The practice also includes the ‘very experiencedOlivier Sigg and the ‘solution-orientedRobert Desax.

Practice head(s):

Kinga Weiss; Philippe Pulfer


Other key lawyers:

Olivier Sigg; Robert Desax; Fouad Sayegh; Philippe Kohler


Testimonials

‘Philippe Pulfer has been a go-to person for many a UHNWI for more than a decade. His knowledge and, most importantly, personal touch and ability to listen to the multi-faceted (financial, emotional, generational) issues that clients face is extraordinary.’

‘Robert Desax, very hands-on and responsible to clients’ needs, strictly solution oriented. Always keeps a close eye on the short and long-term economic effects of different approaches and client options.’

‘In the private client team, I know Olivier Sigg in particular who is very experienced and straight to the point. He deals with complex estate planning matters involving trust structures and he has an excellent cross-border approach, in particular with countries like the UK or Italy.’

‘Philippe Pulfer and Olivier Sigg are extremely well-known names internationally, renowned for their expertise advising HNW and UHNW individuals.’

‘They are first rate and we have worked with them, both in litigation and cross-border tax and trust planning, on a number of very significant and interesting matters for many years. We place Walder Wyss at the top tier of the firms with which we work regularly in Switzerland on private client matters for important clients.’

‘We have worked closely with Philippe Pulfer for over fifteen years on many complex matters and he is recognised as one of the very top private client lawyers in Switzerland. He is equally strong on contentious and non-contentious trust and private client matters and is known as a superb litigator as well as a first-rate tax and trust planning lawyer. He is superb at everything he does, extremely bright and a delightful person with whom to work. We have also worked closely with Kinga Weiss on complex cross-border private client matters and she is uniformly excellent. Kinga is considered one of the top private client lawyers in Switzerland, and her reputation is well deserved.’

‘The Geneva contingent of Philippe Pulfer, Fouad Sayegh and Olivier Sigg are extremely personable and knowledgeable – real stand out practitioners.’

‘Philippe Pulfer – very experienced Swiss lawyer that can guide clients in a calm, collected and pragmatic way at all times. He is so well experienced that he provides sage advice. Philippe Kohler – up and coming lawyer, with a can-do approach!’

Baker McKenzie Switzerland AG

The ‘professional, experienced and knowledgeable‘ team at Baker McKenzie is well known for its experience in cross-border and multi-jurisdictional matters, and in particular for its knowledge of tax and wealth management work. Other services offered include handling dispute resolution, succession planning issues, advice on tax compliance and regulatory requirements, and asset management issues. The practice is jointly headed up by Marnin Michaels, Lyubomir Georgiev and Elliott Murray, who all have extensive experience in tax matters. Clients include family offices, trustees, multi-generational families and financial institutions.

Practice head(s):

Marnin Michaels; Lyubomir Georgiev; Elliott Murray


Other key lawyers:

Gregory Walsh; Jacopo Crivellaro


Testimonials

‘The team is professional, experienced and knowledgeable. Their response times on communications are very quick.’

‘The individuals try to provide value added services and don’t look only at the specific task and service they are providing.’

‘Multi-jurisdictional with wide range of legal coverage and in-depth knowledge makes them special to us and our clients.’

Charles Russell Speechlys AG

Clients laud the private client team at Charles Russell Speechlys AG as ‘very efficient‘ and ‘proactive‘ with ‘deep knowledge‘. The team, led by Mark Summers and Michael Wells-Greco, offers advice to high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals on international wealth management and structuring matters, succession planning issues, cross-border family law, tax planning work, international trust matters, and holding structures for complex assets. Other notable names include Dharshi Wijetunga, who is described as an ‘excellent private wealth lawyer‘; Grégoire Uldry, who is praised as ‘flexible’ and ‘reactive’ to client needs; and Sirin Yüce, who possesses ‘dedication’,technical knowledge‘ and ‘discretion’.

Practice head(s):

Mark Summers; Michael Wells-Greco


Other key lawyers:

Dharshi Wijetunga; Grégoire Uldry; Sirin Yüce


Testimonials

‘Charles Russell Speechlys is an atypical Swiss Law Firm. They provide legal services in a very efficient manner and they are very proactive in order to solve the clients’ matters. It is not so common to find this quality of service and efficiency in the Swiss legal market.’

‘My contact person in the firm is Grégoire Uldry. He is a very sophisticated lawyer with extensive experience in the private client market. He is very flexible in order to find out the solution to each case and very reactive in respect of client’s requests.’

‘Dharshi Wijetunga is my main contact. She is an excellent private wealth lawyer. Very insightful, technically excellent, good with clients, my go to lawyer in Switzerland.’

‘Their practice is recognized in Switzerland for their deep knowledge about family law and availability whenever necessary. They do have experience with international cases. The difference when compared to other law firms is that some of the partners are members of IAFL, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, which helps us indeed whenever contacting them or consulting when it is necessary. It surely makes the difference.’

‘My direct contact is with Sirin Yüce. She is always available and demonstrates deep knowledge on this field of law. She is a reliable source of information concerning the Swiss legal framework. Dedication to the case/client, ethical commitment, technical knowledge, availability and discretion are some Ms. Yüce’s qualities.’

CMS von Erlach Partners Ltd.

Led by Tobias Somary and Pierre Ducret, the private client team at CMS von Erlach Partners Ltd. has a specific focus on domestic and international estate planning work and the related litigation. Services available to ultra-high-net-worth individuals, high-net-worth individuals and their families also include advice on succession planning issues, matrimonial property advice, philanthropy mandates, family business succession matters, and issues of legal incapacity. Other notable names in the ‘outstanding’ and ‘extremely knowledgeable’ team are David Hürlimann, Tanja Schaub, Louise Lutz Sciamanna and Sarah Busca Bonvin.


Practice head(s):

Tobias Somary; Pierre Ducret


Other key lawyers:

David Hürlimann; Tanja Schaub; Louise Lutz Sciamanna; Sarah Busca Bonvin


Testimonials

‘David Hürlimann/ Tanja Schaub are a great tax think tank. Tobias Somary outstanding in looking at and dealing with the overall picture of the cases.’

‘I found Tobias Somary and Louise Lutz Sciamanna extremely knowledgeable, intelligent and professional. They combined this with a genuinely collaborative approach that was very helpful. I worked with them on a cross border matter in which we had to deal with the requirements of competing jurisdictions, and their professionalism made what could have been a really difficult and fraught process remarkably smooth.’

‘Pierre Ducret is an outstanding lawyer.’

‘Tobias Somary is an excellent inheritance lawyer with a capacity to make a deal happen even in difficult situations. Sarah Busca Bonvin is a tax specialist with in-depth knowledge. Her experience at the Geneva tax administration is an asset.’

‘The team has outstanding personal and professional skills and knows how to apply them in a client-oriented manner. In addition, the international network of CMS works excellently.’

‘The excellent combination of personal and professional skills is exceptional. In this context, I would like to particularly highlight Tobias Somary and Louise Lutz Sciamanna.’

‘Outstanding breadth of work and response on tax and corporate matters relating to personal taxation, family businesses, asset protection and investment taxation.’

‘Tobias Somary is first class and clients like his style and the way that he explains complicated tax issues in a straightforward way. I have had positive feedback from clients whom I have introduced. He co-ordinates advice across disciplines in a very coherent and understandable way.’

Fischer Ramp Buchmann

Fischer Ramp Buchmann, led by founders Michael Fischer, Samuel Ramp and Marc Buchmann, is a boutique firm focusing on acting for private clients. The team’s cross-border experience is particularly prevalent in tax matters, and the firm has notable expertise in tax restructurings and the related disputes; it also provides advice on succession planning and estate issues, social security matters, and philanthropy work. The 2022 recruitment of Tendon Dahortsang as counsel has served to strengthen the firm’s experience in inheritance issues as well as estate and wealth planning.

Practice head(s):

Michael Fischer; Samuel Ramp; Marc Buchmann


Other key lawyers:

Tendon Dahortsang


Testimonials

‘I have been working with Michael Fischer for several years on various cases of private clients in a cross-border environment. He always asks the relevant questions and has a very pragmatic approach. He is client driven and very knowledgeable. It is a pleasure to work with him.’

‘Very tight knit partnership structure, where the partners really complement each other with their respective skill sets and areas of expertise. They work together in the best interest of their clients. It is largely a private client practice with a big firm corporate practice calibre and delivery.’

‘Michael Fischer: extremely pragmatic and commercial in his approach to complex Swiss and international tax issues. Very knowledgeable about the practical application of sometimes arcane tax laws. Super fast to deliver, and extremely high availability when urgent matters press. He has a real talent for making complex issues understandable. Samuel Ramp: in addition to supreme knowledge about local, regional and federal tax and property law for real estate transactions, Samuel has a keen eye on the commercial aspects and transaction dynamics. He is certainly one of the most pragmatic real estate lawyers in Zurich, and has a great network within the local, regional and federal tax authorities to rapidly test assumptions and obtain tax rulings.’

‘Marc Buchmann is our first contact person in Switzerland. He has vast knowledge and a good Swiss professional network. Besides, he is just a person that you like working with!’

‘Michael Fischer stands out for his special expertise in cross-border trust and estate matters, his supreme client handling, and his international reputation and network. He is one of the very best in Switzerland. Samuel Ramp stands out for his technical excellence, his pragmatic, solution-oriented approach, his calm approach no matter the pressure, and his special expertise in real estate related private client matters. Marc Buchmann is one of the most promising young private client partners in Switzerland. He is exceptionally responsive, quick thinking, and nice to work with, thorough and tenacious.’

‘The firm is on top of very important changes in Swiss law, namely the introduction of domestic trusts in Switzerland. The firm is active in many international associations relevant for private client practitioners. The team has an outstanding knowledge of all the matters of the tax environment, especially in the private clients sector.’

‘I work mainly with Michael Fischer and Marc Buchmann. They are very reliable and accessible. In dealing with clients they have a tailor-made approach, with a quick and intelligent understanding of the relevant issues. Most important, they combine technical skills and practical approach enabling clients to receive outstanding assistance.’

Work highlights


  • Advised an UHNW entrepreneur couple on relocation from UK to Switzerland and on cross-border tax structuring related to their £2.5bn trust.
  • Advised two UHNW entrepreneurs active in high-frequency trading on restructuring their €500m fund business and on relocation to Switzerland.
  • Advised two UHNW entrepreneurs on cross-border wealth and tax structuring related to $260m majority holding in listed company.

Homburger

Clients laud the ‘strong’ and ‘dedicated’ private client team at Homburger, which is led by Claudia Suter, who focuses on inheritance and cross-border tax structuring work. The team assists with a variety of issues spanning international estate planning work, the cross-border transfer of assets, trust establishments, succession planning issues, and relocations. Other key contacts include Gabrielle Nater-Bass, who is described by clients as a ‘hands-on business lawyer‘; Harold Grüninger, who excels in inheritance matters; and Stefanie Pfisterer, who handles contentious trust and estate matters.

Practice head(s):

Claudia Suter


Other key lawyers:

Gabrielle Nater-Bass; Harold Grüninger; Stefanie Pfisterer


Testimonials

‘Strong team with high level of expertise to cover complex client needs.’

‘Team (Gabrielle Nater-Bass, Claudia Suter) with whom I am working is always available for client requests and provides fast and professional feedback on time.’

‘Gabrielle Nater-Bass is a hands-on business lawyer with excellent legal and business knowledge. On one hand she is an aggressive negotiator and on the other hand she is practical. She possesses a charming personality, and it is most enjoyable to work with her. Claudia Suter is a lawyer and CPA. She controls the numbers profoundly and has excellent knowledge of the Swiss tax angles with the ability to elaborate legitimate but still tax effective planning for a desired transaction.’

‘The team is versatile, knowledgeable, dedicated and highly professional.’

‘Gabrielle Nater-Bass, the team leader, has demonstrated the capabilities to choose the qualified team members to address the various items on an overwhelming and paramount spectrum of issues.’

Work highlights


  • Advised the trustee of $20bn estate as global lead counsel on a broad range of legal and tax matters.
  • Advised a UHNW entrepreneur as international lead counsel on wealth and succession planning related to an $8bn estate.
  • Acted as strategic adviser to the council of a $1bn family foundation.

MLL Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep Ltd

MLL Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep Ltd‘s private client team is headed up by Patricia Guerra and Serge Calame in Zurich and Geneva, respectively. The ‘client oriented‘, ‘professional’ and ‘excellent’ team advises clients on relocation and family asset matters, art law, tax issues, cross-border matters, inheritance disputes and private banking work. The firm also offers in-house notarial services in several languages. Maud Udry-Alhanko is noted for her expertise in relocating international clients.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Guerra; Serge Calame


Other key lawyers:

Dmitry Pentsov; Julie Wynne; Bernard Lachenal; Julien Tron; Maud Udry-Alhanko


Testimonials

‘Professional, excellent technical knowledge and an understanding of UK tax, trusts and succession law which is very helpful and not a given when working with international advisers.’

‘Dmitry Pentsov provides experience, a personal approach to the client, negotiation skills and a wide scope of knowledge.’

‘Julie Wynne has unique capabilities that makes a go-to lawyer in the private clients practice, specially for her philanthropy knowledge.’

‘Patricia Guerra delivers exceptional client care and guidance. She takes a fully holistic approach to her client’s needs, working with all their advisers seamlessly and naturally. She is a great team player, always focusing on the end goal while maintaining an eye for detail. She understands family dynamics in all their complexities and tailors her approach accordingly.’

‘Bernard Lachenal and Julien Tron are both excellent lawyers and I do not hesitate to recommend them to clients and intermediaries alike.’

‘I have worked with the private client team on two cross-border files. They proved to be extremely client-oriented and very sensitive to the clients’ needs during the whole process. They are definitely in my top-three list for Switzerland in the private wealth field.’

‘Maud Udry-Alhanko and Serge Calame – always a pleasure to work with. Quick to respond, excellent technical knowledge and we know our clients will be looked after by like minded professionals. Also, both are very affable!’

‘Patricia Guerra’s extremely high standards and drive are remarkable. Her extensive experience and her multilingual and multicultural skills – a very important soft factor – are highly appreciated by clients. Her interest and in person engagement in philanthropy (both with large and small institutions) is a further important element in the private client practice.’

Niederer Kraft Frey AG

Catherine Grun Meyer and Thomas Graf lead the private client team at Niederer Kraft Frey AG; Meyer has expertise in succession planning work, while Graf specialises in national and international tax law. The firm’s client roster consists of Swiss and Swiss-domiciled individuals, which the group advises on estate planning issues, international asset transfers, family disputes, art law, and relocation mandates, among others. Clients particularly compliment the firm’s ‘tailor made‘ and ‘pragmatic’ solutions.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Grun Meyer; Thomas Graf


Other key lawyers:

Michaela Zehnder; Daniel Antognini; Tom Hochstrasser


Testimonials

‘I have worked with Thomas Graf and Catherine Grun Meyer. They are both very engaged, personable and knowledgeable.’

‘Catherine Grun Meyer – strong analytical skills and cross-border/conflict of laws expertise. Thomas Graf – a wealth of experience on Swiss and international tax matters relevant to private clients and their businesses. Pragmatic and solution-driven.’

‘As a full service firm, Niederer Kraft Frey can cover all aspects of a client’s needs. I always get the tailor-made solution by the respective specialists without delay. Hence, the firm can solve complex issues at a top-level. I am extremely content with them in all areas they work for me. Niederer Kraft Frey have a broad and in depth-knowledge and are very hands-on, always thinking of the best solution for the client. They know how I operate and what I value. We trust each other which speeds up the process so that we get quickly to the core of the issue.’

‘Catherine Grun Meyer is a pleasure to work with. Her advice is well thought through, measured and to the point. She has the capacity to understand and deal with what is going on at every level. She applies her deep legal expertise and broad industry knowledge to get to the results a client needs. She is a first-class lawyer and a great professional, and not only shows deep understanding of the case from a legal perspective, but also understands the personal implications for me.’

‘Catherine Grun Meyer is a true market leader. Daniel Antognini and Tom Hochstrasser are increasingly visible in the market too.’

‘Niederer Kraft Frey covers the whole spectrum of corporate, Tax and Private Client law. They know the Swiss market and market participants extremely well and are exceptionally well networked on the legal market. Every lawyer from Niederer Kraft Frey has remarkable knowledge of complex Private Client matters. The team have a lot of experience and bring innovative solutions with a holistic approach. In addition to its comprehensive legal capability, the firm has an incredibly modern set-up.’

‘Catherine Grun Meyer is my first person of contact and a very much appreciated legal colleague. With many years of experience in the practice of private clients, she is truly a luminary in the field of private client law with a strong technical knowledge. Catherine has great experience advising on complex private client matters. It is amazing how smoothly the cooperation with Catherine always runs and it is a real pleasure to work with her.’

‘Catherine Grun Meyer, Michaela Zehnder and Thomas Graf are all first-rate lawyers. They display significant care regarding outcomes for their clients. They are involved with the ‘whole family’ from the principals to the children – they know what makes each family member tick and this translates into practical advice.’

Pestalozzi

Pestalozzi‘s private client team is headed up by Oliver Widmer, Thomas Rohner and Christophe Emonet, and works for Swiss and non-Swiss individuals, families, wealth management service providers, and trusts. Areas of expertise include acting in contentious matters including inheritance disputes, tax and estate planning issues, wealth management work, real estate transactions, and the execution of wills. Clients praise the ‘high calibre‘ work as well as the ‘perfect industry and legal knowledge’, combined with ‘first-rate client care‘.

Testimonials

‘Oliver Widmer – truly exceptional lawyer and first rate client care.’

‘Pestalozzi assists with all my private matters, from defending my interests in our family conglomerate of companies to inheritance planning. They always brought into the team the people with the perfect industry and legal knowledge. It is very comforting for a client to know that whatever the matter is, they will make sure the appropriate team handles it.’

‘For the most difficult and complex matters, I always request Christophe Emonet to head the team. I fully trust his judgement and integrity. With him, I feel the entire burden taken off my shoulders. He is completely dedicated, immediately grasps the diverse family sensitivities that make the challenges I and my family companies sometimes face even more complex. He is capable of calming disputes and convincing even the most recalcitrant adversaries or relatives. He has a natural authority, extraordinary negotiating skills and highly respected human values.’

‘Thomas Rohner, our attorney at the firm, is an expert in his field, responsive to our inquiries and needs, caring about our interests, creative and resourceful in offering legal solutions, dependable, timely, delivers on his word, and is an excellent communicator. The combination makes him an excellent legal adviser for our organisation. We wish we had a Thomas Rohner representing our legal interests in every city and every country.’

‘An integrated team that covers a spectrum of legal disciplines. It’s nice to know that I can work with a team that is able to collaborate with specialists in-house.’

‘The calibre is high in the work that I’ve asked to be done.’

Key clients

Bank IHAG


Bank Maerki Baumann


Bank Reichmuth


Bank Rothschild


Bank Vontobel


Banque Cantonale de Genève


CERN, European Organization for Nuclear Research


Cofra Holding AG


Credit Agricole


Deutsche Bank Private Banking


Fleming Family & Partners (Suisse) AG


Hauck und Auhäuser


Maerki Baumann & CO


Marcuard


Merrill Lynch Trust Services


Private Clients Partner


Société Générale


Stonehage (Zürich) AG


Zulauf Family


Work highlights


  • Advised a client on worldwide investigations regarding transactions worth $80bn.

Bratschi Ltd

Bratschi Ltd‘s private client department is headed up by Ingmar JM Snijders, who works with all the major banks in Switzerland and brings expertise in trusts, foundations, estate planning issues and structured assets to the team. Other areas of expertise for the group include advising on succession planning, pre and post-nuptial agreements, wills, and the related dispute work. Notable individuals include Ivo Hungerbuhler and Michael Suter, who advises both private and corporate clients on civil law issues with an emphasis on inheritance law.

Practice head(s):

Ingmar JM Snijders


Other key lawyers:

Ivo Hungerbtihler, Michael Suter


Testimonials

‘I find them reliable honest and professional. Friendly and caring, work with a subject until it’s solved.’

‘Ingmar Snijders is professional and on the ball. He thinks ahead and proactively with his clients and follows through with whatever task is at hand. In addition to that he is a a creative thinker and looks for solutions where not everybody would look.’

‘Bratschi Ltd is a long-established firm based in Switzerland, which provides a broad range of legal services in Switzerland. The team are dedicated to their clients and go out of their way to provide a personal and professional service. They’re responsive, highly knowledgeable and professional. They’re determined to achieve the client’s objectives and form a tight knit team, putting the client’s needs first.’

‘Ingmar JM Snijders and Ivo Hungerbtihler are flexible and have good minds with up-to-date knowledge of the law and business. They are both very experienced and have a good knowledge of the law and practice in various other countries, which is indispensable for international matters and invaluable in working out cost effective strategies.’

‘I have worked with Ingmar Snijders who is very experienced in trust law related issues.’

‘Bratschi consistently provides top notch advice in private client matters. They are always on top of the legal issues and a step ahead of others.’

‘Ingmar Snijders stands out as being a superb attorney, who is quick and pragmatic, and always finds creative solutions for his clients. It is a pleasure work with him.’

FBT Attorneys-at-Law

Boutique firm FBT Attorneys-at-Law has a specific focus on cross-border issues between France and Switzerland, with particular expertise in international tax issues. Other key areas include handling individual relocations, succession planning and estate management issues, and restructurings. The practice includes Jean-Luc Bochatay, Michel Abt and Pascale Cano, and clients include names from the asset management and banking industries, as well as family offices.

Practice head(s):

Jean-Luc Bochatay; Pascal Cano


Other key lawyers:

Frederique Bensahel; Michel Abt


Testimonials

‘Always received the appropriate and requested advice from Jean-Luc Bochatay.’

‘Good understanding of international cross border tax issues, and a sensible understanding of the nuances of how Anglo-Saxon trusts operate.’

‘Jean-Luc Bochatay and Frederique Bensahel are particularly efficient and focused in the questions they pose, and solutions they provide for their clients.’

Work highlights


  • Advised on a complex and high-stake cross-border tax and estate planning issue.
  • Advised on the transmission of assets to the heirs of several marriages domiciled in different countries.
  • Advised a founder and principal shareholder on the sale of a company active in the new digital economy.

Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd

Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd‘s private client team is headed up by Georgia Fotiou and Michael Hamm, who are described by clients as ‘experienced’ with the ability to provide ‘outstanding advice‘. The firm assists clients with a broad spectrum of issues including succession planning work, cross-border estate matters, matrimonial and family law, and advice on charitable foundations.

Practice head(s):

Georgia Fotiou; Michael Hamm


Testimonials

‘Team work, experienced people with knowledge.’

‘Their professionalism and good knowledge of their field. They are accountable.’

‘Outstanding advice in succession planning and inheritance law.’

‘Michael Hamm and his team are able to explain complex issues and legal questions in comprehensible terms and always gives exceptionally helpful advice.’

‘Knowledge of applicable law and temperament to deal with clients from different cultures.’

‘Discrete and knowledge of practice areas that encompass the private client practice area.’

‘We were working with Michael Hamm on legal issues in connection with inheritance law. He is very well experienced and to the point.’

Key clients

Nesinco Group Ltd


Andritz Soutec Ltd


L.A.M. – Les Arts Mécaniques SA


New Energy Horizons Ltd


Private Capital Partners Ltd


Hegeler Carus Foundation


Work highlights


  • Advised a family trust as international lead counsel on the global restructuring of Les Arts Mécaniques.
  • Advised a UHNWI on the cross-border sale of artwork worth $500m.
  • Advised a HNW family as international lead counsel on the administration and division of a multi-jurisdictional estate.

Kellerhals Carrard

The private client team of Kellerhals Carrard is ‘highly regarded‘ by clients as ‘top notch‘ with ‘expertise in very complex jurisdictional matters‘. The team is headed up by Annette Spycher in Bern and Ingrid Iselin in Geneva, and handles inheritance litigation, private investment structuring transactions, tax and estate planning issues, and relocations to Switzerland. Christian Witschi and Frédérique Flournoy are also key names, complimented by clients for their ‘client focused‘ work.

Practice head(s):

Annette Spycher; Ingrid Iselin


Other key lawyers:

Christian Witschi; Frédérique Flournoy


Testimonials

‘Kellerhals Carrard are a phenomenal team. The expertise and professionalism which Kellerhals Carrard showed was second to none, and their particular strong point is their expertise in very complex jurisdictional matters, of which, I could not fault them. I have worked closely with Annette Spycher specifically, who is undeniably bright and who has an enormous understanding of family matters.’

‘I have worked closely with Annette Spycher. Annette is a force to be reckoned with. She is proactive, impressive and has a wealth of knowledge in family law. Annette is multi-lingual – she fluently and comprehensively speaks at least 5 languages, and it makes her delivery when dealing with English clients absolutely perfect. This is exceptionally important when dealing with niche, complex matters and Annette’s execution is flawless.’

‘Annette Spycher and Christian Witschi are highly skilled professionals with extensive experience in their fields of expertise and extraordinary language and communication skills. What I most value about them is their legal know how and their responsiveness.’

‘Highly regarded, in particular for private clients; high-net-worth individuals trust them with their most important legal issues.’

‘Frédérique Flournoy, very client focused and responsive.’

‘We work mainly with Kellerhals Carrard in Geneva when we have a case in the French speaking part of Switzerland. The team is very knowledgeable and always very well informed about the actual legal situation in Switzerland.’

‘We usually work with partner attorney Ingrid Iselin who is fluent in German and English and one of the few French speaking Swiss lawyers which are Certified Specialists by the Swiss Bar Association in Inheritance Law. Ingrid is very responsive and quickly grasps the key issues of a case. She also was member of the expert committee of Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice for the revision of the Inheritance Law.’

LALIVE

LALIVE's private client group leverages teams in both Zurich and Geneva, with the former practice headed up by Werner Jahnel and Simone Nadelhofer, and the latter led by Alexander Troller and Sandrine Giroud. The practice assists ultra-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals with matters spanning international inheritance law, art law, banking and financial services litigation, and matrimonial proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Werner Jahnel; Alexander Troller; Sandrine Giroud; Simone Nadelhofer


Testimonials

‘Alexandre Troller is amazing: very competent, very efficient and incredibly fast with a great and useful network.’

‘Very efficient. Respond to clients needs very promptly. Clarity. Honesty.’

‘Werner Jahnel: Excellent knowledge of inheritance laws. Looks for a solution without delay. Compassionate and caring to the clients needs. Honest and clear advice. Always there for the client. Speaks several languages. Always keen to obtain a quick and positive outcome for the client.’

‘The LALIVE team is very competent and genuinely has the the client’s best interest in mind. They are very prompt at responding.’

‘Empathy to the client’s situation. Speed of responsiveness. Quality of advice given is very high.’

‘Overall very good reputation in the private client department – especially in the Geneva branch.’

‘Much appreciated collaboration with colleague Sandrine Giroud, a very experienced and knowledgeable colleague in art and cultural property matters. Very friendly and responsive to deal with.’

Work highlights


  • Represented a UHNWI and related entities in one of the largest art fraud cases.
  • Advised a HNWI domiciled in Switzerland in relation to inheritance and asset structuring issues involving conducting a compatibility assessment of complex and successive trust structures with Swiss heirship rules, identifying and finding assets in Europe and Africa and subsequently drafting the wills.
  • Acted for an heiress in a complex cross-border succession dispute over real estate and other assets worth CHF40m located in Switzerland, Europe and North Africa.

Loyens & Loeff

Loyens & Loeff's practice, which is headed up by Beat Baumgartner, acts for a broad range of clients including international enterprises, high-net-worth individuals, family offices and private equity companies. The firm has particular experience in cross-border tax structuring mandates, but also assists with relocations to Switzerland, inheritance and estate planning issues, and advice relating to personal investment funds.

Practice head(s):

Beat Baumgartner


Testimonials

‘Solid team. Excellent international knowledge and collaboration. Loyens & Loeff is one of the few firms that are able to cope with complex cross-border cases in a practical and client friendly way without losing any quality. They collaborate internationally with top experts but remain a one-stop shop for the client.’

‘Beat Baumgartner: Excellent trustworthy professional with profound knowledge but at the same time very accessible and easy in his approach to clients.’

Work highlights


  • Assisted a Brazilian resident UHNWI with the establishment of a Swiss charitable foundation.
  • Assisted a Swiss resident and UHNWI on estate and tax planning matters involving assets located in jurisdictions such as Switzerland, Brazil, France, Germany, Belgium and Italy.

MME Legal | Tax | Compliance

Balz HöslyChristoph Nater, Alexandra Geiger and Christoph Rechsteiner jointly lead the private client practice at MME Legal | Tax | Compliance, bringing together their expertise in mediation, real estate matters, tax law and inheritance law to provide private clients with a variety of legal and compliance advice. Further areas of expertise for the practice include handling cross-border estate planning and family business issues, and real estate matters with a construction aspect.

Practice head(s):

Balz Hoesly; Christoph Nater; Alexandra Geiger; Christoph Rechsteiner


Testimonials

‘Alexandra Geiger is very hard working and has extensive knowledge of handling complex contentious estates.’

Key clients

Rahn+Bodmer Co.


Hatt-Bucher


Swiss Federal Office of Justice


Work highlights


  • Advised several customers of the oldest private bank in Zürich, Rahn+Bodmer Co., on private wealth, economic and real estate matters and (international) estate planning issues.
  • Advised the Frieda Locher Hofmann Foundation on all the regulatory and legal matters of the foundation.

Thouvenin Rechtsanwälte

Thouvenin Rechtsanwälte handles the full spectrum of private client mandates spanning estate planning issues, wills, pre and post-nuptial agreements and estate litigation. The practice is headed up by Sandra Spirig, Daniel Stoll and Pius Bumann, and clients compliment the group on its ‘long-standing expertise‘ and ability to provide ‘tailor-made advice‘.

Practice head(s):

Sandra Spirig; Daniel Stoll; Pius Bumann


Other key lawyers:

Thomas Loher


Testimonials

‘Thouvenin has an excellent private client team of lawyers. The team is small enough to provide tailor made advice to entrepreneurs and HNWI, yet it is sufficiently specialised to take care of the specific needs of private clients.’

‘Daniel Stoll and Thomas Loher stand out for their long-standing expertise. Sandra Spirig for her particular experience in inheritance law.’

‘The legal services provided remain at the highest level of merit, the lawyers demonstrate excellent knowledge and an individual approach to the client.’

‘Competent and responsive firm, good client engagement and access to partners.’

‘Small independent boutique and generally free of conflicts of interest. Very good advice also regarding tactical approach, responsive, professional lawyers with a high level of expertise in the offered fields of specialisation.’

‘Thomas Loher: Customer interest is the focus, reasoned approach, plus tactical approach, responsive, professional lawyer with a high level of expertise.’

‘Trusted long term relationship. Pragmatic and client oriented.’

‘Thomas Loher is a very experienced lawyer and has my full trust as an adviser not only on legal matters.’

Wenger Plattner

Wenger Plattner‘s private client team is headed up by Filippo Th Beck, who has notable experience in acting for private clients from the banking and financial markets sector. The firm is also able to offer entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals on a broad spectrum of matters including tax planning work, the establishment of charitable foundations, and will preparations.

Practice head(s):

Filippo Th Beck


Other key lawyers:

Daniel Gabrieli


Testimonials

‘As a private client I have found a real good lawyer at WengerPlattner who really listened to a multi-country Swiss legal case. Received very detailed, well understandable case information and received options of the solution possibilities. As I am a client not based in Switzerland, the communication was smooth and well explained for non-legally qualified clients.’

‘Strong specialisms.’

‘Daniel Gabrieli is brilliant – very sharp, quick in response, and a friendly chap to deal with.’

‘The attention to detail, the personal service and focus you receive from Wenger Plattner significantly outweighs the benefits of working with larger law firms.’

‘Daniel Gabrieli is a superb and very client oriented adviser, who is willing to go the extra mile to help us resolve and find solutions to problems.’

Work highlights


  • Represented Bosniaken Institut, Stiftung Adil Zulfikarpasic in an inheritance dispute over the inheritance of a late Bosnian politician.

Wenger Vieli Ltd

Wenger Vieli Ltd‘s private client department is singled out for its ‘pragmatism’ and ‘international expertise‘ and is headed up by Bruno Bächli and Michael Huber. The team offers clients assistance with executing and planning estates, cross-border tax issues, marital matters, relocation advice, and succession law. Other team members include the ‘experiencedDominik Bürgy in the tax department, Peter Altorfer and Marco Cereghetti, who has ‘technical expertise‘. Florian Wegmann left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Bruno Bächli; Michael Huber 


Other key lawyers:

Marco Cereghetti; Peter Altorfer; Dominik Bürgy


Testimonials

‘I have been impressed with the team’s international expertise. We worked on a complex estate with tax issues in Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and other countries. The team achieved an excellent result.’

‘Bruno Bächli and Marco Cereghetti. They have technical expertise as well as pragmatism and working in a collaborative way.’

‘Top service. Solid to the point legal consultation. On time delivery. Fine tuned with the clients need. The client gets a full picture.’

‘Always precise, accurate and responsive.’

‘Michael Huber: Accentuated, responsive and competent. Peter Altorfer: Experienced, quick and accentuated.’

‘Tax department: very responsive, high skill level, reasonable rates.’

‘Very responsive and experienced in cross border work. Deep understanding of tax and legal background in other countries.’

‘Bruno Bächli and Dominik Bürgy; both are very reliable and experienced partners in the field of private client tax services.’

Work highlights


  • Advised on the estate of a deceased UHNWI as international lead counsel and handled the distribution of the $1bn estate.
  • Advised an UHNWI as international lead counsel on simplifying their global wealth structure.
  • Represented an UHNW heir in the enforcement and protection of their rights under succession law against Swiss financial services providers of the testator.