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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Jean-Marc Carnicé

Jean-Marc Carnicé

BianchiSchwald LLC5, rue Jacques-Balmat (PO Box 5839)GenevaSwitzerland1211

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader
WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Jean-Marc Carnicé has deep and varied experience in white-collar crime matters, and is recognised for his impressive work in high-stakes proceedings.

Questions & Answers

Jean-Marc Carnicé heads BianchiSchwald LLC’s dispute resolution and white-collar crime practice groups within the firm. He was the chair of the Geneva Bar Association from 2014 to 2016. He is a lecturer at the École d’Avocature of the Law Faculty of Geneva University, and a member of the High Council of Geneva’s Judiciary. Jean-Marc Carnicé holds a law degree from the University of Geneva and an LLM from New York University. He has been admitted to the Geneva Bar since 1994 and the New York Bar since 1996.

What inspired you to pursue a career in white-collar crime defence?

My interest in white-collar crime dates back to the time of my legal internship more than 25 years ago. I had the opportunity to work with the most brilliant lawyers in this field, first in Switzerland and then in Great Britain. I have developed a major interest in white-collar crime, in particular issues related to corruption and money laundering. The needs of the international clientele targeted by criminal proceedings in Switzerland convinced me to pursue a career in this highly specialised and extremely interesting field of law.

In what ways does your university teaching enhance your work in private practice?

I am a lecturer at the University of Geneva, in the Law School. I teach the drafting of judicial acts in criminal matters to some 300 students in cooperation with a magistrate of the Criminal Court. This teaching is extremely interesting for me – first, because it requires me to know in detail all the developments in the field of white-collar crime, in order to transmit them to students; and second, because it gives me the opportunity to meet young students, and soon-to-be lawyers, and to share their concerns and understand how they work. The link between the university and judicial practice is extremely enriching.

What are the main jurisdictional issues that arise between cantonal and federal levels in white-collar crime work?

The Office of the Attorney General of the Confederation is responsible for investigating crimes against the security of the state, but above all has powers that extend to the criminal prosecution of complex international cases involving organised crime, money laundering and corruption. The Cantonal Public Prosecutors’ Offices also investigate cases involving corruption and money laundering, even when there are many international ramifications. Ultimately, there is some confusion about each other’s competences, sometimes even conflicts, especially between the cantons that host financial centres, such as Geneva and Zurich, and the Confederation. This confusion certainly hinders the smooth running of the proceedings.

Does the Swiss Criminal Procedure Code achieve its goals regarding litigation?

Switzerland unified its criminal procedure in 2011. One of the objectives of the reform was to speed up procedures by simplifying them. It has failed. The average length of proceedings has increased. Justice is more expensive and the results are no better than before. The rights of defence have been reduced. The procedure is not satisfactory to anyone and there are many draft amendments pending before the federal parliament.

What are the most important professional ethics for lawyers in white-collar crime defence?

One of the most important ethical rules is, of course, professional secrecy. Under Swiss law, the activity of a lawyer is protected by absolute secrecy. Nothing that the client says to his or her lawyer can be disclosed to any authority. Even if the secret is lifted by his or her client, the lawyer has the right to refuse to testify. It is extremely important for me to establish a relationship of absolute trust with the client, who must know that the disclosures he or she makes to his or her lawyer will not be shared with anyone. To this must be added the notions of independence, probity and competence. The lawyer must not be under any pressure, must never make decisions dictated by his or her own interests and must only accept mandates that he or she is able to handle. Lawyers must also be transparent with their clients about the fees.

What distinguishes BianchiSchwald from its competitors?

Our firm has a group of highly experienced criminal lawyers located throughout Switzerland in Geneva, Zurich, Lausanne and Bern. It can offer services to Swiss and international clients anywhere in Switzerland, and plead in all cantons and at the federal level. The lawyers are fluent in French, German, English, Spanish and Italian. I have the privilege of heading our firm’s white-collar crime department.

How is the generational shift changing legal practice at your firm? What do younger lawyers do differently?

The firm is composed of lawyers of all ages. In a profession that is constantly changing, I ensure active knowledge management and intergenerational transfer, so as to serve the client in the most efficient way possible.

How do you anticipate the Swiss legal market changing in the next five years? How might this affect your practice?

The activity of the white-collar crime lawyer is closely linked to the sustainability of a financial centre. Geneva is a flourishing financial centre. Despite the economic crisis that hit the banking world, and the disappearance of banking secrecy in 2008, Geneva’s financial centre has been able to rebound with efficiency and dynamism. Switzerland has seen an influx of new customers from all over the world. Switzerland’s economic prosperity has a positive impact on the activity of lawyers. The clientele has diversified. Previously rather European, it has now become globalised. This process will continue. It will be necessary to hire more lawyers who have gained experience abroad, particularly in the Far East, South America and Africa. To understand customer problems you need to know their culture and industry. This is a challenge that we have already begun to address.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Jean Marc Carnice is a well-recognised figure in the Swiss market and is renowned worldwide for his expertise in white-collar crime matters.

Biography

Jean-Marc Carnicé heads BianchiSchwald LLC’s dispute resolution and white-collar crime practice groups within the firm.

He is widely recognised for his outstanding expertise in white-collar crimes as well as international assistance in criminal matters, commercial and banking litigation.

He was the chairman of the Geneva Bar Association from 2014 to 2016. His appointment was a true reward for the work he achieved over the years.

He is also a lecturer at the École d’Avocature of the Law Faculty at Geneva University and was recently elected as a member of the High Council of Geneva’s judiciary. He provides highly specialised criminal law courses within the Swiss Bar Association’s exclusive training programme.

Jean-Marc Carnicé holds a law degree from the University of Geneva and an LLM from New York University. He was admitted to the Geneva Bar in 1994 and the New York Bar in 1996.

He is a member of the International Association of Criminal Law, the Swiss Society of Criminal Law, the Geneva Bar Association (executive committee, criminal law committee and continuous education committee) and the Swiss section of the International Lawyers’ Commission. He practises in French, English, Spanish and Italian.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Jean Marc Carnice draws recognition for his experience in defending individuals in business crime matters and is noted for his international expertise in the field.

Biography

Jean-Marc Carnicé heads BianchiSchwald LLC’s dispute resolution and white-collar crime practice groups within the firm.

He is widely recognised for his outstanding expertise in white-collar crimes as well as international assistance in criminal matters, commercial and banking litigation.

He was the chairman of the Geneva Bar Association from 2014 to 2016. His appointment was a true reward for the work he achieved over the years.

He is also a lecturer at the Ecole d’avocature of the Law Faculty at Geneva University and was recently elected as a member of the High Council of Geneva’s judiciary. He provides highly specialised criminal law courses within the Swiss Bar Association’s exclusive training programme.

Jean-Marc Carnicé holds a law degree from the University of Geneva and an LLM from New York University. He was admitted to the Geneva Bar in 1994 and the New York Bar in 1996.

He is a member of the International Association of Criminal Law, the Swiss Society of Criminal Law, the Geneva Bar Association (executive committee, criminal law committee and continuous education committee) and the Swiss section of the International Lawyers’ Commission. He practises in French, English, Spanish and Italian.

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Jean-Marc Carnicé has deep and varied experience in white-collar crime matters, and is recognised for his impressive work in high-stakes proceedings.

Biography

Jean-Marc Carnicé heads BianchiSchwald LLC’s dispute resolution and white-collar crime practice groups within the firm.

He is widely recognised for his outstanding expertise in white-collar crimes as well as international assistance in criminal matters, commercial and banking litigation.

He was the chairman of the Geneva Bar Association from 2014 to 2016. His appointment was a true reward for the work he achieved over the years. He was re-elected to the board of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He is also a lecturer at the Ecole d’Avocature of the Law Faculty at Geneva University and was recently elected as a member of the High Council of Geneva’s judiciary. He provides highly specialised criminal law courses within the Swiss Bar Association’s exclusive training programme.

Jean-Marc Carnicé holds a law degree from the University of Geneva and an LLM from New York University. He was admitted to the Geneva Bar in 1994 and the New York Bar in 1996.

He is a member of the International Association of Criminal Law, the Swiss Society of Criminal Law, the Geneva Bar Association (executive committee, criminal law committee and continuous education committee) and the Swiss section of the International Lawyers’ Commission. He practises in French, English, Spanish and Italian.

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