Dispute Resolution: Switzerland
Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial is in alphabetical order by firm name.
THE FIRM The Geneva branch of Akin Gump is the hub of the firm's international arbitration practice. The team continues to expand as the firm retains a steady flow of large-scale arbitration mandates. It successfully represented Colas in an international arbitration against a claim by the Mauritius Port Authority.
Sources say: “This team knows arbitration inside out.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Charles Adams is lead counsel to Alstom Power in a EUR55 million multi-jurisdictional case. He is also advising Husseini Engineering as co-counsel. Michael Stepek is lead counsel to Tetra Pak and has been mandated by Elektrim Finance. “He has an impressive attention to detail,” report clients.
THE FIRM Bär & Karrer shows formidable strength in dispute resolution. In addition to a top-tier litigation team, it has an arbitration practice that earns increasing admiration from market sources. Clients include Implenia, GlaxoSmithKline and Morgan Stanley. The team is currently representing a German company in a dispute over a share purchase agreement. It has much experience in employment, real estate, trusts and post-M&A litigation and arbitration.
Sources say: "Has excellent lawyers, knowledge and knowledge management. The partners can always be reached."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Daniel Hochstrasser is a leading figure in both litigation and arbitration. He headed the team advising Areva on a successful arbitration against Siemens, in which Siemens was ordered to pay EUR648 million. He often represents banks in litigation. With over 30 years of arbitration experience, Marc Blessing is much in demand as an arbitrator in international proceedings. Andreas Länzlinger "is unmatched for cross-border investigation work. He is very dedicated to his clients," sources say. Much of his litigation work is in the banking sphere. He is involved in recovery proceedings and is known for his work in mass tort litigation. Lugano-based Cesare Jermini focuses on arbitration, acting as both counsel and arbitrator. He recently acted as chair of a tribunal seated in Milan, involving Italian and UK parties. Head of the Geneva dispute resolution team Saverio Lembo is a recognised name for litigation. "He sees the point right away and doesn't lose us any time," report satisfied clients. He often represents banks and has recently been active in a high-value employment case. Michele Bernasconi is lauded for his strong judgement and "sophisticated understanding of sports regulation and politics." Sources say he is "probably one of the most experienced sports arbitrators" in the country. He is also a notable practitioner in the TMT sector.
THE FIRM The Swiss office of CMS enters the dispute resolution rankings for the first time this year, as it becomes an increasingly known and well-regarded presence on the litigation scene. Recent highlights for the team have included post-M&A disputes as well as employment, sports, D&O, trusts and banking cases. Clients note the firm's international capacity and appreciate the team's culturally sensitive approach to complex cross-border cases.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The key contact is Jodok Wicki.
THE FIRM Froriep Renggli's dispute resolution team has impressed sources with its work in litigation. It is one of the firms involved in representing the Republic and Canton of Geneva in its CHF3 billion criminal and civil dispute with Ernst & Young. The firm has also been busy with other high-value litigation, and often advises on defensive planning aimed at avoiding litigation. Interviewees value the personal atmosphere within the firm.
Sources say: "Very much a seamless team; the joint response we get is excellent."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Geneva-based Alain Gros is a key contact on the litigation team.
THE FIRM This firm is consistently ranked at the top level for its litigation and arbitration work. The team often represents financial institutions and leading corporations in international cases. It also advises on disputes originating in the private client sector. White-collar crime work has included investigations and litigation. Clients appreciate the team's quick understanding of the individual particulars of a case, as well as its ability to give practical and tailored legal advice.
Sources say: "First-rate. We've had excellent support; the lawyers are fantastic collaborators. In terms of client service they are unmatched."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Balz Gross recently led a team representing a client in tort litigation. He was also involved in a multiparty arbitration in Switzerland under UK law, and represented a multinational in an arbitration relating to long-term supply agreements. Clients praise his approachable and responsive manner as well as his excellent strategic advice. Department head Felix Dasser is "a litigator with strong instincts," observe clients. He is regularly called upon to advise on international cases. Sources note his courtroom style, saying it earns the respect of clients and judges alike. Thomas Müller is known for his work as arbitration counsel. "He puts our points across forcefully and coherently," clients say. Markus Wirth has an outstanding reputation for his international arbitration work. He is in high demand as an arbitrator and also acts as counsel. Sources commend his conscientious and determined approach. Georg Naegeli has a solid dispute resolution practice, with his background as a state court judge adding depth to his knowledge in this area. His notable practice in arbitration includes both counsel and arbitrator work. Gabrielle Nater-Bass recently led a team in an ICC arbitration, and often handles disputes for high net worth individuals. Clients praise her availability as well as her ability to be tough when needed. Mariella Orelli is building a reputation for dispute resolution work, especially in the energy sector. Flavio Romerio heads the white-collar crime group. He has been busy advising on internal investigations concerning data theft and bribery.
THE FIRM Spread across offices in Basel, Bern and Zürich, this dispute resolution team is building an impressive reputation for its arbitration work. The lawyers often act as chair or counsel in international and Swiss arbitrations. The team famously represented Chelsea FC in a major sports arbitration.
Sources say: "This is a young and progressive firm."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Bernhard Berger is becoming “quite an authority” in arbitration. Known mainly for his counsel work, he is gaining in standing as an arbitrator. “He is relatively young but knowledgeable, and handles complex disputes,” says a source.
THE FIRM The dispute resolution team at Lalive focuses primarily on arbitration and earns praise for the international scope of its work in this area. The lawyers represent a variety of nationalities and have impressive language skills, enabling them to arbitrate in many countries. Energy, construction and telecoms are key areas of expertise. Sources commend the accessibility and commitment of the lawyers.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Schneider has an outstanding reputation for international arbitration. Sources assert that "he is a brilliant mind and an amazing counsel." He is also much in demand as an arbitrator. Recent cases involve IP and construction matters. Teresa Giovannini maintains her reputation as a prominent arbitrator. She recently led a team advising a party on a USD100 million dispute in the oil industry. Domitille Baizeau is described as "bright, proactive and engaging." She acted as counsel to a telecommunications company in several parallel ICC arbitrations. She also represented two African oil companies in proceedings arising out of share sale and purchase agreements and oil exploration joint venture agreements. Matthias Scherer is becoming noticed for his work as an arbitrator. "He is one of the best there is," says an interviewee. "He gets things moving and is conscientious, firm and fair." He recently acted as counsel in a dispute over a sale and purchase agreement in the energy sector. Senior statesman Pierre Lalive remains a renowned name for his work as arbitrator on international cases. Marc Henzelin has a growing reputation as a litigator, particularly in the domain of white-collar crime. He receives praise from clients for his informed approach. His expertise lies particularly in international and economic criminal law.
THE FIRM This sizeable litigation and arbitration team continues to receive accolades for its work, with the arbitration practice moving up a band this year. Sources appreciate its good network of connections, and it regularly wins instructions from prominent domestic and international clients. It frequently acts as co-counsel alongside top-rated international law firms. The team has much experience of ICC, LCIA and Court of Arbitration for Sport arbitration. On the litigation side the firm handles a wide range of mandates, in particular in the banking and finance industries.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Martin Burkhardt leads the litigation team from the firm's Zürich office. He is renowned for his prowess in litigation and arbitration, and impresses clients with his "quiet confidence and calm demeanour." Paolo Michele Patocchi is highly regarded as an arbitrator and arbitration counsel. Xavier Favre-Bulle is a prominent figure on the arbitration team. "He gives an exceptional level of service. He is a first-class lawyer." Martin Aebi is building a reputation for IP-focused international arbitration work. Clients value his technical knowledge. Harold Frey acts on a variety of cases, including M&A, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and construction. "He is very bright and skilled and has a perfect feeling for the needs of the client," say sources. Benoît Chappuis deals with criminal and civil litigation. Daniel Tunik is highly recommended as a specialist in white-collar crime.
THE FIRM This Geneva arbitration boutique was only established in 2007 but already has an outstanding market reputation, mainly due to its two name partners, both highly successful arbitrators. The team also acts as counsel, particularly in sports and investment disputes. Most of its work is international in scope.
Sources say: "This is a stellar arbitration practice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Laurent Lévy is described by sources as "a top-tier arbitrator." His main areas of expertise are oil and gas, investment, bankruptcy and banking and finance. Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler is often called upon to act as chair on arbitral panels, and mainly deals with international commercial, investment and sports disputes.
THE FIRM This boutique firm has a strong focus on dispute resolution, and is best known for litigation. Recent work includes asbestos litigation both abroad and in Switzerland, and cases involving the insurance and banking industries. The team advises clients on dispute avoidance strategies as well as representing them in court. Interviewees are impressed with the firm's international links.
Sources say: "Very thorough in their analysis. This makes a major difference to clients, because they dig deep."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Roberto Dallafior "strikes a balance between tactics, conceptual thinking and a pragmatic approach," according to clients. Although best known for his litigation practice, he is taking on an increasing amount of arbitration work. Hans Nater continues to represent a former board member in cases arising out of the liquidation of Swissair. "He is an outstanding lawyer," enthuse sources. "He is very thoughtful and keeps his cool."
THE FIRM This full-service firm has a well-established litigation practice and is increasing its presence in arbitration. Clients include Aryzta and EFG International. It has been busy with insurance and D&O litigation, as well as sports arbitration. The firm also offers services in alternative dispute resolution, aimed at resolving issues before they reach the courts.
Sources say: "Great team spirit, which is very productive for clients."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Ernst Schmid is noted for his work as arbitration counsel and litigator. Clients praise his courtroom presence and thorough approach to cases. "Determined and target-oriented," Daniel Eisele is making a name for himself in litigation. Peter Honegger has a long-standing client base, including financial institutions and large corporations. His proactive approach and attentiveness earn him warm praise from clients.
THE FIRM This litigation team is made up of partners from the Zürich and Geneva offices. Clients include financial institutions such as Merrill Lynch and Swiss Life. The group also represents multinational companies and high net worth individuals.
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Composed and self-assured," Laurent Killias has a highly regarded litigation and arbitration practice. Michael Kramer led the team advising Alcon's independent directors' committee on a dispute arising from the merger with Novartis. Clients appreciate his strong and determined courtroom style.
THE FIRM Geneva-based Python & Peter remains a strong player in arbitration. The team has expertise in several practice areas, including IP, IT and sport. It handles arbitrations under a variety of different rules and its international work is widely admired.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Wolfgang Peter acts as both counsel and arbitrator in many post-M&A and corporate disputes, drawing on his background as an M&A lawyer. His track record includes cases in Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul. Because of his experience, he is in great demand for the most complex of disputes. Pierre-Yves Gunter has an admirable reputation in arbitration, and is also known for his TMT knowledge.
THE FIRM Sources unanimously endorse this firm's high ranking in litigation and arbitration. The team receives superlative praise from clients for its strong support in disputes. It represents individuals and corporations in cross-border and domestic white-collar crime cases and also advises on internal investigations and compliance programmes. Its impressive client list includes Christie's, Standard Chartered Bank and Merck Serono.
Sources say: "The breadth of the team is unmatched in Switzerland." "Big-league players in international arbitration."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Martin Bernet has an excellent reputation for his litigation work, and represents many major banks. He also handles international arbitration, often acting as chairman or party-nominated arbitrator. His recent caseload has included an EUR8 million litigation and a post-M&A arbitration in which he acted as counsel. Elliott Geisinger successfully represented a Turkish company in a USD25 million ICC arbitration. Apart from being a prominent counsel, he is increasingly known as an arbitrator. Sources say: "He is a remarkable talent. He embraces all the details and works harmoniously with all team members." Nathalie Voser heads the international arbitration team. Her main areas of focus are general contract law, tort law and international private law. Anne Véronique Schlaepfer is commended for her strategic approach to arbitration cases and her open manner in deciding which course to take. She represents international clients in large-scale disputes. Managing partner Vincent Jeanneret has a reputation as a strong litigator and is also noted for his work on white-collar crime cases. He represented one of the auditors in litigation involving the State of Geneva's bank. Alexander von Ziegler "instils confidence" in his clients due to his calm and controlled demeanour in the courtroom. "He understands all the implications of a case. He is good at finding acceptable ways to proceed for all," report interviewees. He specialises in all aspects of trade, transport, maritime and aviation law. Christian Girod heads the dispute resolution team in Geneva. He enters the rankings due to market recognition of his skill as a litigator. Peter Burckhardt heads the white-collar crime and compliance group. He is a highly respected name and can draw on his prior experience as a criminal investigation judge. Benjamin Borsodi enjoys a good reputation as a commercial litigator with a strong focus on business crime. His key areas of expertise are international mutual assistance and asset tracing.
THE FIRM This mid-sized Geneva firm is well known for its arbitration practice, with the partners acting primarily as counsel in corporate and commercial cases. Recent cases pertain to the pharmaceuticals, energy, technology and construction sectors. Sources praise its admirable international work.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Frank Spoorenberg is a "young, dynamic arbitration practitioner," according to interviewees, who are impressed with his work on a large number of interesting cases. "He creates real value for his clients," they add. Sources report being "absolutely delighted" with Pierre-Yves Tschanz's work, singling out his rigorous approach to cases and attention to detail as particularly positive aspects. He joins the arbitrator rankings this year as a reflection of his growing stature in this area. He was a member of the arbitration panel in the Siemens v Areva case.
THE FIRM The team at Vischer has a growing reputation for dispute resolution, and wins particular praise for its arbitration practice. It has recently been involved in a post-M&A case, and often acts for clients from the USA, Russia and Eastern Europe. Clients appreciate the team's pragmatic and flexible attitude.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Christoph Pestalozzi is much in demand and well respected as an arbitrator. "He is straightforward and focuses on clients' needs," report sources. Daniele Favalli is noted for his work as arbitration counsel. "He is smart, practical and knowledgeable. His proposals are always well thought out," says an interviewee.
THE FIRM This firm, with offices in Zürich and Bern, fields an impressive dispute resolution team, with most practitioners equally involved in arbitration and litigation. Cross-border litigation is a staple of the team's work. The team has been busy with disputes concerning infrastructure, commodities and construction. It represents Italian company Somi Impianti in an ICC case worth more than EUR10 million. Other clients include Citibank and STRABAG.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Philipp Habegger led a team representing Red Bull in ICC proceedings against its former distributor in Saudi Arabia. He is described as "a towering presence" in arbitration. He acts as both counsel and arbitrator, and also represents parties in litigation. Peter Straub heads the dispute resolution department. Best known as a litigator, he is also commended for his arbitration practice. Commodities, pharmaceuticals and telecoms are his key areas of expertise. Marc Veit is "good at synthesising all evidence and presenting it in a coherent and persuasive way," report clients. "He is smart and prepares excellent pleadings." His recent work has included an LCIA arbitration. Daniel Wyss is of counsel at the firm but still called upon for his litigation know-how.
THE FIRM Zürich firm Wartmann & Merker returns to the rankings this year following positive market feedback. The firm focuses on commercial litigation but also handles arbitration. It acts for a large Swiss bank and has many clients from the financial industry. Clients praise the prompt advice and attentive partners.
Sources say: "They are outstanding litigators, hugely committed and focused on solving problems."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peter Reichart and Peter Hafner are key contacts.
THE FIRM The team at this Zürich firm has recently handled litigation in a range of sectors, from insurance and pharmaceutical cases to banking, employment and private equity disputes. On the arbitration side, the team has acted either as counsel or arbitrator in various proceedings.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peter Altorfer's litigation practice is strongly focused on the banking and financial sectors. His lengthy experience in the field makes him a much respected name. Urs Weber-Stecher often acts as arbitration counsel and increasingly sits as an arbitrator. He combines his arbitration work with a strong competition practice. Andreas Hünerwadel specialises in financial services, and is noted for his litigation work in this area. Daniel Girsberger is "a superb choice" as chairman, according to interviewees. He regularly acts as arbitrator on international cases.
Sole practitioner Pierre Karrer
is much in demand as an arbitrator, and has a focus on cases governed by Austrian law or involving Austria. "Excellent chairman" Werner Wenger
of Wenger Plattner is a prominent arbitrator. Carlo Lombardini
of Geneva firm Poncet Turrettini Amaudruz Neyroud & Partners is known chiefly for his excellent banking litigation practice, but also takes on disputes in other areas. Isabelle Poncet
, of the same firm, has a growing reputation for white-collar crime cases. Marco Niedermann
of Niedermann Rechtsanwälte is known as a talented litigator delivering work to a high standard. Jean-Marc Carnicé
of BCCC Attorneys-at-law LLC handles a range of white-collar crime matters including money laundering, fraud and corruption. Sources note his skill as a litigator and his easy-going personality. Lorenz Erni
of Zürich firm Eschmann & Erni is "a smart and efficient criminal defence lawyer with a great track record." Maurice Harari
of Lachat Harari & Associés has a reputation for taking on difficult cases in white-collar crime. "He is excellent, and has great technical knowledge,"
sources say. Marc Hassberger
of Chabrier & Partners in association with Reed Smith Richards Butler is considered a strong litigator. He represents clients in a variety of matters, including money laundering, fraud and corruption cases.
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