Patricia Guerra
Office:
Schiffbaustrasse 2
PO Box 1765
8031
City:
Zurich
State:
Zurich
Country:
Switzerland
Tel:
+41 44 396 91 91
Fax:
+41 44 396 91 92

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Switzerland

Patricia Guerra heads the firm’s Zurich private clients practice. She has extensive experience in advising UHNWI/HNWI and their families on all personal matters including estate planning, family assets structuring and philanthropy. Fluent in English, German, French and Spanish; her focus is on cross-border matters. She is consistently recognised as a top professional in the main legal directories (Chambers HNW Guide, City Wealth Leaders List, Best Lawyers) and in the Swiss press for her female leadership.  

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO A CAREER IN PRIVATE CLIENT LAW?

The human component and the broad range of challenging issues.

WHAT SKILLS MUST A LAWYER POSSESS TO SUCCEED IN THIS SPACE?

Empathy, excellent communication skills, cross-border legal competence, the ability to recognise trends, and a bird’s eye view. The aptitude to work in a team is also extremely important.

HOW ARE CLIENTS IN LATIN AMERICA RESPONDING TO THE INTRODUCTION OF THE COMMON REPORTING STANDARD? 

Clients are complying. However, they are reorganising and taking measures (including relocation) to ensure the safety of their families, maintain confidentiality and protect their assets. 

A NUMBER OF SOURCES HAVE NOTED THAT THE PASSING ON OF ASSETS TO YOUNGER GENERATIONS IS BECOMING MORE FREQUENT. HOW IS YOUR PRACTICE WELL PLACED TO ASSIST ON SUCH ISSUES?

Our extensive expertise and network are key. Our skills to identify trends and our open mindedness are appreciated assets. Further, our internationality and multicultural background allows us to swiftly identify relevant issues in the various jurisdictions involved. Last but not least, several of our lawyers, though experienced, are relatively young and understand what is moving the younger generations, which makes a transfer smoother. 

HOW IS AWARENESS AMONG HIGH-NET-WORTH INDIVIDUALS OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS SUCH AS CLIMATE CHANGE OR OBESITY IMPACTING THE WORK OF PRIVATE CLIENT LAWYERS?

Awareness is high and increasing with the younger generations. Most of our clients wish to make a contribution to society and are prepared to dedicate a substantial part of their assets to philanthropic endeavours, as well as their time, to try to solve or alleviate societal problems with which we are confronted. It is becoming more relevant for the private client lawyer to be sensitive to these increasingly important issues for families. The private client lawyer must also help families navigate boundaries between preserving the family wealth for future generations and making a social impact. The work of the private client lawyer in this field supports the development of responsibility and awareness as well as communication and respect among family members.

WHAT EFFECT DO YOU EXPECT THE CONTINUED GLOBAL MOBILITY OF WEALTHY INDIVIDUALS TO HAVE ON THE SHAPE OF THE LEGAL MARKET?

Law firms will need to continue expanding internationally and/or participating in international networks in order to be able to give the most efficient, qualified and swift legal advice to international families. The private client lawyer who is the trusted adviser of clients and their families will more and more adopt a key role as strategic planner for the family and coordinator and supervisor of teams of lawyers in various jurisdictions. For this, a good understanding of international and jurisdictional legal and cultural issues and excellent communication skills are necessary, as well as keeping an elevated view of the matters and a sense of perspective. 

WHAT CAN FIRMS DO TO ENCOURAGE MORE WOMEN TO SPECIALISE IN THIS FIELD OF LAW?

We need more female leaders on top to inspire young female lawyers and show them that they can make it. Indeed, women have endurance and empathy, two key elements to succeed in this field of law. It is also important that law firms provide the flexibility to allow young female lawyers to be able to reconcile their professional careers and their family lives.

WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE?

My proudest achievement is to have “made it” being a woman with a foreign background. This is a matter of persistence, circumstances and conviction. The most touching moment and motivating achievement is when a client tells me: “What would I have done without you?” This is a matter of dedication and trust.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Switzerland - Private Client

Patricia Guerra is head of the private clients team in Zurich and head of the Latin America desk of the firm. She has extensive experience in advising UHNW and HNW individuals and families in all personal matters and matters concerning family assets as well as in philanthropic endeavours. Patricia Guerra continuously deals with cross border issues and regularly takes on the legal leadership necessary to coordinate teams across various jurisdictions.

She is fluent in English, Spanish, German and French and is proficient in Portuguese and Italian.

WWL says: Patricia Guerra is considered “one of the best” private client practitioners in Switzerland by impressed sources, who describe her as “a fantastic lawyer”.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Switzerland which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Private Client: Lawyers

Patricia Guerra is a partner of Meyerlustenberger Lachenal and heads the firm's private clients practice group in Zurich. Patricia Guerra graduated from the law school of the University of Geneva, Switzerland and has a Master of Law from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. She is admitted to Bar in Switzerland (1989) and New York (1992).

Ms Guerra advises international affluent families in cross border matters. Her expertise and extensive experience allows her to give practical advice and find tailor-made solutions for her private clients in their international businesses and personal matters. This includes structuring of family holdings and assets, international estate and succession planning, relocation, family organisation and philanthropy.

Patricia acts as board member of several charitable foundations, is a member of the Umbrella Association of Charitable Foundations in Switzerland, as well as a member of the American and International Bar Association. She is honorary consul of Ecuador and member of the Corps Consulaire in Zurich. She provides legal advice in four languages: English, Spanish, French and German.

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal is one of Switzerland's leading international law firms with approximately 95 professionals and offices in Zurich, Geneva, Zug and Brussels and with an extensive network of international correspondents.

The private clients practice group is well acquainted with the special needs of affluent private clients and their families and provides holistic advice. The in-house notaries assure additional expertise and confidentiality for private matters.

WWL says: Patricia Guerra draws praise from widespread sources who note that she is renowned as a favourite among clients from Latin America.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Private Client which can be purchased from our Shop.

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