Tina Wüstemann
Office:
Brandschenkestrasse 90
8027
City:
Zurich
State:
Zurich
Country:
Switzerland
Tel:
+41 58 261 50 00
Fax:
+41 58 261 50 01

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders Global Elite

Tina Wüstemann is a partner and heads the private client team at Bär & Karrer Ltd. She has more than 20 years of experience in private client matters and is regarded as one of the leading Swiss experts in this field. Tina Wüstemann advises Swiss and foreign private clients, family offices and entrepreneurs regarding complex estate, succession and family governance matters, and she represents clients in contentious trust and estate matters as well as the administration of large international estates. She is chair of the Conference on International Trust and Inheritance Law Practice of the University of Zurich and serves as board member in several international charitable organisations.

What motivated you to specialise in private client work?

I prefer advising individuals and their families rather than corporations. Private client relationships are long-term and sometimes they even extend to the next generation. Apart from that, our clients have a need for a broad variety of services covering different areas of law, which makes my job so interesting.

What have been the greatest challenges in your career so far, and how did you overcome them?

When I started as a lawyer 25 years ago, there were few female partners working in big law firms. I was made a non-equity partner with Bär & Karrer shortly after the birth of my first child. To become an equity partner took more time. I soon had my second child, and at the same time needed to build up my business case and my own practice, which was sometimes difficult. I try to encourage my female colleagues today not to rush things and take one step after the other, as building up a practice and a family at the same time is challenging, to say the least.

What qualities do clients look for in an effective private client lawyer?

Apart from a broad knowledge and expertise not only of the client’s own jurisdiction but of other systems of law and cultures, a private client lawyer must be a good listener, understand the family’s dynamics, and have good common sense and excellent empathy with the clients. Needless to say, a private client lawyer must be trustworthy given the often very personal and sensitive issues we deal with.

What factors have contributed to the increasingly litigious nature of trust and estate work?

There has been definitely a rise in high-value, complex, cross-border trust and estate disputes during the last years. We are currently involved in several multibillion-dollar disputes for clients involving jurisdictions and assets all around the world, where Bär & Karrer is mostly not only acting as Swiss counsel but also has the overall lead. In my role as a trust and estate litigator, I come across poor planning quite frequently. The results are often lengthy and costly proceedings, and the family’s “dirty linen” is being washed in public.

There are many catalysts for the increase in such disputes: testators are leaving large fortunes in complex structures covering different jurisdictions. The boom in estate and trust litigation is also the result of the “second-generation problem” where principals pass away and hand the baton over to the next generation in circumstances where familial pressures are left unresolved. The increasing number of multiple marriages and the tensions that arise among spouses and children from previous marriages also give rise to litigation. Our task as private client advisers is to guide our clients to avoid legal action where possible and to defuse conflicts before they arise. This approach helps to preserve family wealth and harmony, but there are situations where disputes can unfortunately not be avoided.

How does diversity within law firms benefit the legal business as a whole?

Diversity can make you stand out as a firm in general and attract talented, ambitious professionals. Also, I believe that a diverse workforce, with its range of experience, expertise and working methods, can boost problem-solving and lead to greater productivity.

What steps does the legal community need to take to improve gender equality, particularly at partner level?

I believe any effort to support the development of current and future women leaders in the legal sector counts. At Bär & Karrer, our gender equality efforts focus on supporting female lawyers in making it to the top. As a mother, I am aware of what it takes to balance both career and family, and was grateful for any support I got.

How do you expect the legal market for private client work to develop over the next five years?

Private client work has become much more complex and challenging during the past few years. It is no longer sufficient to have an excellent knowledge about the variety of different services provided to our clients under Swiss law (eg, succession, family law, tax, governance etc), but it also needs a profound understanding of the common law system, and the guiding principles of cross-border planning and international taxation.

I expect more work for private client lawyers to come in the next five years, regarding both cross-border planning and, particularly, in the area of large-scale cross-border trust and estate disputes. We are well equipped to face these challenges: our private client practice has been considered one of Bär & Karrer’s core practice areas since the incorporation of our firm almost 50 years ago; it now has 38 lawyers. We can thus count on long-lasting experience and profound know-how in that area.

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Switzerland

Tina Wüstemann is a partner and heads the private client team at Bär & Karrer Ltd. She has more than 20 years of experience in private client matters and is regarded as one of the leading Swiss experts in this field. Tina Wüstemann advises Swiss and foreign private clients, family offices and entrepreneurs regarding complex estate, succession and family governance matters. She also represents clients in contentious trust and estate matters, as well as the administration of large international estates. 

WHAT SKILLS DOES A PRIVATE CLIENT LAWYER NEED TO EXCEL?

Apart from a broad knowledge and expertise of the client’s own jurisdiction, as well as a thorough understanding of other legal systems and cultures, a private client lawyer must be a good listener, understand the family’s dynamics and have good common sense and excellent empathy with the clients. 

WHAT EFFECT HAS POLITICAL INSTABILITY IN SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD ON CLIENT INTEREST IN USING SWITZERLAND AS A HUB FOR THEIR LEGAL NEEDS?

While Switzerland has moderate taxation and most cantons still provide for the forfait regime, high-net-worth individuals come to Switzerland not, in the main, for tax reasons, but because of Switzerland’s secure environment, its predictable legal system, a fully integrated and efficient capital market and its stable political system. Clients from politically unstable parts of the world value the reliability of the Swiss legal system.

WHAT TYPE OF WORK ARE YOU SEEING MOST FREQUENTLY AT PRESENT?

There has definitely been a rise in high-value, complex, cross-border trust and estate disputes. We are currently involved in several disputes worth billions for clients involving jurisdictions and assets all around the world, where, mostly, Bär & Karrer not only acts as Swiss counsel but has the overall lead.

HOW IS THE INCREASINGLY MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL AND COMPLEX NATURE OF PRIVATE CLIENT WORK SHAPING THE LEGAL MARKET?

Private client work has become much more complex and challenging during the past few years. Trusts are nowadays used for succession planning rather than for tax and family governance is an area that has grown as a means to ensure a smooth transition of wealth to the next generation. It is no longer sufficient to have an excellent knowledge about the variety of different services provided to our clients under Swiss law (eg, succession, family law, tax, governance etc), but one also needs a profound understanding of the common law system and the guiding principles of cross-border planning and international taxation. Thus, all of our private client lawyers have an LLM or experience of working in a common law jurisdiction. 

BÄR & KARRER’S PRIVATE CLIENT TEAM CONTINUE TO PERFORM WELL IN OUR LISTINGS. WHAT IS THE KEY TO THE PRACTICE’S SUCCESS?

The private clients practice is considered as one of Bär & Karrer’s core practice areas since the incorporation of our firm almost 50 years ago. We can thus count on long-lasting experience and profound know-how in that area.

Our team advises entrepreneurs, family offices and high-net-worth individuals in all three main language areas of Switzerland whereby the majority of our cases have an international component. 

I am proud that Bär & Karrer has managed to maintain its top position as leading Swiss law firm in this field and that we are constantly ranked in the first tier of all major ranking guides. Our practice has constantly grown over the last years and now comprises 38 lawyers. One reason for our continued success seems to be that we manage to attract the most talented associates. They appreciate the pleasant working environment with Bär & Karrer and, in particular, the opportunity to work on interesting, high-profile cases for an international clientele.

WHAT IS THE MAIN CHALLENGE YOUR FIRM FACES AT THE MOMENT?

The main challenges can be summarised as follows.  

First, operational effectiveness. We aim to remain lean, efficient and effective in our operations despite steady growth. 

Second, digitalisation. We recently hired a chief digital officer who helps us to reach our long-term goals in the area of digitalisation, and to recognise opportunities in relation to new technologies. He also assists us with the ongoing assessment of tools to support and automate some of our operational tasks. 

Third, know-how development. We just recruited a dedicated know-how manager who will focus on further developing our know-how tools. One key goal is to ensure that the technical and search capabilities of our know-how database continue to be at the forefront of the technological development.

AS HEAD OF THE FIRM’S PRIVATE CLIENT TEAM, WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE PRACTICE OVER THE COMING YEARS?

We aim to remain the first port of call in Switzerland for high-net-worth individuals and their families and to keep our first-tier ranking in the relevant guides. We endeavour to continue meeting our clients’ high expectations and to extend the client relationship to the next generation. One factor in achieving this is certainly to expand our practice over the coming years, as well as – more importantly – to provide top-quality and responsive advice. Another factor is to promote young, talented associates and to offer them a career within our private client practice. 

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Switzerland - Asset Recovery

Tina Wüstemann heads Bär & Karrer's private client team, which is listed in first tier of all major ranking guides.

Tina has more than 20 years of experience in private client matters and is regarded as one of the leading individuals in this field according to major directories and publications.  

She has extensive experience in advising UHNW and HNW individuals and families in domestic and cross-border estate and wealth planning matters including trusts, prenuptial agreements, wills and relocations to Switzerland. In addition to her advisory work on succession, charities and governance matters, Tina has a very strong practice in representing clients in large cross-border trust and estate disputes as well as the administration of large international estates, often taking the lead coordinating various teams of lawyers across jurisdictions.

The B&K private client team is currently representing heirs in a multi-billion inheritance dispute covering jurisdictions and assets all around the world, where, mostly, Tina not only acts as Swiss counsel for the clients but has the overall lead. Other examples of Tina's expertise in private client matters include advising UHNW family residents in London with regard to their relocation to Switzerland, covering a variety of aspects such as complex trust structures, tax, matrimonial property and succession planning.

Who's Who Legal lists Tina as a Thought Leader in Global Elite 2019 and in WWL Thought Leaders – Switzerland 2018 and considers her among the most highly regarded private client practitioners in Switzerland. Additionally, sources consider Tina as "brilliant" and "exemplary on the contentious side".

Chambers and Partners HNW 2018 rank Tina Wüstemann in “tier 1” of Switzerland's leading lawyers for private clients and note that Tina is considered as "one of the best lawyers in Switzerland and a go-to name for international planning" and according to market sources, "extremely bright and personable, with a good team around her: a class act".

Tina graduated in law from the University of Zurich, is also a member of the New York Bar (not practising) and holds an LLM from New York University. She speaks German, English and French. 

She publishes regularly and lectures on trust and estate matters in Switzerland and abroad.

Tina chairs the Zurich Annual Conference on International Trust and Inheritance Law Practice and serves as board member in several international charitable organisations. She is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law (TIAETL).

Bär & Karrer is a renowned Swiss law firm with more than 150 lawyers in Zurich, Geneva, Lugano and Zug. Its core business is advising clients on innovative and complex transactions and representing them in litigation, arbitration and regulatory proceedings. The firm's clients range from multinational corporations to private individuals in Switzerland and around the world.

Bär & Karrer has been repeatedly awarded Switzerland's "Law Firm of the Year" by the most prestigious international legal ranking agencies.

WWL says: Tina Wüstemann stands out for her impressive knowledge of international wealth management in complex asset tracing and recovery matters.

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

Who's Who Legal Switzerland - Private Client

Tina Wüstemann heads Bär & Karrer's private client team, which is listed in first tier of all major ranking guides.

Tina has more than 20 years of experience in private client matters and is regarded as one of the leading individuals in this field according to major directories and publications.  

She has extensive experience in advising UHNW and HNW individuals and families in domestic and cross-border estate and wealth planning matters including trusts, prenuptial agreements, wills and relocations to Switzerland. In addition to her advisory work on succession, charities and governance matters, Tina has a very strong practice in representing clients in large cross-border trust and estate disputes as well as the administration of large international estates, often taking the lead coordinating various teams of lawyers across jurisdictions.

The B&K private client team is currently representing heirs in a multibillion inheritance dispute covering jurisdictions and assets all around the world, where, mostly, Tina not only acts as Swiss counsel for the clients but has the overall lead. Other examples of Tina's expertise in private client matters include advising UHNW family residents in London with regard to their relocation to Switzerland, covering a variety of aspects such as complex trust structures, tax, matrimonial property and succession planning.

Who's Who Legal lists Tina as a Thought Leader in Global Elite 2019 and in WWL Thought Leaders – Switzerland 2018 and considers her among the most highly regarded private client practitioners in Switzerland. Additionally, sources consider Tina as "brilliant" and "exemplary on the contentious side".

Chambers and Partners HNW 2018 rank Tina Wüstemann in “tier 1” of Switzerland's leading lawyers for private clients and note that Tina is considered as "one of the best lawyers in Switzerland and a go-to name for international planning" and according to market sources, "extremely bright and personable, with a good team around her: a class act."

Tina graduated in law from the University of Zurich, is also a member of the New York Bar (not practising) and holds an LLM from New York University. She speaks German, English and French. 

She publishes regularly and lectures on trust and estate matters in Switzerland and abroad.

Tina chairs the Zurich Annual Conference on International Trust and Inheritance Law Practice and serves as board member in several international charitable organisations. She is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law (TIAETL).

Bär & Karrer is a renowned Swiss law firm with more than 150 lawyers in Zurich, Geneva, Lugano and Zug. Its core business is advising clients on innovative and complex transactions and representing them in litigation, arbitration and regulatory proceedings. The firm's clients range from multinational corporations to private individuals in Switzerland and around the world.

Bär & Karrer has been repeatedly awarded Switzerland's "Law Firm of the Year" by the most prestigious international legal ranking agencies.

WWL says: Tina Wüstemann is "excellent, as everyone knows" in the private client sector, according to adulatory respondents. She is “exemplary on the contentious side” and one of the leading names in the Swiss market when it comes to private client work.

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

Tina Wüstemann heads Bär & Karrer's private client team. She advises private clients, entrepreneurs and families on governance and succession in family businesses and on estate planning and philanthropy. She further represents clients in complex estate and trust disputes and the administration of large international estates.

Tina Wüstemann is a member of the editorial board of the journal Trust & Trustees and chair of the Zurich annual conference on international trust and inheritance law practice. Furthermore, she serves as board member in several international charitable organisations.

Tina is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law (TIAETL).

Tina Wüstemann graduated in law (lic iur) from the University of Zurich, is also member of the New York Bar (not practising) and holds an LLM from New York University. She speaks German, English and French.

WWL says: Tina Wüstemann is a "very knowledgeable and energetic" practitioner who is regularly seen in trust and estate planning and litigation matters by impressed peers.

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

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