Firm Profile > Prager Dreifuss AG > Zurich, Switzerland
Prager Dreifuss AG Offices
Prager Dreifuss AG > The Legal 500 Rankings
The team at Prager Dreifuss AG is instructed by creditors, such as banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions, in restructuring and insolvency proceedings. It is also experienced in related litigation cases, which is a particular area of expertise for practice head Daniel Hayek and Gion Christian Casanova. Other names to note in the team include Gion Jegher and associate Mark Meili.
Other key lawyers:
Gion Christian Casanova; Gion Jegher; Mark Meili
Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (Security Agent)
Wilmington Trust National Association (Indenture Trustee)
Klaus Tschira Stiftung gGmbH
Dr. H.c. Tschira Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG
Attestor Value Master Fund LP
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Centerbridge Partners LP
Insurance Tier 2
Prager Dreifuss AG advises on a multitude of insurance related matters, from regulatory issues and representing clients before authorities to acting as counsel for national and international insurance and re-insurance companies, but with a particularly strong focus on dispute resolution before federal courts or arbitration tribunals. The team is regularly involved in high-profile insurance and reinsurance investigations and disputes. Practice head Christoph Graber has particular specialisations in banking and financial services as well as D&O, product liability, aviation and maritime insurance.
‘Pragmatic and well-structured approach in resolving liability disputes.’
‘Christoph Graber is a highly respected and experienced trial lawyer with a strong solution orientation.’
‘Andrea Stäubli has become a major asset as well. Highly knowledgeable and efficient.’
‘Prager Dreifuss is a unique mid-size law firm in Zurich, Switzerland which is big enough to take on any legal challenge, inclusive of the most complex disputes (litigation and/or arbitration) but at the same time small enough to keep a human dimension with a “boutique” touch and a total focus on the client and its needs. The firm holds a specialized team of insurance and re-insurance lawyers led by Christoph Graber. This team is solely dedicated to representing and defending their clients’ interests in insurance and re-insurance related matters, making it probably one of – if not the most – specialised team amongst the leading Swiss law firms. Prager Dreifuss’s insurance team provides advice in all insurance and reinsurance relevant topics and is able to represent its client’s interest in any dispute before any Swiss Court or in national or international arbitration proceedings. The team is available “around the clock” and totally dedicated to its clients cases, even if this means working long days on these inclusive of a couple of consecutive weekends because of a tight deadline.’
‘Christoph Graber is a highly seasoned, experienced and respected insurance lawyer with an extended track record. He is also a very respected scholar in the area of Swiss insurance law (e. g. his contribution to the “Basler Kommentar” the standard work on Swiss Insurance Law). Andrea Stäubli and Reto Jenny are both highly skilled insurance lawyers with a brilliant academical background, dynamic, young and at the same already very experienced. Together with Christoph Graber they make one of the best insurance lawyers teams I have ever worked with.’
‘The team‘s members have excellent academic backgrounds, and contribute to legal commentaries and law journals on a regular basis.’
Capital markets Tier 3
The team at Prager Dreifuss AG is instructed by companies, banks and financial service providers on a variety of matters. The group advises on IPOs, stock exchange law, public and private placements, and initial coin offerings. Practice head Urs Bertschinger also has experience in financial market regulation. Andreas Moll and Michael Mosimann are other key practitioners.
Other key lawyers:
Andreas Moll; Michael Mosimann
Fintech Tier 3
Prager Dreifuss AG is specialised in advising start-ups in the fintech area, primarily on corporate, contractual and regulatory issues. The team assists emerging companies with crypto and distributed ledger technology projects, handling regulatory assessments and advising on compliance matters, as well as drafting and revising contracts and filing applications for financial market licences, among others. Practice head Michael Mosimann is experienced in advising on financial market regulations as well as corporate and contract law and assisting with venture capital financing transactions.
Banking and finance: Zurich Tier 4
Prager Dreifuss AG's team is instructed by investors and companies from industries including defence, pharmaceuticals and financial services, among others. It has experience acting for borrowers as well as lenders on credit facilities, and it advises on syndicated loans, project finance transactions and acquisition finance. Daniel Hayek also handles matters relating to the real estate sector. He jointly leads the team with Andreas Moll. Zug-based Michael Mosimann is a 'highly professional, detailed and knowledgeable lawyer'; he was promoted to partner in January 2020.
Daniel Hayek; Andreas Moll
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is very solution-oriented and super professional. The answers always come super promptly and you can see that there is a good interdisciplinary cooperation.’
‘The members are down-to-earth and customer-oriented in their advice. They are aware that the counterpart is usually not a lawyer and adapt the language accordingly.’
‘Michael Mosimann is highly recommended. I have never had a more reliable partner in the past.’
‘Agile, expert and very responsive team.’
‘Michael Mosimann has always come through as a highly professional, detailed and knowledgeable lawyer within the field. Whenever we have a question or a task to be solved, we can always trust it will be promptly and correctly handled.’
Competition Tier 4
The team at Prager Dreifuss AG is led by Philipp Zurkinden in Bern and advises on a range of Swiss and EU competition matters. It is able to assist with cartel and merger proceedings, state aid and public procurement. The group is a popular choice for clients from the Swiss market. Counsel Bernhard Lauterburg is a key name for antitrust proceedings.
Other key lawyers:
‘Competent, reliable, compliant with deadlines.’
‘Philipp Zurkinden has extensive knowledge of antitrust law.’
Sunrise Communications AG
Schweizerische Mobiliar Versicherungsgesellschaft AG
Swiss Brands Association
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO
The team at Prager Dreifuss AG has experience in insurance and reinsurance disputes as well as in contentious proceedings relating to debt collection and bankruptcies. It also represents companies and individuals in a variety of commercial cases. Practice head Urs Feller, Daniel Hayek, Christian Casanova and counsel Marcel Frey are the names to note.
Other key lawyers:
Daniel Hayek; Christian Casanova; Marcel Frey
‘Very focused, thorough and commercial.’
‘Urs Feller – great strategic sense, knows which points to take and which to avoid, has judicial experience as well, which is helpful.’
‘Marcel Frey – hard worker, very clever, knows all the answers.’
‘The Prager-Dreifuss team can quickly familiarize itself with new subject areas, work out proposed solutions and present them successfully at all management levels. They bring the legal down to business-talk so everybody understands.’
‘Urs Feller manages to keep calm, even in the most complex, hectic and political situations, to get everyone on board and to convey simple solutions.
‘The litigation team is an excellent one. Standouts are Urs Feller and Marcel Frey.’
‘Urs Feller is highly responsive, flexible on fees, commercial and pragmatic in approach and thinking. He is also very user friendly with foreign clients and adapts his approach well to the particular situation.’
Mr. Anthony Braesch of Bouchoms & Braesch (Luxembourg)
Attestor Value Master Fund / Trinity Investments Limited
Prager Dreifuss AG is particularly notable for its activity in the fields of insolvency, banking, and litigation as well as capital markets, tax, and corporate and M&A. The key contacts at the firm are Andreas Moll, Daniel Hayek, Christian Casanova, Urs Bertschinger, Philipp Zurkinden and Roland Böhi.
Other key lawyers:
Andreas Moll; Christian Casanova; Urs Bertschinger; Philipp Zurkinden; Roland Böhi
Tax Tier 4
Led by Roland Böhi, the team at Prager Dreifuss AG is instructed by corporate as well as private clients. The group advises on the tax aspects of transactions, and its workload includes tax matters relating to real estate, restructuring and compliance.
‘Very competent, fast and satisfactory.’
‘Roland Böhi: matter expertise, solution oriented, clear advice.’
‘Roland Böhi as head of the team personally ensures that all clients receive optimal advice.’
The team at Prager Dreifuss AG has a core focus on corporate issues, M&A and venture capital-related matters. The team handles establishments, restructurings, due diligence exercises and negotiations for Swiss companies, as well as advising venture capital investors and start-ups on a range of work in the space. Andreas Moll is a corporate specialist with a particular focus on the energy and infrastructure sector and Daniel Hayek is a name to note for the financial services and real estate industries; together, they lead the team. Matthias Bürge and Michael Mosimann are other key contacts.
Andreas Moll; Daniel Hayek
Other key lawyers:
Matthias Bürge; Michael Mosimann
‘Andreas Moll is one of the best overseas counsel I have ever instructed; smart, commercial, great with clients, transparent on fees, and fun to work with.’
‘Very practical and commercially shrewd!’
‘Andreas Moll – our go-to partner for every matter, be it commercial and M&A or financial.’
‘Expert and very pragmatic and responsive team.’
‘Michael Mosimann has always come through as a highly professional, detailed and knowledgeable lawyer. You can trust him to handle matters promptly and correctly.’
Prager Dreifuss AG > Firm Profile
The firm: Prager Dreifuss is an independent, full-service law firm with over 37 years of experience in commercial law, with specialised expertise in: corporate and M&A; venture capital; banking and finance; capital markets; insolvency and restructuring; competition and regulatory law; insurance and reinsurance law; dispute resolution; private clients; tax; IP/IT, employment and pensions; real estate and construction and white-collar crime and investigations. The firm is ideally placed to assist international and domestic clients in a wide range of legal matters.
Entrepreneurial thinking, outstanding expertise and lean overhead structures help the team to achieve cost efficient and innovative advice also in the most complex matters – tailored, efficient and dedicated to its clients’ needs.
Areas of practice
Banking and finance: A special focus of our practice is on cross-border project and transaction financing. We advise investors and companies in choosing an adequate financing structure and ensuring professional implementation. The Banking & Finance Team of Prager Dreifuss was a pioneer in the introduction of syndicated loans in the Swiss market in connection with leveraged finance and project-financing transactions in various industries (e.g., technology, communication, automotive, chemicals and transport, etc.).
Our services include the following:
- Advice on syndicated loans for working capital, acquisition and project financing
- Structured finance and leveraged-buyout financing that combines senior loans and mezzanine loans
- Acquisition financing for private-equity firms
- Representing entities offering senior and mezzanine debt
- Advice in connection with international OTC derivatives, securities lending and repo framework contracts
Capital markets: We advise banks, insurance companies and other financial service providers on complex national and international capital markets law issues. The SIX Swiss Exchange recognizes lawyers of the firm as knowledgeable representatives of issuers. On this basis, we support companies planning an IPO. We advise listed companies on all matters relating to stock-exchange legislation, such as ad-hoc disclosures and the reporting of management transactions.
Our services include the following:
- Structuring and transaction advisory services for issuers
- Public and private placements (incl. IPOs)
- Drafting contracts and prospectuses
- “Swiss finish” for international issuance programmes or offering documentation
- Advice in dealing with regulatory compliance in connection with securities offerings
- Advice regarding legal issues relating to collective investment schemes
- Ad-hoc disclosures, management transactions, prohibition on insider trading and other market conduct rules
- Corporate governance, compensation
Competition and regulatory matters: Prager Dreifuss has established an internationally recognized experience in competition law and regulatory matters. We regularly represent companies of all sizes in antitrust and merger control proceedings before the Swiss competition authorities and support our clients with regard to compliance with competition law for distribution and licensing matters, collaborations and other day-to-day business. Excellent knowledge of EC competition law and proficiency in various languages facilitate cooperation with law firms abroad on international matters.
We advise and represent clients in particular in the following areas:
- National and international merger control proceedings, reporting to the Swiss Competition Commission
- Antitrust investigation proceedings, subpoenas, sanction proceedings
- Sales and licensing contractual arrangements
- Practices of market-dominant companies
- Compliance Programmes competition law
- Civil antitrust proceedings (e.g., actions for damages)
- Public procurement and State aid law
- Regulatory issues
- EU monitoring services in sector-specific areas through our office in Brussels
Clients appreciate the team’s “responsiveness and client dedicattion” and admire their “high levels of availability, quick perception and excellent analytical thinking” alongside a “very customer-focused approach.” (Chambers Europe 2018)
Corporate and M&A: Our core business includes advising clients in the the acquisition of companies and business groups, as well as M&A and other restructuring. We perform tasks for our clients in connection with contracts required for such transactions, including legal due diligence of a target company, setting up acquisition vehicles and optimizing the capital and tax structure. In this regard, we draw on our excellent interdisciplinary knowledge, including in the areas of tax, competition, banking, employment and intellectual property law.
Our services include the following:
- Acquisitions and sales, mergers and spin-offs
- Joint ventures
- Private equity transactions
- Preparation for and conducting of general shareholder meetings
- General legal issues in connection with M&A and corporate law
- Advice to boards of directors with regard to director’s liabilities and legal strategy aspects
- Support of companies within the framework of corporate housekeeping and corporate compliance
Dispute resolution: Dispute resolution has a long standing tradition at Prager Dreifuss. We appear as counsel representing parties before courts and administrative authorities. In debt collection and bankruptcy matters, our attorneys draw on their experience as counsel representing parties or as private bankruptcy and debt-restructuring administrators. International arbitration has attained a special significance in our firm. A number of our attorneys are regularly appointed as arbitrators in institutional and ad-hoc arbitration tribunals.
Our services include the following:
- Dispute resolution before national courts
- Representation before arbitration tribunals and in ADR proceedings
- Strategic advice for the settlement of disputes
- Legal assistance in civil and criminal matters
- Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments
Employment and pensions: We advise companies and staff in senior management roles on personnel issues, obtain official permits and provide advice on regulatory matters. Based on our extensive experience in all areas of employment law, we offer customized solutions in the HR field and assistance in the restructuring of companies. We advise our clients in the preparation of up-to-date compensation structures that make them attractive employers.
Our expertise in the area of employment law includes:
- Drafting of employment contract concepts, regulations and operating manuals
- Contractual arrangements for senior executives
- Drafting of standard employment contracts
- Incentive and employee participation programmes
- Transfer of businesses or business units, outsourcing
- Terminations, exemptions and collective redundancies
- Compliance with data protection regulations
- Social security law
- Posting of employees and work permits
Insolvency and restructuring: With extensive experience, Prager Dreifuss advises banks and other financial institutions as well as corporate debtors and their governing bodies on all issues that arise in connection with an impending insolvency or bankruptcy and in reorganizations and restructurings. We represent creditors in bankruptcy-related litigation, whether in registering or purchasing claims or in enforcing disputed claims vis-à-vis bankruptcy administrators and before courts.
Our practice in the area of insolvency & restructuring includes:
- Capitalisation and structural measures in reorganisation and liquidation scenarios
- Representing the interests of creditors in complex Swiss bankruptcies as well as in cross-border cases
- Advice on the purchases and sales of distressed-debt claims
- Advice in the area of national and international enforcement
- Managing proceedings involving scheduling and avoidance of claims
- Representing parties in proceedings of recognition of foreign bankruptcies
Insurance and reinsurance: Prager Dreifuss has many years of experience in Swiss and international insurance and reinsurance law and is one of the leading providers of legal services in this field. We advise insurers and reinsurers on national and international matters involving contract law and regulatory issues. A focus of our activity in the area of insurance law is the processing of complex claims, ranging from examining the claim to assess coverage issues and handling claims to representing our clients before courts and arbitration tribunals.
Our services in the field of insurance and reinsurance include the following:
- Advice on regulatory, contractual and supervisory issues
- Advice on (re-)insurance and broker contracts
- Permits for insurance companies
- Handling complex insurance claims, including in the areas of professional and public liability, liability of corporate bodies, justified reliance, product liability as well as air and transport law
- Representation before courts, arbitration tribunals and vis-à-vis supervisory authorities (FINMA, etc.)
IP and IT: We advise public and private companies on media and intellectual property issues, draft contracts and manage cases. We have been able to gather experience over an extended period in the licensing of rights to films and sporting events. Another focus of our activities has been on Information technology law. In recent years, we have planned, supported and conducted numerous outsourcing transactions and technology transfers.
Our services include the following:
- Licensing of intellectual property rights, marketing of sports rights
- Sales, including parallel imports
- Patent law
- Trademarks and design rights
- Copyrights, computer software and information technology
- Unfair competition
- Protection of know-how and trade secrets
- Investment financing and guarantees on intellectual property rights
- Data protection
Private client: We advise our clients in connection with the administration and transfer of their assets during and beyond their lifetime. We have a long tradition of advising private clients, which for us implies a partnership based on mutual trust. We assist entrepreneurs in comprehensive succession planning and in drafting the instruments necessary for such planning. We develop and implement exit strategies. For individuals, we handle estate matters and execution of wills as well as legal representation in inheritance matters.
Our practice in the area of private clients includes:
- Trusts and estate planning
- Succession planning for family businesses
- Testamentary contracts and assets agreements
- Wills and donations
- Trusts and foundations
- Execution of wills, estate administration, estate distributions
- International disputes relating to trusts and foundations, estate and inheritance matters
- Change of residence within Switzerland and abroad
- International divorce proceedings
Real estate and construction: Our specialized attorneys have many years of experience in the fields of real estate transactions, private construction law and tourism. We have supported numerous and prominent hotel projects from financing through opening, advised our clients in the tender process and executed complex, multi-use property developments as well as tailor-made financing packages. We advise architects, engineers and other specialists as well as entrepreneurs, landowners, project developers and hotel operators. Our fields of expertise include the following areas:
- Real estate transactions
- Real estate financing
- Service contracts, general and total service contracts for major construction projects
- Commercial leases (contract drafting, negotiation, enforcement)
- Damages and delays in construction and infrastructure projects
- Payment disputes
- Builder’s liens
Tax Changing market demands force companies to continually review their locations, structures and processes. The tax burden is an important cost factor in this review. We develop tailored solutions in the context of tax optimization, tax planning and structuring of holding structures. In addition to expertise in taxation and its financial reporting, our tax team has extensive practical experience in advising individuals and corporations and representing them before tax authorities. Thanks to our international network of contacts, we handle cross-border projects smoothly and effectively.
Our services include the following:
- Tax-favourable company and transaction structuring
- Tax-favourable financing of international groups
- Planning and implementation of international structures for groups
- Cross-border tax planning and optimization for companies and individuals
- Executive compensation plans
- Tax-favourable estate planning and consulting for substantial family assets
- Cross-border VAT issues
- Avoiding international double taxation
Venture capital: We advise founders and all kinds of investors in connection with debt-, mezzanine-, or equity financings of venture companies as well as in connection with token sales (initial coin offerings or ICO). Our VC experienced specialists are capable of preparing, negotiating and executing financing rounds of companies regardless of its growth stage in a pragmatic and cost efficient, yet all-inclusive manner (incl. notarization). After the completion of the investment process, we advise our clients during the holding period and in an exit event (cf. corporate and M&A and capital markets).
Our services include among others:
- Tax and regulatory structuring of the investment
- Drafting and negotiating term sheets
- Preparation of capitalization tables
- Drafting, negotiating and executing investment, loan, convertible loan, and/or shareholders’ agreements
- Drafting and negotiating of other transaction documents (e.g. employment agreements and employee participation programs)
- Advising the preparation of white papers and regulatory assessment of initial coin offerings
- Notarization of the financing
White-collar crimes and investigations: Prager Dreifuss advises companies and executives in connection with official inquiries, compliance and internal and external investigations. We advise and represent clients in various white-collar sectors, including property crimes, infringements of regulations, insider trading, money laundering and the fight against corruption.
Our services include the following:
- Internal and regulatory white-collar crime investigations in the financial services sector and antitrust law
- Representing interests in internal and governmental investigations before domestic and foreign supervisory and law enforcement authorities
- Clarification of possible criminal acts and regulatory offences by managers and employees as well as advice with respect to measures to correct perceived shortcomings
- Compliance programmes, internal codes of conduct
- Corruption prevention
|Banking and finance||Daniel S Hayekfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Banking and finance||Dr Andreas Mollemail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Capital markets||Prof Dr Urs Bertschingerfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Capital markets||Daniel S Hayekemail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Capital markets||Dr Michael Mosimannfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Competition and regulatory matters||Prof Dr Philipp E Zurkindenemail@example.com||+41 31 327 54 54|
|Competition and regulatory matters||Prof Dr Urs Bertschingerfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Corporate and M&A||Daniel S Hayekemail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Corporate and M&A||Dr Hans-Ulrich Brunnerfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Corporate and M&A||Dr Andreas Mollemail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Corporate and M&A||Verena Morscherfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Dispute resolution||Dr Urs Felleremail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Dispute resolution||Dr Christoph K Graberfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Dispute resolution||Gaudenz F Domenigemail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Employment and pensions||Dr Urs Brunnerfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Employment and pensions||Ralph Butzemail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Insolvency and restructuring||Daniel S Hayekfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Insurance and reinsurance||Dr Christoph K Graberemail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Insurance and reinsurance||Dr Hans-Ulrich Brunnerfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|IP and IT||Ralph Butzemail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|IP and IT||Gaudenz F Domenigfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Private clients||Dr Urs Brunneremail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Private clients||Ralph Butzfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Private clients||Dr Tis Prageremail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Real estate and construction||Dr Hans-Ulrich Brunnerfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Real estate and construction||Dr Tis Prageremail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Real estate and construction||Dr Urs Fellerfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Real estate and construction||Dr Jvo Grundleremail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Tax||Dr Roland Böhifirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|White-collar crimes and investigations||Dr Urs Felleremail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|White-collar crimes and investigations||Dr Christoph K Graberfirstname.lastname@example.org||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Venture Capital||Dr Michael Mosimannemail@example.com||+41 44 254 55 55|
|Dr iur Roland Böhi||Partner and Certified Tax Expert||View Profile|
|lic iur Matthias Bürge||ASSOCIATED Partner||View Profile|
|Dr iur Marino Baldi||Senior Counsel||View Profile|
|Prof Dr iur Urs Bertschinger||Partner||View Profile|
|Dr iur Urs Brunner||Partner||View Profile|
|Dr iur Hans-Ulrich Brunner||Partner||View Profile|
|lic iur Ralph Butz||Partner||View Profile|
|Dr iur Gion Christian Casanova||Partner||View Profile|
|lic iur Gaudenz F. Domenig||Of Counsel||View Profile|
|Dr iur Urs Feller||Partner||View Profile|
|lic iur Nicole Fröhlich||Associate and Certified Tax Expert||View Profile|
|lic iur Marcel Frey||Counsel||View Profile|
|Dr iur Christoph K. Graber||Partner||View Profile|
|Dr iur Jvo Grundler||Of Counsel||View Profile|
|lic iur Daniel Hayek||Partner||View Profile|
|Dr iur Gion Jegher||Associated Partner||View Profile|
|Dr iur Reto M. Jenny||Partner||View Profile|
|lic iur Isabel A. Kölliker||Associate||View Profile|
|lic iur Michaela Kappeler||Associate||View Profile|
|lic iur Raphael Keller||Associate||View Profile|
|lic iur Bernhard C. Lauterburg||Counsel||View Profile|
|lic iur Nina Lim||Associate||View Profile|
|lic iur Mark Meili||Associate||View Profile|
|Dr iur Andreas Moll||Partner||View Profile|
|lic iur Verena Morscher||Partner||View Profile|
|Dr iur Michael Mosimann||Partner||View Profile|
|Dr iur Rahel A. Nedi||Associate||View Profile|
|lic iur Corinne Nobs||Counsel||View Profile|
|Dr iur Tis Prager||Partner||View Profile|
|Dr iur Christian Schönfeld||Associate||View Profile|
|lic iur Lukas Scherer||Associate and Certified Tax Expert||View Profile|
|Dr iur Andrea Stäubli||Associate||View Profile|
|lic iur Thierry Steib||Associate||View Profile|
|lic iur Manuel Vogler||Associate||View Profile|
|Prof Dr iur Philipp E. Zurkinden||Partner||View Profile|
Staff FiguresNumber of lawyers : 40
LanguagesEnglish French German Italian Mandarin Spanish Swedish Dutch Portuguese Russian Afrikaans
OtherOther offices : Berne Other offices : Brussels
Daniel Hayek, Managing PartnerManaging Partner Daniel Hayek of Prager Dreifuss on the dilemma of culture and change
How are legal services going to develop in the future?
The move from a traditional law firm to working with digital support technologies requires a complete change of mind. It depends on the willingness to further invest and to change existing professional and cultural standards. The upcoming technologies will have to come with a lower price tag to enable profitable work. An open question is also the training of lawyers which will need to be done by separate learning sessions if the standard legal work such as simple contracts, the establishment of standard companies etc. is to be replaced by the new technologies effectively.
In a more distant future these issues might be resolved and lead to automated workflows at high speed and low cost. But in any event, this will be limited to simple legal issues such as standard contracts, e.g. lease agreements and employment contracts. Complex transactions require more than legal knowledge, they involve negotiation skills and much more which cannot easily be replaced by automated workflows. The use of artificial intelligence software for due diligence in M&A transactions (Luminance) is another field where software support makes law firms more efficient.
It goes without saying that we see a scenario of survival of the most flexible, i.e. those who can easily adapt to the “new normal”.
What do you see as the main points that differentiate Prager Dreifuss from the competitors?
We often read about how differentiated the legal market actually is and we have great difficulty in describing it precisely. Today, we use terms such as “boutique” or “full-service” to describe the focus of the service and “champions” or “housekeepers” for the complexity a firm can handle. “Strategic” versus “bread and butter” is just one more example. In an era of change, it is important to be able to position oneself clearly. This helps the client in the selection of its lawyers, the lawyers themselves in the strategic development of their business and in the targeted recruitment of talent.
At Prager Dreifuss we have realized that shared values are the main driver of success and we take pride in our culture, in particular the culture of equality. We do not function very hierarchically; every employee can contribute easily without any hurdles. One remarkable cultural consensus in the firm is the willingness to go the extra mile for our clients. We have a shared mindset that materializes when we say to our clients: “consider it solved”.
One aspect that differentiates Prager Dreifuss is our value proposition. When we assess the expertise at hand, as a mid-size law firm we are punching well above our weight. Our lawyers strive to exceed our clients’ expectations. And these revolve around aspects such as quality of our work even in the most complex legal context, timeliness, appropriate communication and documentation.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
I believe that the situation of the legal department within a company has changed considerably in recent times and is still undergoing transformation. Entrepreneurs are increasingly looking at the matter through the eyes of risk management, rather than from a strategic perspective. In-house legal departments are therefore increasingly being run with management methods, just like any other department. The question of efficiency and effectiveness is part of the method kit, and in day-to-day business, regulation, compliance and documentation play the most important role in companies.
This is where LegalTech is particularly effective and the reduction of non-productive elements in the work process is progressing. If entrepreneurs see the success of this digitalization, they naturally demand the same developments from their law firms and force the legal profession to digitalize.
However, we believe in the benefits and are investing specifically in the introduction of such systems. We see above all the increase in efficiency and the resulting capacity gains for high-end work. Yes, some law firms will be able to offer customers the repetitive work at a lower price. However, the lawyers at Prager Dreifuss do not seek an overload with repetitive work, but are looking for exciting and challenging tasks. Due to the Corona crisis we have had to ensure business continuity while organizing home office for more than 60 lawyers and assistants. We have successfully managed to do so, including our outside IT providers who also work on new projects from home. Negotiations have been forced to switch to video conferences and may continue to do so after the crisis. Clients will benefit from lower costs for travel and lawyers will be able to cut down on sometimes stressful travel.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
In our firm, we have recently made a major investment in digitalization. We are aware that this is where the future lies and that we must give our clients the assurance that sensitive data is treated appropriately. Only with this certainty customers want to work with us digitally. In our firm, we have done our homework and we are ready for the next steps with our clients.
I actually was satisfied to see how smooth the systems run when we all had to move to home offices in March. The pandemic forced us to collaborate in ways we never imagined. I did not expect that we could run our law firm with 60 people working remotely. But this is exactly what happened. We have run client meetings over two continents with many people involved for a few hours without any downtime.
The change we have implemented with our Business Continuity Exercise will allow us to reduce the number of physical meetings abroad, thereby massively reducing costs. My guess is that we can save at least 75 percent of our travel expenses and a lot of unproductive time spent in airports and on planes.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
Unfortunately, the effects of the pandemic will continue to concern us. It is quite obvious that insolvency and restructuring in Switzerland will be in greater demand in the future, the state aid will only soothe but not heal the damages affecting global economy. Loans granted by the governments will have to be repaid in the future.
On the other hand, we see positive indicators regarding the start-up segment. This is where we also have built up new resources. We are close to the start-up centers around Zurich and support founders setting up their companies, legal frameworks, shareholder agreements and cooperation models. But also financing start-ups is an area where we can help.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
We are working intensively with Hedge Funds in the distressed assets domain. This is an area where a lawyer progresses from being a cost factor to becoming a strategic core function when analyzing assets to be purchased such as arbitration awards or claims into bankrupt estates. Lawyers can actually contribute to the clients’ earnings which are directly related to their advice. Needless to say, this is a very rewarding task that I am really passionate about.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
Clients are actually looking for a long-term relationship with their strategically savvy lawyers. At the same time, they want us to have the adequate technical support, including where appropriate the upheavals shaped by digitalization in order to work with them successfully. Prager Dreifuss can already offer both, but we strive to grow even more in order to offer our expertise to even more and even larger clients.