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Focus on… Schellenberg Wittmer

Schellenberg Wittmer was born in 2000 from the merger of two Swiss law firms: Brunschwig Wittmer based in Geneva and Schellenberg Haissly in Zurich. Since its creation, the firm has grown rapidly and consistently and has become a leading firm in Switzerland. Schellenberg Wittmer was the firm Swiss Firm to open an office in Singapore in 2014 and to create a subsidiary, FlexLaw by Schellenberg Wittmer, which offers efficient and flexible legal supports services in areas that are generally both resource-intensive and cost-sensitive, such as large-scale documents reviews and e-discovery.

Firm Profile

Schellenberg Wittmer is a leading and fully-integrated Swiss business law firm with more than 150 lawyers in Zurich and Geneva, and an office in Singapore. We take care of all of our clients’ legal needs – transactions, advisory, disputes.

Our offices in Zurich and Geneva cover the whole of Switzerland, while our office in Singapore is a gateway to and from the Asia Pacific region. We provide a comprehensive range of legal services to a worldwide client base of domestic and international companies and entrepreneurs. Our Regional Desks were set up to develop our existing cross-border business initiatives, centralise case-work across these regions, and underpin Schellenberg Wittmer’s commitment to the provision of top-tier, full business law services to clients on a global level.

We encourage a distinctive team spirit that runs through our more than 150 qualified lawyers. When our clients ask us to manage their legal affairs, they do so in the knowledge that our people will be collaborating to achieve the best possible outcome for them. We do our utmost to cultivate a personal, engaging approach based on openness and transparency, designed to maintain a close and responsive relationship with our clients at all times.

We have amassed extensive cross-border experience, regularly piloting and participating in major international projects. We are able to set up and coordinate international teams of legal advisors to handle complex matters with a minimum of delay. While remaining independent, we build on our long-term experience and relationships with leading law firms around the globe, cooperating with over 300 foreign law firms from more than 50 jurisdictions to forge solid international relationships.

Main Areas of Practice

Dispute resolution and international arbitration: advising in all aspects of commercial litigation and arbitration, including full representation in proceedings, pre-litigation case assessment and ADR solutions, provisional and interim measures, asset tracing, as well as enforcement of arbitral awards and court judgments. Members of the group regularly sit as arbitrator.

Banking and finance: advising Swiss and foreign banks, borrowers, insurance companies, fund managers and other financial institutions on the full range of legal and regulatory matters, from syndicated lending and acquisition finance to OTC transactions, structured products and prudential rules.

Capital markets: as authorised representatives at the six Swiss Exchange, working with domestic and foreign issuers on all aspects of Swiss equity and debt capital markets transactions, including IPOs, rights offerings, convertibles, share buy-backs, derivatives programs, bond and note issues and public tender offers. 

Corporate and commercial: assisting companies in all corporate and commercial matters including the establishment of businesses and corporate governance; assisting clients in drafting/negotiating all contracts related to their businesses.

Mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital: advising on public takeovers, private mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, spin-offs and restructurings, assisting with seed/expansion capital, management buy-outs/buy-ins, pre-IPO investments and various aspects of asset management for private equity and venture capital.

Employment: assisting in all employment-related matters, ie, employment documentation, labour litigation, residence and labour permits, employee participation schemes, severance packages, etc.

Taxation: advising companies and individuals on Swiss tax law, including double taxation treaties and VAT, acting as counsel in tax litigation, as well as extensive experience in tax enforcement matters.

Private clients and estates: working with individuals and families in the global planning and structuring of their private and business assets to ensure an efficient wealth structure and enable a smooth succession from one generation to the next; representing clients in estate and trust disputes.

Restructuring and insolvency: assisting creditors and companies in restructuring, bankruptcy and reorganisation proceedings as well as complex insolvency matters; serving as court or FINMA-appointed trustees, liquidators and receivers.

Trade and transport: providing support in all aspects of trade and transport, including sales and import/export contracts, trade finance, marine/cargo insurance, maritime/aviation/land transportation and ship/aircraft finance.

Real estate and construction: assisting on all issues relating to real estate and environment, including finding the best financing and investment structure, negotiating/drafting contracts to lease, purchase or sell Swiss real estate, planning/developing construction projects, contract management.

Insurance: representation in insurance and reinsurance-related litigation and arbitration; advising on all aspects of insurance law, including the establishment, relocation, conduct and run-off of (re-)insurance relating to activities in and from Switzerland and regulatory issues.

Intellectual property and IT: advising on all areas of intellectual property, including drafting/negotiating agreements and representing clients in litigation and arbitration; assisting in structuring/negotiating IT projects and in drafting all related contracts.

Competition and antitrust: advising comprehensively on merger control and the impact of Swiss and EU competition law on client commercial practices and agreements; representing clients in administrative proceedings brought by the Swiss Competition Commission.

White-collar crime and compliance: representing companies or officers unwillingly involved in criminal investigations and proceedings; leading large-scale internal investigations; advice regarding international assistance between foreign and domestic law enforcement authorities and all aspects of compliance.

Sports, arts and entertainment: advising collectors, museums, auction houses, galleries, artists, insurers, etc. in all matters relating to art works or entire collections, including sale, loan and consignment, import/export, copyrights, insurance as well as litigation; advising sports organisations, athletes and sponsors as well as media companies in all matters related to their businesses. The firm also represents clients both in prosecution and defence, in high-stake cross-border arbitration matters before various adjudicatory bodies of many sports federations, as well as before CAS. This includes violations of the WADA code, issues with media rights and sponsorship agreements, unfair competition and dismissal claims, large-scale corruption investigations, and highly disputed bids for hosting major sports events.

Life sciences: advising in all aspects of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and food law, including regulatory and contractual matters such as licensing and R&D agreements; assisting clients in health law, medical malpractice and product liability matters.

Blockchain technologies and fintech: multidisciplinary and integrated team advising clients looking to take full advantage of the high potential of blockchain technology, Areas advised on include crowd-funding (preliminary analysis and set-up), incorporation of legal entities in Switzerland, initial coin offering setup, smart contracts, data protection and transaction security, tax implications, dispute resolution.

Hotels and leisure: counsel to hotel chains and investors on all legal matters in the hospitality industry including acquisitions, disposals, developments, construction, litigation and M&A, leasing and operation.

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