Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International Law

Switzerland: Private Client 2017

In this chapter, we recognise 61 of the country’s leading private client lawyers. The practitioners featured in this chapter have a proven track record assisting high net worth individuals, families, trustees, family businesses and charities in the areas of wills and succession planning, trusts and estates, residence and domicile, probate and charities.

Most Highly Regarded
1. Tina Wüstemann Bär & Karrer, Zurich
2. Philippe Pulfer Walder Wyss, Geneva
3. Justine Markovitz Withers, Geneva
4. David Wallace Wilson  Schellenberg Wittmer, Geneva
5. Kinga Weiss Walder Wyss, Zurich
6. Harold Grüninger Homburger, Zurich

LENZ & STAEHELIN boasts the foremost private client offering in the country, with seven practitioners singled out for their expertise in the area.
Heini Rüdisühli heads the private client group and is known for his impressive practice. He focuses on advising both domestic and international high-net-worth individuals on tax planning, inheritance issues and succession planning.
Tax co-head Jean-Blaise Eckert is “a go-to lawyer” whose practice sees him advise on the nexus of private client and tax issues. He counts a number of high-net-worth individuals among his clients and is particularly active in international business matters.
In Zurich, managing partner Stefan Breitenstein is praised for his broad private client practice that spans international and domestic transactions, as well as financial regulatory matters.
Lucien Masmejan is a private client specialist with a wide-ranging practice covering tax, real estate and general commercial matters. One source comments: “He is a very impressive practitioner who made a significant contribution to a major project we both worked on.”
In Geneva, the “brilliant” Mark John Barmes is praised for his considerable experience assisting wealthy individuals, families and trustees establish themselves in Switzerland. He is “an internationally renowned expert” in advising sporting organisations looking to set up and manage their trust structures.
Shelby du Pasquier is a prominent practitioner in the Swiss legal market, recognised for his broad practice and fantastic network of connections in offshore jurisdictions.
Alexander Greter is an accomplished tax lawyer with a wealth of experience advising Swiss and international private clients on estate planning, charitable foundations and general tax law issues.

Leading commercial firm WALDER WYSS follows closely behind with six nominations in this chapter. The firm’s private client team regularly assists international individuals and families with relocation, tax and estate planning.
In Zurich, Kinga Weiss is a highly rated specialist with considerable experience in international inheritance law. She regularly advises private clients on the full range of inheritance issues, including marital property law, business succession and the execution of wills.
Geneva practice head Philippe Pulfer comes highly recommended and is dubbed “one of the leading private client lawyers in Geneva”. He focuses his practice on cross-border wealth structuring and estate planning.
Stephan Neidhardt co-chairs the private client team and is known for his considerable expertise in international tax law. He frequently assists high net worth individuals with estate tax planning and advises on tax issues relating to their business operations.
The “superb” Olivier Sigg is a strong name in the market with a well-developed private client practice focusing on trusts, foundations and inheritance issues.
Basel-based Ayesha Curmally is an inheritance law specialist known for her proficiency in the full gamut of related private client issues. According to one respondent, “She is incredibly strong technically.”
Philippe Nordmann is also recognised as a market-leading expert, advising private clients in matters of international law.

Full-service powerhouse SCHELLENBERG WITTMER boasts a strong private client and estates team with considerable experience in both contentious and non-contentious issues. The firm is home to five nominees in this chapter.
In Geneva, Bernard Vischer heads the private client practice and is warmly endorsed by peers for his expertise in non-contentious matters. He regularly advises clients on estate planning, inheritance and private banking matters.
In Zurich, practice head Alexander Jolles is a well-known disputes specialist with considerable experience handling complex trust and estate issues.The “fantastic” David Wallace Wilson is an internationally renowned practitioner with a well-established practice handling both contentious and non-contentious matters.
Market sources consider Manuel Liatowitsch to be “an absolute star” who is “well known for his prowess in private client and trust litigation.” 
Andrea Dorjee-Good is highlighted for her impressive practice that sees her advise domestic and international clients on estate planning. She also regularly handles contentious estates litigation.

BAKER MCKENZIE is the top choice among the international firms in this chapter, achieving four listings.
Zurich-based Marnin Michaels draws warm praise from the market. One source notes: “He is easy to work with and is one of the best US private client lawyers around.”
Stephanie Jarrett is a “well-respected lawyer with a fantastic reputation in the market”. One respondent considers her to be "one of the top lawyers in Geneva.”

BÄR & KARRER’s private client team are well regarded in the market, handling the full range of private client work. In this chapter, three leading lawyers are featured.
In Zurich, practice head Tina Wüstemann is a highly rated lawyer known for her fantastic practice and proficiency in contentious trust and estates work. According to sources, she is “one of the country’s stars” and is “loved by clients”.
Daniel Bader is a renowned tax specialist who is “simply brilliant” according to his peers, particularly when it comes to succession planning.
Andreas Bär is a well-known practitioner with considerable experience in international wealth planning for individuals, families and multi-family offices.

MEYERLUSTENBERGER LACHENAL is a leading full-service firm with a strong track record advising both domestic and international private clients. We recommend three lawyers in this chapter.
Senior partner Bernard Lachenal is a longstanding fixture in the market known for his impressive practice covering both non-contentious and contentious private client work.
In Zurich, Patricia Guerra comes highly recommended. She boasts a great reputation for her excellent work dealing with Latin American clients, assisting them with estate and tax planning issues.
Serge Calame is considered to be “a true private client lawyer” with an impressive practice. He focuses his practice on international estate planning and also advises on asset management and banking matters.

Natalie Peter is one of three practitioners singled out from newly formed STAIGER ATTORNEYS AT LAW. According to peers, she is “a brilliant lawyer” known for her expertise in tax planning and contentious trust and estates litigation. She is particularly knowledgeable on US tax issues.
Michael Hamm is a standout name in the Swiss market, most notably when it comes to counselling clients on inheritance law and tax matters.
Gian Andri Töndury is also recognised in this chapter for his impressive private client practice.

At BOREL & BARBEY, three practitioners are recognised for their outstanding work.
The “eminent” Luc Hafner is recognised for his longstanding private client practice that encompasses advising domestic and international clients on estate planning and succession law. He also has experience acting as a trustee, director and protector.Louis Boissier is “a well-deserved inclusion” thanks to his considerable expertise advising Swiss and international clients on a wide range of issues. He is particularly adept when assisting clients to establish philanthropic entities, both in Switzerland and abroad.Olivier Dunant enjoys praise for his market-leading banking expertise that includes estate and succession planning. One source effuses: “He is an absolute powerhouse.”

WITHERS is an international commercial law firm with a great reputation in the market as one of the major forces in international private client work. The firm achieves two nominations this year.
In Geneva, Justine Markovitz draws effusive praise from her peers. Sources dub her “an absolute must for inclusion” and “a stellar lawyer”. She counts a number of high-net-worth individuals and financial institutions among her clients, advising them on UK tax issues, trusts, estate planning and succession matters.
Jay Rubinstein is considered to be “a technically astute practitioner” known for his wealth of experience advising international and domestic private clients on US tax issues.

HOMBURGER’s private client team regularly assists clients in succession, estate and tax planning and management, trust and foundation establishment and dissolution and real estate transactional matters. We recognise two lawyers from the firm this year.
Standout name Harold Grüninger heads the firm’s private client practice and is considered “an obvious inclusion” thanks to his longstanding expertise dealing with charitable foundations and succession law.
Gabrielle Nater-Bass is “a real star”, according to peers. She delivers counsel to private clients on a wide array of matters, from estate planning to trusts.

OBERSON ABELS’ founding partner Xavier Oberson enjoys international acclaim for his considerable expertise in private client-related tax issues. Respondents deem him “a tax guru” with a “fantastic reputation”.
Frederic Vuilleumier is also recognised as a leading lawyer in the private client space.

CMS VON ERLACH PONCET’s Tobias Somary is a renowned name in the market, particularly for his insight and experience advising clients on estate and succession planning.

CHARLES RUSSELL SPEECHLYS’ Zurich office is home to the “superb” Mark Summers. His practice focuses on cross-border estate planning and wealth management, with a particularly focus on tax issues. According to sources, “He is uniquely placed to offer UK tax advice to international private clients.”

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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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W11 1QQ, UK