Irene Welser > Cerha Hempel > Vienna, Austria > Lawyer Profile

Cerha Hempel

Work Department

Contentious Business


Senior Partner
Head of Department Contentious Business
Areas of practice:


Admitted 1992, (Attorney at Law), Austria

  • Chair of the Management Committee
  • Honorary Professor of Private Law (Civil and Commercial Law), Institute of Economics and Law, Faculty of Economics and Information Technology, University of Vienna, since 2003
  • Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC) (Board Member)
  • Bundesbeschaffung GmbH (Supervisory Board Member)
  • LEX MUNDI Global Chair Emeritus Litigation Arbitration Dispute Resolution
  • Contact Person of LEX MUNDI The World‘s Leading Network of Independent Law Firms
  • Examiners for the bar examination in Vienna (Board Member), since 1995
  • ÖGEBAU (Member of the scientific advisory council)
  • Legal publication „bauaktuell“ (Advisory Board Member)

Irene Welser became a Partner at CERHA HEMPEL before she turned 30. She heads the Contentious Business Department of the firm, with a team of approximately 20 lawyers. She has been practising law for more than 25 years and is also a former managing partner of the firm. Irene is a passionate litigator and arbitrator and advises domestic and international clients on commercial and civil law. She has a strong academic background and in 2003 she was appointed the youngest ever Honorary Professor (of Private Law) at the University of Vienna. ​ Irene became the first female board member of the Vienna International Arbitral Centre. She is also a LEX MUNDI Global Chair Emeritus Litigation Arbitration Dispute Resolution and a member of numerous other advisory boards. Irene regularly lectures and speaks at international conferences and seminars around the world.


German, English, French, Italian


  • Vienna Bar Association
  • International Bar Association
  • Austrian Arbitration Association
  • ASA – Association Suisse de l‘Arbitrage
  • Arbitral Women
  • LCIA – The London Court of International Arbitration
  • CELA – Chinese European Legal Association
  • Verein der Freunde Rechtswissenschaft
  • Scottish Arbitration
  • Wiener Advokatengesellschaft UNION
  • Lex Mundi – The World’s Leading Association of Independent Law Firms


University of Vienna (Mag. iur. 1986, Dr. iur. 1998); Hon. – Prof. 2003

Lawyer Rankings

Austria > Private client

With a strong basis in corporate law, Cerha Hempel guides UHNWI, funds and trusts in an array of matters related to foundations and businesses, estate and wealth management, and succession planning. In addition to heading the firm’s takeovers and antitrust team, Albert Birkner is firmly placed in the private client practice through numerous seats on the supervisory boards of major Austrian foundations. Head of the contentious business team Irene Welser brings to the table exceptional expertise in probate, succession, and estate disputes. Corporate lawyer Heinrich Foglar-Deinhardstein specialises in reorganisations, takeovers, and succession, while tax expert Benjamin Twardosz focuses on estate and tax planning, as well as advising on fiscal criminal law.

Austria > Dispute resolution: arbitration and mediation

(Hall of Fame)

Irene WelserCerha Hempel

Cerha Hempel‘s contentious business team is praised by clients for its ‘great competence’ and regularly represents clients as counsel in arbitration proceedings in a range of industries such as manufacturing, construction and energy. Described as ‘one of the top litigators and arbitrators in Austria,’ Irene Welser has a track record of acting as arbitrator in international arbitration proceedings and is recommended for construction, corporate, post-M&A and shareholder disputes.

Austria > Dispute resolution: commercial litigation

(Hall of Fame)

Irene WelserCerha Hempel

Described as ‘a paragon of legal excellence,’ Cerha Hempel demonstrates proficiency in unfair competition and state aid litigation, as well as private enforcement proceedings, cartel law disputes and professional liability claims. The team operates in an array of industries such as automotive, insurance, fintech and financial services. Practice head Irene Welser handles the full spectrum of national and international litigation and arbitration, with notable specialisms in corporate, post-M&A and shareholder disputes. Michaela Siegwart takes the lead on the firm’s insurance disputes, whereas Holger Bielesz is regularly instructed on insolvency, corporate and banking litigation, as well as consumer claims.