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Peter Reichart

Peter Reichart

Wartmann Merker LtdKirchgasse 48PO BoxZurichSwitzerlandCH-8024

Thought Leader

WWL says

Peter Reichart is known for handling “high-profile, complex litigations in Switzerland, often in an international context”. One peer effuses: “Peter is probably one of the best lawyers you can get in Zurich in his field of expertise, notably commercial and employment litigation.”

Questions & Answers

Peter Reichart focuses on representing parties in state courts and before arbitral tribunals in banking, finance and insurance matters, as well as regarding infrastructure projects, D&O-liability claims, professional malpractice suits, and licence agreements, particularly in connection with media rights. He also sits as an arbitrator in his field of expertise. Peter holds a doctorate degree from the University of Zurich (summa cum laude) and an LL.M. degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. 

What inspired you to pursue a career in the field of commercial dispute resolution?

While studying law at the University of Zurich, I had the chance to participate in a course at the Federal Supreme Court. The students were given a real case and had to write an opinion as if they were Supreme Court Justices. Afterwards, we could listen to the public deliberations of the Supreme Court, and see how the case was decided. I was hooked. Finally, I could put my theoretical knowledge to use in a real case – and I desperately wanted to “win” (which, I have to admit, I did not). 

What do clients look for in an effective litigator?

Clients are demanding – and they have every right to be. They presuppose absolute dedication, they seek sound strategic advice, they want a candid assessment of their case and their chances, they request that their lawyer truly masters the facts, they want to see their case presented clearly and forcefully. But let’s be frank, ultimately clients evaluate litigators based on their success. 

How has the market changed since you first started practising?

Lawyers in Switzerland have become ever more focused and specialised. While it was common when I started practising law that lawyers advised clients on a wide range of issues, today clients, especially sophisticated ones, want to work with a true expert in the field. That is a chance for boutique firms like Wartmann Merker specialising in commercial dispute resolution. 

What impact will the recent revisions to the Swiss Civil Procedure Code have on your practice and the dispute resolution landscape in Switzerland more broadly?

One exciting development is that it shall become possible to conduct civil court proceedings in other languages than the official language of the respective canton. The intention is that international commercial disputes can be litigated in English, comparable to arbitral proceedings. That will be a boost for the project of the Zurich International Commercial Court (ZICC), an initiative of a working group of the Zurich Bar Association of which I am a member. 

What procedural issues relating to dispute resolution do you see arising from covid-19 where the majority of participants continue to live under lockdown?

While courts in Switzerland have resumed holding hearings on a regular basis, covid-19 still poses a number of challenges: due to travel restrictions it has become more difficult and time-consuming to get instructions from clients, also many interviews, interrogations and witness examinations still have to be cancelled or postponed, and court proceedings have slowed down considerably. 

What is the most memorable case you have been a part of?

The collapse of the Swissair group of companies back in 2001 generated a plethora of cases, namely complex directors and officers liability cases with many defendants and previously unseen amounts in dispute. Swissair has, so to speak, accompanied me for the better part of my career. Now, almost 20 years after the grounding of the Swissair fleet, it looks as if an overall settlement involving all directors and officers can be reached. 

How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?

I plan to continue to work in my field of expertise. Lately, our firm has been extremely busy and I do not expect any shortage of dispute resolution work in the foreseeable future. Often, major economic disruptions, e.g. the financial crisis of 2007/2008, generate commercial disputes, and covid-19 and its ramifications on the worldwide economy will not be any different.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

National Leader

Switzerland - Litigation 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Peter Reichart is known for handling “high-profile, complex litigations in Switzerland, often in an international context”. One peer effuses: “Peter is probably one of the best lawyers you can get in Zurich in his field of expertise, notably commercial and employment litigation.”

Biography

Peter Reichart's practice focuses on dispute resolution in complex commercial cases. He represents clients before state courts, arbitral tribunals and supervisory authorities. Among other areas, his practice includes disputes in the field of banking law, bank supervisory law, industrial and infrastructure projects, and directors and officers liability.

Peter Reichart joined Wartmann & Merker in 1999 and has been a partner since 2002. Previously, he worked as a legal assistant to Prof Dr Walter R Schluep (chair for Swiss and European private law and commercial law) (1992-1994); clerked at a district court (1994-1996); was an associate with an international law firm in Zurich (1996-1998); and was a visiting foreign lawyer with Jenner & Block, Chicago (1999).

Peter Reichart graduated from the University of Zurich in 1991 (lic iur). He earned his doctorate degree in 1995 with a thesis in private international law (summa cum laude; Professor Walther Hug prize). In 1999, he graduated from the University of Michigan Law School (LLM).

Established in 1992, Wartmann & Merker's core area of practice is dispute resolution. The firm advises clients from Switzerland and abroad and represents them in court in all areas of commercial law. Members of the firm act as counsel or arbitrator in international and domestic arbitral proceedings. In addition, the firm advises Swiss manufacturing, trading and service companies, and it acts for foreign companies doing business in Switzerland, notably in the financial and media sectors.

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