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Switzerland: Sports & Entertainment 2017

Switzerland remains a major market for sports law, in no small part due to the presence of FIFA, the IOC, numerous international Olympic authorities and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Entertainment law is also thriving as an active area of practice in the country. In total, 27 lawyers are listed for their expertise in these areas. The best of these are covered below.

Most Highly Regarded
1. Michele Bernasconi Bär & Karrer, Zurich
2. Jorge Ibarrola Libra Law, Lausanne
3. Antonio Rigozzi Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler, Geneva
4. François Carrard Kellerhals Carrard, Lausanne
5. Lucien W Valloni Froriep, Zurich

KELLERHALS CARRARD leads the way in our listings, with five of its practitioners included.
According to sources the exceptional François Carrard is a “regular player” in the market; his background as director-general of the IOC has helped him build a reputation as a leading expert in sports matters. Interviewees highlight him as a “formidable professional who is skilled and capable of arguing complex cases with ease”.
Jean-Pierre Morand offers clients over 30 years’ experience in sports-related matters. He is particularly known for his high-quality representation of sporting federations and his regular appearances before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Ross Wenzel is highlighted for the quality of his advocacy in commercial cases involving sports matters. He is also noted for his expertise in anti-doping cases.

At LIBRA LAW, two of our most-nominated lawyers in this area are recognised for their outstanding expertise.
Jorge Ibarrola continues to be recognised by sources in Switzerland and beyond for his level of activity and strength of practice in sports matters. He represents a comprehensive range of clubs, individual athletes and governing bodies and is widely regarded as one of the most proficient practitioners in the market.
Claude Ramoni is “a sports and commercial law specialist” whose “great experience in contractual matters and disputes before the CAS” is particularly highlighted by our sources.

Two practitioners from LÉVY KAUFMANN-KOHLER are identified as among the best in Switzerland.
Head of the sports practice Antonio Rigozzi is an internationally renowned arbitration and litigation expert who regularly appears before the CAS and Swiss courts. He is variously described by leading names in the market as “a top lawyer” and “one of the key players”.
Sébastien Besson is an arbitration specialist who boasts extensive experience in sports-related matters. He is frequently instructed by major sports clients to assist them with complex legal issues.

Stephan Netzle at TIMES ATTORNEYS is a “really excellent” lawyer in the area who possesses nearly 30 years’ experience, including nearly 20 as a member of the CAS. His practice covers a comprehensive range of telecommunications and sports matters.

At BÄR & KARRER, thought leader Michele Bernasconi stands apart in our research as the leading Swiss sports and media lawyer this year and one of the best in the world. He is a very well-known figure in litigation matters in particular, and is noted as a “big player” by sources.

At FRORIEP in Zurich, Lucien Valloni is a “very knowledgeable sports lawyer” who handles a broad array of matters before the CAS and all levels of Swiss courts. He advises a number of prominent international and domestic governing bodies among others and also handles broader media and entertainment work for clients.

At CMS VON ERLACH PONCET, Olivier Carrard is identified by sources as “one of the leading lawyers” in the market. He has significant experience in the Olympic movement, including acting as part of the ad hoc committee of the CAS during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Bernhard Heusler at WALDER WYSS handles corporate matters in the sports field and is particularly noted for his work in football, having advised both clubs and governing bodies on legal issues relating to the sport’s governance.

Hans Nater of NATER DALLAFIOR RECHTSANWÄLTE is a noted litigator and CAS arbitrator who is highly regarded for his understanding of complex sports law issues.

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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