LALIVE > Geneva, Switzerland > Firm Profile

PO BOX 6569
1211 GENEVA 6

Switzerland > Dispute resolution: arbitration Tier 1

LALIVE ‘delivers seamless advice’ and is a key name in the market for commercial and investment arbitration, representing individuals, multinationals, state entities and states; clients include Romania, Mauritius and the Republic of Latvia. The team also has substantial expertise in the construction and infrastructure, energy, mining, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology industries; it recently represented Prairie Mining in a UNCITRAL arbitration involving the Australian/Poland bilateral investment treaty. Matthias Scherer and Joachim Knoll jointly lead the team; Scherer is praised for his investor-state arbitration knowledge and Knoll is active in disputes arising from commercial transactions. Michael Schneider has expertise in energy and construction claims, Teresa Giovannini focuses on contractual disputes, Veijo Heiskanen regularly acts for governments and foreign investors, and Melissa Magliana is ‘very strong on tactics and strategy’.

Practice head(s):


‘The Lalive team are hyper-efficient, both as to costs and driving the case forward. They’re sharp, aggressive and highly competent.’

‘The Lalive team did not waste words and did not simply create ‘paper’ or unnecessary write-ups. They were unique in their decisiveness and efficiency, without compromising quality. This, to me, is the hallmark of a bona fide expert.’

‘Unique focus on litigation and international arbitration. Great coverage of a variety of different jurisdictions within the team.’

‘Lalive have a high functioning team that delivers seamless advice and documents from the firm. It is a well oiled machine that is focused, smart and timely. I have been very impressed by the dedication of its staff to deliver an absolutely first class product.’

‘They are not only great lawyers but also commercially savvy. They have made a real effort to understand our business and its drivers. Their advice is smart and makes good common sense. A very practical group of people.’

‘Joachim Knoll and Melissa Magliana are very good lawyers, experienced and easy to work with. Joachim has very good knowledge about the market and the experts to be engaged. Melissa is very strong on tactics and strategy applied to the facts. On top of that, Teresa Giovannini always guarantees the highest possible quality for any client.’

‘Matthias Scherer: extensive knowledge and experience in investor-state arbitration, including ICSID proceedings; very good analytical skills; provides high quality advice; efficient and focused way of working; reacts quickly to new developments; very pleasant and approachable personality.’

‘Veijo Heiskanen: good strategic planning of the proceedings; very experienced consultant with excellent analytical skills; very pleasant and calm personality.’

Key clients


Prairie Mining




DSG Yapi San Tic A.S.

Republic of Latvia

Indiana Resources and Winshear Gold Corporation

Lupaka Gold Corporation

Work highlights

  • Representing Romania in a $2.1bn ICSID dispute with Swedish investors relating to tax enforcement measures in the food and beverage industry.
  • Representing four related Australian and UK entities of Prairie Mining in an UNCITRAL arbitration invoking the Australian/Poland BIT and arising out of a mine and hard coking coal project in Poland.
  • Representing Switzerland in the first ICSID arbitration against the country in a $1.2bn claim invoking the Switzerland-Hungary BIT regarding the alleged expropriation of real estate property.

Switzerland > Dispute resolution: litigation Tier 2

With ‘a very client-oriented and success-driven approach’, LALIVE handles the full range of international and domestic civil and criminal litigation, acting for global corporations, states and high-net-worth individuals. Key areas of strength for the group encompass commercial, banking, private client and commercial disputes alongside experience in insolvency proceedings and white-collar crime work; the team also gains international mandates from its involvement in the Terralex network. Group co-heads Sandrine Giroud (who focuses on trust disputes) and André Brunschweiler are based in Geneva, while Marc Henzelin and Simone Nadelhofer are the key contacts for white-collar crime work.


‘Very client-oriented and success-driven approach. Large resources to form a team for specific litigation cases.’

‘Simone Nadelhofer is very professional and experienced and focuses on client protection. Good cooperation with other internal and external lawyer teams.’

‘Great mix of litigation skills, from criminal/compliance issues through art law/evidence.’

‘Sandrine Giroud: brilliant, user-friendly, my go-to litigator for anything in the jurisdiction.’

‘Great team to work with. All at the top of their game as litigators and highly polished. I would see Lalive as the stand out firm for us in Geneva.’

‘Sandrine Giroud is an extremely smart and capable lawyer. Highly knowledgeable and has particular expertise in conflict of law issues and complex litigation more generally, as well as art law. Simone Nadelhofer, also very impressive and clearly very well regarded among her peers in Switzerland.’

‘Daniel Buhr is a wonderful combination of investigative expert and compliance counsellor. He knows how the pieces fit together and can predict obstacles and find solutions.’

‘Alex Troller is respected by the banks and an excellent advisor on issues involving bank regulation.’

Key clients

Bankas Snoras

Koenig & Bauer Banknote Solutions SA


Work highlights

  • Representing and assisting FIFA in relation to the criminal investigation against its president, Gianni Infantino.
  • Acting for several major institutional and private ultra-high-net-worth investors with regard to potential major losses incurred in connection with the Greensill collapse.
  • Representing a company active in the commodities trading market in a dispute regarding the allegedly fraudulent financing of a related company using international sales of goods and letters of credit.

Switzerland > Leading firms: French-speaking Switzerland Tier 2

LALIVE is well known for its strengths in domestic and international dispute resolution and arbitration. The key practitioners Matthias Scherer, Alexander Troller, Sandrine Giroud, Domitille Baizeau, Marc Henzelin, Veijo Heiskanen and Michael Schneider all have specific areas of expertise, including commercial contracts, financial matters, fraud, asset recovery, joint ventures, M&A transactions, economic criminal law and construction matters.

Switzerland > Regulatory, compliance and investigations Tier 2

LALIVE has a ‘highly professional, efficient and trustful‘ team whose broad investigations practice includes fraud, asset tracing, recovery, corruption, money laundering, embezzlement, and whistleblowing. The group acts for corporations, senior managers, states and UHNWIs, and also covers compliance and regulatory matters. Marc Henzelin has experience in international and economic criminal law, while Daniel L Buhr is a skilled advisor in risk and compliance management. Matthias Gstoehl, Simone Nadelhofer and Sandrine Giroud are considered ‘real thought leaders on Swiss law issues.’ 


‘Smart, commercially-minded lawyers who always understand how the Swiss part of the case fits into a broader international context.’

‘What is really impressive about Lalive is their internal organisation. They are so efficient in providing feedback to the client.’

‘The team is very business-oriented and pragmatic. Advice is cutting-edge and at the forefront of development in the compliance and ethics areas. They are also very valuable in helping bring the regulations into practice.’

‘The firm is a highly professional, efficient and trustful firm with qualified partners in various sectors.’

‘Matthias Gstoehl, Simone Nadelhofer, and Sandrine Giroud are extremely responsive and real thought leaders on Swiss law issues.’

‘Daniel Bühr is extremely knowledgeable and a “safe bet”.’

‘Simone Nadelhofer is a quite unique mix of kindness and elegance before the client, and of efficiency and quality of the legal advice provided. We have always been impressed by her approach to cases, from the smaller to the bigger ones.’

‘Sandrine Giroud has a perfect knowledge of both the laws and the practice as well as the jurisprudence (court cases and precedents) which allows her to foresee the problems and their consequences and find therefore the best solutions. She is very professional with high skills. Besides, she has a wide knowledge of commercial law, finance and all matters in connection with corruption and illicit financial flows with adequate solutions to freeze and retrieve ill-gotten assets.’

Key clients

Federative Republic of Brazil

Work highlights

  • Advised and represented Brazil in a large-scale investigation, tracing and recovery of illicit assets and proceeds of crimes held in several banks and fiduciaries in Switzerland and other countries in a $1bn matter.
  • Representing a Middle East commodities trading company in fraud proceedings against a global European bank established in Switzerland and a former relationship manager regarding claims of forged bank statements over several years to divert more than $200m.
  • Conducting a large-scale investigation in a leading Swiss financial institution regarding retrocessions unduly charged by certain employees to global clients.

Switzerland > Banking and finance: Geneva Tier 3

LALIVE is noted for its know-how in acting for corporate investors and private clients in matters such as fraud, mismanagement of assets, improper execution and fraudulent orders and disputes related to structured and derivative products. Under the lead of Alexander Troller, Sandrine Giroud and Marc Henzelin, the group also covers regulatory, compliance and investigations mandates. Nicolas Ollivier made partner in early 2021.

Other key lawyers:


‘We find the team we work with efficient and highly professional.’

‘We find the following persons most efficient, highly professional and doing an excellent job: – Marc Henzelin, Sandrine Giroud and Nicolas Ollivier.’

Key clients

Banka Snoras

Work highlights

  • Representing over 50 former clients and counterparts in complex (USD 1 billion) liability proceedings against the former auditor of a bankrupt Swiss bank.
  • Representing a company active in the commodities trading market in a dispute regarding the financing of a related company using international sales of goods and letters of credit, which were in turn allegedly used by third parties to defraud the bank guaranteeing the transactions.
  • Acting as counsel to the liquidators of Lithuanian Banka Snoras which went into bankruptcy after the main shareholders diverted over €400m in assets owned by the bank.

Switzerland > Intellectual property Tier 3

LALIVE acts for a broad scope of clients ranging from NGOs and corporate clients to individuals on all types of intellectual property law matters, including trade marks, designs, domain names, copyright, patents as well as unfair competition. Practice head Thomas Widmer has ‘outstanding experience‘ in all aspects of IP and is considered to be an ‘excellent litigator with a great focus on details and strategy‘.

Practice head(s):


‘The team are very good technically and are able to apply the law in a pragmatic, commercial fashion.’

‘Thomas Widner: great lawyer – very friendly, pragmatic and technically solid. Able to apply the law to complex matters even when there is little precedent.’

‘Thomas Widmer: excellent litigator with a great focus on details and strategy. The teaming works seamless with a clear understanding of what is needed from the client’s perspective.’

‘Working with Thomas Widmer and team is an outstanding experience. The case and the client’s interest are front and center to them and each one of them invests themselves fully into the case. You can not be in better hands.’

Work highlights

  • Acted as counsel to a global supplier of integrated gambling and gaming systems in a €25m ICC arbitration against an operator in the gaming industry concerning the alleged breach of a limited license for the use of IT products.
  • Represented a multinational computer, technology and IT consulting corporation in civil proceedings against a Swiss bank which is inter alia claiming access to the source code of various software interfaces developed by the client in a frame of a global IT service agreement.
  • Advised a non-profit organisation funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on drafting and negotiating several contractual agreements in relation to intellectual property issues and the mitigation of the consequences of the various event cancellations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Switzerland > Real estate and construction Tier 3

LALIVE has a strong focus on dispute resolution in an international construction and real estate context. The team frequently represents clients, such as private companies as well as states and statal entities, in domestic and cross-border litigation proceedings, commercial and investor-state construction arbitrations as well as transactions. Arbitration specialists Melissa Magliana, Matthias Scherer, Michael Schneider, Bernd Ehle and Joachim Knoll are commended for their ‘ability to develop a reliable strategy and gain client trust‘ as well as their ‘wide international knowledge‘ as they also act in dispute resolution under foreign law.


‘Very professional, excellent client attention, ability to develop a reliable strategy and gain client trust. Wide international knowledge.’

‘Very professional, knowledgable and responsive, it’s not only one individual, it’s the whole team, great teamwork at all times.’

‘The team was indeed very helpful and responsive to all the raised queries and concerns. All the team members demonstrated professionalism and personal attention to the details of the arbitration case.’

‘Veijo Heiskanen and Sam Moss both have strong analytical thinking skills that have been demonstrated in their ability of targeted questioning and effective problem-solving within the arbitration case.’

Key clients


DSG Yapi San Tic A.S.

Republic of Latvia

Work highlights

  • Represented Switzerland in the first ICSID arbitration against the country, arisen from an alleged expropriation of real estate property with the claimant invoking the Switzerland-Hungary BIT for a $1.2bn claim.
  • Represented a Middle Eastern design company in an $798m ICC arbitration regarding a dispute related to an infrastructure project in the Middle East.
  • Represented a Turkish construction company in a USD 300 million ICSID investment treaty arbitration against Saudi Arabia in relation to a construction project. The investor invoked the 2006 Turkey-Saudi Arabia bilateral investment treaty.

Switzerland > Banking and finance: Zurich Tier 4

Simone Nadelhofer, Daniel L Buhr, Matthias Gstoehl and André Brunschweiler jointly head the banking and finance practice of LALIVE. The unit specialises in contentious mandates acting against banks, representing clients in disputes relating to mismanagement of assets, improper execution, fraudulent orders as well as in disputes related to structured and derivative products. Dominik Elmiger made partner in 2021.

Other key lawyers:


‘Very strong client focus, ability to understand complex cases within a short period of time. Focused on client needs and finding optimal solutions. Fair and transparent pricing. Use of state of the art technology.’

‘André Brunschweiler: Excellent lawyer and advisor, very focused on client needs, excellent understanding of banking/finance industry.’

Key clients

Banka Snoras

Work highlights

  • Acting for several major institutional and private ultra-high-net-worth investors with regard to potential major losses incurred in connection with the Greensill collapse.
  • Counsel to the liquidators of Lithuanian Banka Snoras which went into bankruptcy after the main shareholders diverted over €400m in assets owned by the bank.
  • Representing a global retailer in a dispute with a global Swiss bank acting as custodian to release shares held in escrow as part of a business transaction.

Switzerland > Leading firms: German-speaking Switzerland Tier 4

LALIVE is well known and respected for its capabilities in dispute resolution. The team, which includes Simone Nadelhofer, Daniel L Buhr and Matthias Gstoehl, represent clients in various litigation and arbitration proceedings, concerning regulatory and banking law, fraud and white-collar criminal law, asset recovery, insolvency and international mutual assistance, among others.

Switzerland > Private client Tier 4

LALIVE has a strong focus on dispute resolution and advises high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, families, family offices, trusts and fiduciary holding companies in particular relation to the litigation of private client matters. The ‘prompt, responsive and knowledgeable‘ team represents clients in litigation and arbitration proceedings regarding disputed inheritances, matrimonial proceedings and divorces as well as trust and banking and financial services litigation. The key practitioners are the ‘very experiencedAlexander Troller, the ‘stellarWerner Jahnel, the ‘stand-outSandrine Giroud and Simone Nadelhofer.

Other key lawyers:

Marion Binder


‘Troller, Alexander: very experienced in developing creative solutions to create win/win‘s instead of wasting time and energy in useless confrontations. Very pleasant personality and highly responsive.’

‘I had a stellar experience with partner Werner Jahnel and his team in the Zurich office of Lalive. The service we received was outstanding and commensurate with Lalive’s reputation as one of Switzerland’s premier firms. Werner Jahnel is technically excellent with regard to Swiss inheritance law. Lalive are unafraid of representing the individual client against the Swiss banking establishment.’

‘Werner Jahnel: very smart; quick turnarounds; and has good contacts. He has a lovely ‘bedside manner’ (i.e. great empathy) with clients, which warmed our hearts and gave us hope. He always made himself available when we needed to speak to him and was very engaged with our case.’

‘Werner Jahnel turned out to be a godsend and saviour in more ways than one.’

‘Throughout our engagement Werner Jahnel together with the entirety of his team, from receptionist through to associates, have conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism; conscientious, reliable, consistent, courteous, unwearied and most importantly they delivered thorough and diligent legal counsel.’

‘They are prompt, responsive and knowledgeable, and always keen to assist.’

‘Sandrine Giroud is a stand-out star in my opinion. She is thoughtful, insightful, and has a very thorough knowledge of the law. She is always eager to assist and very prompt. Werner Jahnel is also excellent. He not only has the law at his fingertips, but is an absolute pleasure to work with. I imagine that he is popular with clients and opponents alike, exactly what a family lawyer should be.’

Work highlights

  • Represented an UHNWI and related entities in one of the largest art fraud cases, involving representation in Swiss civil and criminal proceedings as a result of alleged fraud related to artwork transactions exceeding $1bn involving several jurisdictions.
  • 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.
  • Advised an heiress on a complex cross-border litigious succession over real estate and other assets worth CHF40m located in Switzerland, Europe and North Africa.

LALIVE is an international law firm with offices in Geneva, Zurich and London integrated by lawyers from 30 countries, qualified in 20 jurisdictions, and who together speak over 25 languages. The firm is renowned for its expertise and experience in international disputes and provides global dispute resolution and advisory services to clients worldwide. The firm represents individuals, public and private entities, including multinational corporations, governments and international organisations. Practice areas include international commercial and investment arbitration, litigation, white-collar crime, investigations, regulatory and compliance, public international law and private client. Areas of focus include asset recovery and insolvency; art and cultural property; banking and finance; corporate and commercial; energy and mining; intellectual property and data protection; construction and infrastructure; employment; sports; technology and telecoms; business and human rights and pharma and biotechnology.

Dispute resolution – arbitration Matthias Scherer, Joachim
Dispute resolution – litigation Sandrine Giroud, André
White-collar crime Marc
Asset recovery and investigations Sandrine Giroud, Matthias
Public international law Veijo Heiskanen, Sandrine
Construction, real estate and infrastructure Joachim Knoll, Bernd
Regulatory and compliance Daniel Lucien
Energy Veijo Heiskanen, Noradèle
Banking and finance Alexander Troller, Nicolas
Private client Werner Jahnel, Alexander
Construction, real estate and infrastructure Bernd Ehle, Joachim
Art and cultural property Sandrine
Intellectual property Thomas
LALIVE Lawyers : 107
LALIVE Partners : 25
LALIVE Senior Counsel : 2
LALIVE Counsel : 10
LALIVE Associates : 70
English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Dutch, Malayalam, Mandarin, Portuguese, Turkish, Bengali, Hungarian, Bahasa, Indonesia, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Croatian, Farsi, Finnish, Greek, Malay, Norwegian, Swedish, Hindi, Czech
Other offices : Zurich
Other offices : London