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Switzerland: Private Client Analysis 2016

We recognise 56 individuals as leading in private client law.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Harold Grüninger Homburger, Zurich
Tina Wüstemann Bär & Karrer, Zurich
Manuel Liatowitsch Schellenberg Wittmer, Zurich
David Wallace Wilson Schellenberg Wittmer, Geneva
Philippe Pulfer Walder Wyss, Geneva
Justine Markowitz Withers, Geneva

Schellenberg Wittmer is consistently cited as an elite firm in private client law, with “an excellent breadth of senior lawyers who have a good team around them”. Head of the private client team in Zurich, Manuel Liatowitsch is “an established specialist” in estate disputes, and he also advises clients on estate and succession planning, governance and philanthropy. He is described as “a brilliant lawyer”. In Geneva, the “outstanding” David Wallace Wilson advises private clients on all aspects of wealth structures and tax planning, as well as in inheritance disputes. One source remarked that he was “worth his weight in gold”.

Walder Wyss has expanded considerably with the opening of its Geneva office and the lateral hire of two leading lawyers. Philippe Pulfer, who heads the Geneva private client practice, is “a very well-known and highly respected name in the market”. He is joined by Olivier Sigg, “an up-and-coming star” in private client law who has an emphasis on estate-planning techniques. In Zurich, Kinga Weiss advises private clients in succession law. She is “absolutely top-notch”, according to respondents. Stephan Neidhardt offers tax law advice for high net worth individuals. Clients say that “he is very astute and technically strong”. Ayesha Curmally is also recommended for her estate and succession planning practice. She is “notably good with clients”.

Froriep is internationally recognised for its excellence in estate and tax planning. Michael Fischer is a strongly endorsed tax specialist in the firm’s private client team. Respondents state that “he knows his subject very well” and that “he is very good with clients”. Oliver Arter is highly recommended for his “excellent practice” advising private clients on structuring of their assets.

Bär & Karrer is a premier destination for domestic and international private clients. Head of the team Tina Wüstemann is “a brilliant lawyer” and “a leader in complex estate and succession planning matters”. Sources add, “She is a delight to work with and very personable”. Andreas Bär is “a figurehead” in domestic and international wealth planning, while Daniel Bader provides “outstanding support” to private clients in tax matters.

Lenz & Staehelin has a large in-depth team that ranks among the very best in the Swiss market. Mark John Barmes advises individuals and trustees in all aspects of wealth planning. A client described him as “a font of knowledge”. Caroline Delétra is “a celebrated veteran” of estate and tax-planning law. Alongside them, Lucien Masmejan is highly recommended as an expert in private client and tax-planning law. He is “clear, concise and user-friendly”. Jean-Blaise Eckert is co-head of the tax group and specialises in tax-focused wealth management for high-net-worth clients and complex international structures for estate-planning. He is “an extraordinary good analytical thinker”.

Withers is an international law firm with an exceptional reputation in cross-border private client law. Justine Markovitz is “a superstar”. Head of the UK tax and succession practice in the Geneva office, she provides first-rate advice to UK and offshore tax, trusts and estate planning. In Zurich, Olga Boltenko is a specialist in Russian-Swiss tax planning. Respondents find her “a pleasure to deal with, responsive and knowledgeable.”

Baker & McKenzie provides an exceptional offering for mainly UK and US clients in international tax and wealth planning. In Zurich, Marnin Michaels is “a standout name” in international estate planning and taxation for US clients. In Geneva, UK-qualified Stephanie Jarrett is “a top-quality lawyer” in the areas of trusts, estate and international tax planning.

At Homburger department head Harold Grüninger is considered “the go to expert for foundations”. According to one source, he is “outstanding and I have no hesitation endorsing him.”

At Vallucci & Schmutz AG, Patrick Schmutz is seen as “a good destination for practical advice on succession planning matters”.

Michael Hamm of Staiger Schwald & Partner is recommended by peers as “a dynamic and knowledgeable practitioner” in inheritance law, estate planning and arts law.

Louis Boissier at Borel & Barbey boasts an “enviable roster of clients” who laud his “impressive depth of knowledge” and “ability to tailor advice to clients individual needs”.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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