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Thought Leaders

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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Tina Wüstemann is “excellent, as everyone knows” in the private client sector, according to impressed respondents.

Questions & Answers

Tina Wüstemann is partner and head of the private client team at Bär & Karrer. 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. She advises high-net-worth individuals and their families in estate and wealth-planning matters, and has a very strong practice in representing clients in large, cross-border trust and estate disputes. WWL named Tina Wüstemann as the 2019 Private Client Lawyer of the Year (Switzerland), and the 2019 Chambers HNW Guide ranks her in the top tier of Switzerland’s leading lawyers for private clients.

Why did you decide to become a lawyer?

I actually could have pictured myself in many different careers! I chose law because I felt it would allow me to combine analytical skills with my aptitude and love for languages. More than 20 years on, I am still very happy with my choice!

What do you find most stimulating about working in this field?

The interaction with our clients is one of my favourite parts of the job. I very much enjoy helping clients master challenges and coming up with innovative solutions. Further, I am someone who thrives in a team. To be able to tackle and solve complex legal issues in multi-disciplinary and often international teams is highly rewarding.

Have client needs changed over the course of your career? If so, how has the nature of your practice changed in response?

We deal with more complex cross-border issues – often in the role of overall lead counsel – than we did 20 years ago. Furthermore, the share of litigious work in the private client practice has clearly increased over the past couple of years.

Excellent knowledge of your own law is no longer enough; any successful private client lawyer needs to have a good understanding of both the civil and common law systems. Legal skills apart, intercultural competencies should not be neglected either. To be empathetic with clients and to be a good listener/communicator is an indispensable part of any lawyer’s toolkit in the private client field – and even more so when it comes to court proceedings.

To what degree do cross-border issues feature in your private client work?

Most of our work has cross-border elements to it. Increased mobility means that legal issues often spread over several countries as well – for instance, when a testator leaves large fortunes in complex structures covering various jurisdictions.

What particular challenges do charitable foundations face in Switzerland, and how do you help them overcome these obstacles?

Switzerland, with its political stability and secure legal framework, hosts many charitable organisations. Swiss law on foundations is flexible and with the considerable freedom of organisation that it provides, ensures that a founder’s wishes can be realised in the best possible way. However, we see in practice that often even large Swiss charitable organisations do not have an adequate governance structure in place given the substantial assets at stake. The Bär & Karrer private client team assists clients with setting up sophisticated large (international) charitable structures both from a legal and tax perspective, able to face the rapidly changing regulatory, tax and compliance environment.

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

As a tendency, today’s generation of young lawyers adapt to new ways of working easily and are open to different approaches to solving a problem. At the same time, they specialise early on in their career, which wasn’t the case 10 or 20 years ago.

What we see increasingly, is that younger lawyers try to get an insight into the profession before they decide to embark on a career in a law firm. The Bär & Karrer summer trainee programme is very popular – and seems to pique the attendees’ interest in working at our firm, since the majority of them come back as trainees!

What steps is Bär & Karrer taking to support diversity in the firm?

Bär & Karrer has various measures in place to foster diversity. In view of increasing gender equality at the firm, a women’s network was launched almost 10 years ago and has been running successfully ever since. It includes meetings and lunches for female lawyers who are at different stages of their career at Bär & Karrer. The purpose is to discuss issues, obtain feedback and provide advice. On a more informal basis, female partners are available for one-to-ones with young associates, and let them benefit by sharing their experiences.

The working environment at Bär & Karrer is adapted as required to accommodate employees with physical impairments. We have employees with hearing deficiencies and also severe visual impairments, and have successfully integrated them into our workforce.

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

Increased complexity of the issues we deal with for our clients will require even more concerted efforts from teams staffed from various firms, disciplines and countries. This development is likely to also have an impact on how we collaborate and deliver our services to clients, and the use of collaborative platforms might increase.

I expect the trend we observe with regard to increasing litigious work to continue, which means that private client teams won’t go out of work but rather grow.

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Tina Wüstemann is lauded as a “star” and a “strong arbitrator and litigator” in the Swiss private client sphere. Peers add. “Clients love her; she’s clear and precise.” 

Questions & Answers

Tina Wüstemann is partner and head of the private client team at Bär & Karrer. 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. She advises high-net-worth individuals and their families in estate and wealth-planning matters, and has a very strong practice in representing clients in large cross-border trust and estate planning disputes. WWL named Tina Wüstemann the 2019 Private Client Lawyer of the Year (Switzerland) and the 2020 Chambers HNW Guide ranks her among the top tier of Switzerland’s leading lawyers for private clients.

How has the firm evolved during your time with Bär & Karrer?

Bär & Karrer celebrated its 50th anniversary in August 2019. While serving private clients has always been a cornerstone of the firm’s business since its foundation in 1969, the firm has changed substantially since I joined Bär & Karrer over 20 years ago, when letters and faxes were the main means of communication.

Aware of the importance of collaboration for client service and retention, as well as for the firm’s ability to take on a leading role in multidisciplinary cross-border projects, Bär & Karrer has invested a lot to facilitate and stimulate teamwork during the past few years: within the firm, but also with clients and international correspondent firms around the world. To reduce hierarchies within the firm, Bär & Karrer has set up cross-functional working groups, in which partners and associates drive internal projects forward working alongside assistants and other support staff.

As everyone has seen this year, technology plays a vital role in ensuring collaboration. Our large IT team includes an innovation group that is constantly evaluating and testing new tools. If the firm introduces new hardware or software, trainings are not only given by the IT team but also by lawyers, both associates and partners. Such peer-to-peer training has improved technology adoption among Bär & Karrer’s lawyers significantly.

Our private client team, with its 35 lawyers, sits in four different locations in Switzerland, in three different language areas. It consists of very different personalities and yet we really are one team. We enjoy working together and combining our know-how for our clients. 

I am still passionate about my job and I love to go to the office every day – not least due to the great modern working environment I find at Bär & Karrer and the good team spirit within the private client practice group and the firm as a whole.

What do you think is driving the increasing presence of major cross-border contentious matters you are seeing in your practice?

Most of our work has cross-border elements to it. Increased mobility means that legal issues often spread over several countries – for instance, when a testator leaves large fortunes in complex structures covering various jurisdictions. There has been a rise in high-value, complex, cross-border trust and estate disputes during the last years. We are currently involved in several large inheritance and trust disputes for clients involving jurisdictions and assets around the world, where Bär & Karrer is often not only acting as Swiss counsel but also as the overall lead.

There are many catalysts for the increase in such disputes: the boom in estate and trust litigation is 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 have left matters unresolved. The increasing number of multiple marriages, and the tensions that arise among spouses and children from previous marriages, also give rise to litigation. In addition, the nuclear family consisting of two parents with common children is no longer the norm, and modern family forms give rise to complex legal issues, with regard to both succession and trust matters.

Our task as private client lawyers 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 has covid-19 impacted your practice? How have clients responded?

Given our active approach to technology for many years, the entire staff was immediately able to work from home at the outbreak of the covid-19 crisis, enabling us to continue assisting our clients without interruption. The fact that there were no international conferences to attend and the lack of physical meetings with peers and networking events during the covid-19 crisis, allowed me personally to work more efficiently and to manage the team better. However, after months of Zoom and Teams meetings, I was glad to see clients face to face again. Virtual meetings can, in my view, ultimately not replace physical meetings, especially not in the private client sector.

In which ways do you anticipate the Swiss legal market changing in the next five years?

Increased complexity of the issues we deal with for our clients will require even more concerted efforts from teams staffed from various firms, disciplines and countries. This development is likely to also have an impact on how we collaborate and deliver our services to clients, and the use of collaborative platforms might increase. I expect the trend we observe with regard to increasing litigious work to continue, which means that private client teams won’t go out of work but rather grow.

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

As a tendency, today’s generation of young lawyers adapt to new ways of working easily and are open to different approaches to solving a problem. At the same time, they specialise early on in their career, which wasn’t the case 10 or 20 years ago.

What we see increasingly is that younger lawyers try to get an insight into the profession before they decide to embark on a career in a law firm. The Bär & Karrer summer trainee programme is very popular – and seems to pique the attendees’ interest in working at our firm, since the majority of them come back as junior associates.

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

Be passionate, empathetic and authentic.

WWL says

Tina Wüstemann is "a vastly experienced lawyer" who sources consider "brilliant" and "exemplary on the contentious side".

Questions & Answers

Tina Wüstemann is partner and head of the private client team at Bär & Karrer. 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. She advises high-net-worth individuals and their families on estate and wealth-planning matters, and has a very strong practice representing clients in large cross-border trust and estate planning disputes. WWL named Tina Wüstemann the 2019 Private Client Lawyer of the Year (Switzerland) and the 2020 Chambers HNW Guide ranks her among the top tier of Switzerland’s leading lawyers for private clients. 

How has the firm evolved during your time with Bär & Karrer?

Bär & Karrer celebrated its 50th anniversary in August 2019. While serving private clients has always been a cornerstone of the firm’s business since its foundation in 1969, the firm has changed substantially since I joined Bär & Karrer over 20 years ago, when letters and faxes were the main means of communication.

Aware of the importance of collaboration for client service and retention, as well as for the firm’s ability to take on a leading role in multidisciplinary cross-border projects, Bär & Karrer has invested a lot to facilitate and stimulate teamwork during the past few years: within the firm, but also with clients and international correspondent firms around the world. To reduce hierarchies within the firm, Bär & Karrer has set up cross-functional working groups, in which partners and associates drive internal projects forward working alongside assistants and other support staff.

As everyone has seen this year, technology plays a vital role in ensuring collaboration. Our large IT team includes an innovation group that is constantly evaluating and testing new tools. If the firm introduces new hardware or software, trainings are not only given by the IT team but also by lawyers, both associates and partners. Such peer-to-peer training has improved technology adoption among Bär & Karrer’s lawyers significantly.

Our private client team, with its 35 lawyers, sits in four different locations in Switzerland, in three different language areas. It consists of very different personalities and yet we really are one team. We enjoy working together and combining our know-how for our clients.  

I am still passionate about my job and I love to go to the office every day – not least due to the great modern working environment I find at Bär & Karrer and the good team spirit within the private client practice group and the firm as a whole.

What do you think is driving the increasing presence of major cross-border contentious matters you are seeing in your practice?

Most of our work has cross-border elements to it. Increased mobility means that legal issues often spread over several countries – for instance, when a testator leaves large fortunes in complex structures covering various jurisdictions. There has been a rise in high-value, complex, cross-border trust and estate disputes during the last years. We are currently involved in several large inheritance and trust disputes for clients involving jurisdictions and assets around the world, where Bär & Karrer is often not only acting as Swiss counsel but also as the overall lead.

There are many catalysts for the increase in such disputes: the boom in estate and trust litigation is 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 have left matters unresolved. The increasing number of multiple marriages, and the tensions that arise among spouses and children from previous marriages, also give rise to litigation. In addition, the nuclear family consisting of two parents with common children is no longer the norm, and modern family forms give rise to complex legal issues, with regard to both succession and trust matters. 

Our task as private client lawyers 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 has covid-19 impacted your practice? How have clients responded?

Given our active approach to technology for many years, the entire staff was immediately able to work from home at the outbreak of the covid-19 crisis, enabling us to continue assisting our clients without interruption. The fact that there were no international conferences to attend and the lack of physical meetings with peers and networking events during the covid-19 crisis, allowed me personally to work more efficiently and to manage the team better. However, after months of Zoom and Teams meetings, I was glad to see clients face to face again. Virtual meetings can, in my view, ultimately not replace physical meetings, especially not in the private client sector. 

In which ways do you anticipate the Swiss legal market changing in the next five years?

Increased complexity of the issues we deal with for our clients will require even more concerted efforts from teams staffed from various firms, disciplines and countries. This development is likely to also have an impact on how we collaborate and deliver our services to clients, and the use of collaborative platforms might increase. I expect the trend we observe with regard to increasing litigious work to continue, which means that private client teams won’t go out of work but rather grow. 

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

As a tendency, today’s generation of young lawyers adapt to new ways of working easily and are open to different approaches to solving a problem. At the same time, they specialise early on in their career, which wasn’t the case 10 or 20 years ago. 

What we see increasingly is that younger lawyers try to get an insight into the profession before they decide to embark on a career in a law firm. The Bär & Karrer summer trainee programme is very popular – and seems to pique the attendees’ interest in working at our firm, since the majority of them come back as junior associates.

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

Be passionate, empathetic and authentic.

Global Leader

Private Client 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Tina Wüstemann is lauded as a “star” and a “strong arbitrator and litigator” in the Swiss private client sphere. Peers add, “Clients love her; she’s clear and precise.” 

Biography

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 individual and his family with overall wealth and estate planning, including succession and family law matters, corporate matters and family governance.

She is considered to be 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 2020 rank Tina Wüstemann in "tier 1" for Private Wealth Law in Switzerland and in "tier 2" of the leading lawyers "Global-Wide" for international private clients (both with regard to wealth planning and contentious matters). Who's Who Legal names Tina Wüstemann as Private Client Lawyer of the Year 2019 (Switzerland) and lists her as Thought Leader in Global Elite 2020 (Private Client), Global Leader 2020 and National Leader Switzerland 2020 (Private Client). Furthermore, Citywealth names Tina Wüstemann in 2020 as one of the Top 100 trust litigators and lists her among the Top Ten Powerwomen Trust Litigators worldwide. In 2020, Tina Wüstemann was also awarded with the Europe Women in Business Law Award 2020 as 'Best in trusts & estates', marking the fourth time she has received this recognition following 2019, 2017 and 2014.

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 leading Swiss law firm with more than 170 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.

In 2019, Bär & Karrer's private clients team  has been awarded at the Citywealth Magic Circle Awards as Law Firm of the Year – Switzerland and has won the STEP International Legal Team of the Year award as the first Swiss law firm ever.

National Leader

Switzerland - Private Client 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Tina Wüstemann is "a vastly experienced lawyer" who sources consider "brilliant" and "exemplary on the contentious side".

Biography

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 individual and his family with overall wealth and estate planning, including succession and family law matters, corporate matters and family governance.

Who's Who Legal awards Tina Private Client Lawyer of the Year 2019 (Switzerland) and lists her in a Thought Leader in Global Elite 2019 as well as in WWL Thought Leaders – Switzerland 2018. She is considered to be 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 2019 rank Tina Wüstemann in “tier 1” of Switzerland's leading lawyers for private clients and note that Tina is acknowledged as being "very much at the forefront of this industry". "When it comes to international estate planning, you can't beat her," enthuses one peer, and another source reports that "there are not many lawyers who have such experience in a wide range of cross-border cases". Wüstemann is further lauded for being "incredibly charismatic" and sources note that "clients love her".

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 leading Swiss law firm with more than 170 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.

In 2019, Bär & Karrer's private clients team  has been awarded at the Citywealth Magic Circle Awards as Law Firm of the Year – Switzerland and has won the STEP International Legal Team of the Year award as the first Swiss law firm ever.

Features by Tina Wüstemann

Private Client 2017: Discussion

Private Client 2017: Discussion

Awards won by Tina Wüstemann

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