Alexis Schoeb
Office:
3, rue Michel-Chauvet
1208
City:
Geneva
State:
Geneva
Country:
Switzerland
Tel:
+41 22 830 08 08

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Switzerland

Alexis Schoeb is the founding partner of Schoeb Baumgartner Attorneys at law, a boutique firm in Geneva specialising in business and sports law. His practice includes sports litigation and arbitration and he has acted as counsel and arbitrator in numerous high-profile cases. In 2018 he was appointed to the list of arbitrators at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Alexis has a broad client base and has represented federations, clubs and athletes across a range of different sports (including football, cycling and athletics among others).

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO SPECIALISE IN SPORTS LAW?

Sport has always been an important part of my life, as both a sportsman and a sports fan. Working in this area of law allows me to handle complex legal questions using my experience and interest in all kinds of different sports. Sports law is such a fast-growing area of law, with significant opportunities for development – I was very keen to be involved in that. 

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO ESTABLISH SCHOEB BAUMGARTNER?

After several years working for major law firms in Switzerland, I decided to create a boutique law firm that would be highly specialised in sports law. At the time of the creation of the firm (2011) the sports law industry was growing extremely fast and I believed that specialised firms would soon emerge and sports law would become an important legal business. I wanted to make sure that in that climate I could provide clients with a more personal and tailored service as I believe that this can sometimes get lost in larger commercial firms. 

WHAT ARE THE MOST REWARDING AND, CONVERSELY, THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECTS OF RUNNING A BOUTIQUE LAW FIRM? 

By nature, a boutique law firm limits its activities to a few dedicated areas of law. This means we are often called upon to deal with complex and/or major cases because we can provide such highly specialised advice. It is without any doubt always rewarding to know that we are providing the best-quality advice to our clients. The downside, and certainly the most challenging aspect, is that the firm has limited manpower when working on large cases – however, this simply means that we develop (and call upon) key networks and that every one of our team members are ready to “give it all” at all times.

YOU ARE HIGHLY RESPECTED FOR YOUR WORK AS A SPORTS LAWYER (AND NOW CAS ARBITRATOR). WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE CHALLENGES UNIQUE TO SPORTS DISPUTES? 

The international nature of the sports industry means that is primarily ruled by specific sport regulations (which can be highly complex in and of themselves) – but we also need to take into account national laws and international principles. This can be a complex interaction and often requires a certain creativity as a lawyer. As sports lawyers we also need to remember that sport provokes extreme emotions – on the part of both its actors and its fans – and that we have to be sensitive to these when dealing with cases.  

WHAT ROLE DO LAWYERS PLAY IN THE BROADER COMMERCIAL PRESENCE OF SPORTSMEN AND WOMEN? 

Lawyers are involved at all stages in sports: we are involved in negotiating and drafting contracts with teams and sponsors, and, of course, in representing athletes if a dispute arises. In my experience sports lawyers are very often a key link between the sportsman or woman and his or her agent, team and federation, and are essential for protecting the athletes’ commercial and personal rights.

TO WHAT EXTENT HAVE E-SPORTS REVOLUTIONISED THE GLOBAL SPORTS INDUSTRY? 

E-sports will definitely bring a lot to the sports industry in terms of visibility and finance. It is a completely new area which is very different from the current sport industry. This means it will need entirely different regulations, a different business approach and certainly a different regulatory approach than that of the traditional “sports federations”. 

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FACING SPORTS LAWYERS OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS? 

Sports law has seen a strong development in the past 10 years. A lot of lawyers have decided to specialise and concentrate their activity in this specific area of law. However, sports law is becoming more and more complex and sports lawyers will certainly have to get even more specialised in certain subjects. To name a few: anti-doping, contracts, and the financial and regulatory aspects of sports and e-sports. 

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?

Around 10 years ago, sports law was considered a minor (or even non-existent) legal industry. At that time, many of us thought it would be impossible to have a successful law firm dedicated almost exclusively to sports – and to this day many firms cannot survive based only on their sports law work. Seven years after starting a sports law firm, I am particularly proud to have a successful firm dedicated to the sports law industry. 

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