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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Andrea Dorjee-Good is a seasoned practitioner on all elements of estate and succession planning. Sources praise her advice as “clear, commercial and pragmatic”.

Questions & Answers

Andrea Dorjee-Good is a partner in Schellenberg Wittmer’s private wealth group in Zurich. She is a certified specialist in inheritance law and advises private clients on all aspects of estate and succession planning, including pre and post-nuptial agreements, wills, succession pacts, lasting powers of attorney, trusts and foundations. Andrea also regularly represents clients in complex cross-border trust and estate disputes.

What inspired you to pursue a legal career?

Actually, I began studying economics first and thought I would specialise in marketing. During my first year I had to attend some mandatory law classes and I began to realise the important role law plays in our society and that law basically affects every single part of our lives. It became clear to me that understanding the principles of law is extremely valuable no matter what kind of career I would pursue. The more I understood about law and how it is applied in practice, the more I became passionate about it and I’ve never looked back.

What is it about private client work that you enjoy most?

The human element – every client and his/her family is unique and has a different story, a different vision and different needs on both personal and legal levels. This makes our work extremely interesting and diverse, and calls for tailor-made and innovative solutions for each individual client.

In addition, as a team player, I very much like the collaborative approach that private client work entails due to its interdisciplinary nature and the numerous cross-border elements we are handling for our clients.

What qualities make for an effective private client lawyer in today’s climate?

I’m convinced that to be truly effective in our field, you must be able to connect with clients on a more personal level than in other domains – we are often involved in very delicate family matters and it is important to be able to be empathetic and understanding while remaining professional and clear-headed as counsel. Of course, it goes without saying that you need to be up to date on current legal developments, both nationally but also in other jurisdictions.Only if you have the broader picture and are sensitive to potential legal issues will you be in a position to ask the right questions to truly understand the client’s actual needs.

How have increasing calls for transparency and compliance been affecting the nature of client demands in recent years?

We have seen a general trend of clients wanting to simplify and dismantle existing structures. The regulatory framework has increased in complexity, and clients are often overwhelmed by the myriad of applicable rules and regulations that frequently span multiple jurisdictions. Clients today are interested in international solutions that address all possibly relevant jurisdictions, which means that we increasingly find ourselves coordinating with colleagues across the globe to offer holistic solutions tailored to the individual client.

What challenges do you face when working at a cross-border level and how do you ensure you are equipped to meet them?

One of the greatest challenges is to keep up to date with the global trends in a constantly changing environment, and to provide our clients with tailor-made solutions that cover all relevant cross-border aspects. We need to properly coordinate our advice with colleagues across the globe; this requires an excellent network allowing us to work with the right people, who have the necessary expertise and whom we trust. To do so, I regularly attend conferences to get to know my peers, build up relationships, and stay informed about the latest legal and policy developments across various jurisdictions. While in-person interactions and international travel may continue to be affected by the

covid-19 crisis, I am confident that new avenues will be opened to engage with peers across the globe remotely.

In your opinion, what are the likely long-term effects of covid-19 on the private client market?

This is hard to predict, as it is too early yet to assess the long-term impact of the current pandemic, or to tell how long this crisis will last. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that it will have a far-reaching and probably permanent impact – not only on our economy, but also on our personal lives. People have drastically reduced their travel activities and it is quite possible that this will remain the trend in the long term. This could have a “de-globalising” effect in the sense that clients and their families may become more domestic again. Furthermore, governments around the globe will need to generate new revenues to cover the enormous costs of this crisis, and many countries will likely introduce new taxes, increase their tax rates and/or be less cooperative in coming to tax agreements with individuals. These aspects will likely have an impact on how families wish to structure their wealth in the future.

How do you anticipate the Swiss legal framework changing in the next five years?

Besides the ongoing trend for regulation, there are currently several specific legislative projects under way that will change the Swiss legal framework for private client advisers in the coming years. One project is the current revision of Swiss inheritance law, which aims in particular to facilitate succession of family businesses and reduce forced heirship rights for descendants. This would provide more estate planning flexibility. Additional flexibility might be introduced by the current revision of the Swiss private international law, which will allow Swiss dual nationals to choose their foreign national law to govern their estate rather than being limited to Swiss law, as is currently the case. Further, there is also an ongoing project to introduce a Swiss trust law. As of now, Switzerland recognises foreign trusts based on the Hague Trust Convention, but has no substantive trust law.

What is the best piece of career advice you have received?

Always be yourself and never be afraid of asking questions about something you don’t understand or know (yet).

Global Leader

Private Client 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

The "fantastic" Andrea Dorjee-Good gains plaudits for her admirable private wealth practice. She is involved in domestic and international estate planning as well as trust and estate litigation.

Biography

Andrea Dorjee-Good is a partner in Schellenberg Wittmer's private wealth group in Zurich. She is a certified specialist in inheritance law and advises private clients on all aspects of estate and succession planning, including pre and post-nuptial agreements, wills, succession pacts, lasting powers of attorney, trusts and foundations. Her practice areas further include contentious estates and she regularly represents clients in complex estate disputes.

Some recent examples of Andrea's expertise in private client matters include advising family members of a major family-owned corporation in a family dispute related to the family business and representing one of several heirs of a major family-owned business in a complex cross-border international trust and estate dispute.

Andrea is a member of several professional associations, including the Swiss Bar Association, the Zurich Bar Association, the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). She regularly publishes and speaks in her field of specialisation.

Andrea graduated from the University of St Gallen School of Law (lic iur 2004) and was admitted to the Swiss Bar in 2007. She joined Schellenberg Wittmer as a trainee in 2004 and, after gaining court experience as a clerk at the District Court of Winterthur, she rejoined the firm as an associate in 2007, she was promoted to counsel in 2013 and became a partner in 2020. Andrea obtained a diploma with distinction in international trust management from STEP in 2014 and qualified as Certified Specialist SBA Inheritance Law in 2019.

National Leader

Switzerland - Private Client 2021

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Andrea Dorjee-Good is “a star” and “a huge talent in the field” according to sources who applaud her “strong experience in cross-border estate planning”.

Biography

Andrea Dorjee-Good is a Partner in Schellenberg Wittmer’s Zurich office, where she heads the Private Wealth group. She is a certified specialist in inheritance law and advises private clients on all aspects of estate and succession planning, including pre and post-nuptial agreements, wills, succession pacts, lasting powers of attorney, trusts and foundations. Her practice areas further include contentious estates and she regularly represents clients in complex trust and estate disputes.

Some recent examples of Andrea's expertise in private client matters include advising members of an international family on succession planning and structuring for their jointly owned family business and representing one of several heirs in a complex cross-border international trust and estate dispute involving a major family owned business.

Andrea is a member of several professional associations, including the Swiss Bar Association, the Zurich Bar Association, the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). She regularly publishes and speaks in her field of specialisation.

Andrea graduated from the University of St Gallen School of Law (lic iur 2004) and was admitted to the Swiss Bar in 2007. She joined Schellenberg Wittmer as a trainee in 2004 and, after gaining court experience as a clerk at the District Court of Winterthur, she rejoined the firm as an associate in 2007, she was promoted to counsel in 2013 and became a partner in 2020. Andrea obtained a diploma with distinction in international trust management from STEP in 2014 and qualified as a Certified Specialist SBA Inheritance Law in 2019.

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