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GAR 100 - 5th Edition

Walder Wyss

05 March 2012

Walder Wyss’ arbitration work began with construction disputes, under the care of Daniel Wyss.

People in Who’s Who:
2
Pending cases as counsel:
25
Value of pending counsel work:
US$1.8 billion
Treaty cases:
0
Current arbitrator appointments:
27 (of which 8 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
3

The practice gathered momentum with the arrival of Philipp Habegger in 1996. Habegger, who sat first as an arbitrator at the remarkably young age of 32, is one of the leading lights of the younger Swiss arbitration bar, and was a prime-mover in the creation of ASA-40, the young arbitration association.

The practice was further boosted with the arrival of a substantial unit from Pestalozzi Lachenal & Patry in late 2006 – including Peter Straub and Marc Veit – which put it on a par with the more substantial arbitration practices in the Swiss market. It continues to maintain a specialism for construction disputes through partner Dieter Hofmann and counsel Micha Bühler.

Away from the practice, Habegger, Veit and Straub all frequently sit as arbitrators. Habegger also teaches international arbitration at the University of Zurich and lectures at the Swiss Arbitration Academy. In 2009, he became Switzerland’s alternate member of the ICC Court and he has also been appointed to the committee tasked with revising the Swiss Rules.

In a GAR survey on Switzerland in 2008, the reporter picked Walder Wyss as a “firm to watch” (along with Homburger). The firm has offices in Berne and Zurich, but is regarded by some competitors as German-speaking.

Who uses it?

Hard to say (the firm won’t confirm any names). It’s known that a lot are construction firms and others caught up on problems in the Middle East – especially Egypt and Lebanon.

Track record

Veit and Straub helped Motorola win nearly US$2 billion against two Turkish telecoms companies, Telsim and Rumeli – a story that made the front cover of TIME magazine. (The award is not thought to have been paid.)

Habegger achieved a full win for Austrian company Red Bull GmbH in a dispute over distribution in the Middle East, which turned on aspects of US Anti-Boycott legislation. He also successfully represented a Swiss company in a US$250 million dispute with a multinational pharmaceutical company.

The firm has also successfully challenged an ICC award before the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, but details are not yet known.

Recent events

Michael Cartier was promoted to managing associate in Walder Wyss’ Zurich office. Veit’s tenure as a co-chair of the Swiss Arbitration Association’s under-40 group ended in late 2010.

The firm says it has been instructed to represent a Swiss investor in a treaty claim against an eastern European country.

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