Schellenberg Wittmer shook up the Swiss market for international arbitration some 12 years ago. We referred to the practice in our recent survey of Switzerland as "the house that Laurent built". It is arguably the most consistent Swiss practice to appear in both our league tables.
- Cases Pending:
- Value of all claims:
- Appearances in Who's Who Legal:
- Treaty cases:
- Arbitrator Appointments (chair/sole):
- 45 (29)
In 1996, the partners at Schellenberg gave Laurent Lévy permission to develop an arbitration team that was, essentially, too big for the firm. Lévy believed such a group could pitch for international cases, thus delivering new clients to the firm. Lévy recruited a second partner, Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler, and they began to implement his idea. Today they are world-famous international arbitrators and the practice they built - with its mix of Swiss and non-Swiss lawyers - is the model that others emulate.
Nowadays the practice is divided between Geneva and Zurich. In 2000, Schellenberg merged with Wittmer. So the group contains around seven partners. Having that sort of size, and two locations, gives the practice a couple of advantages. The French-speaking lawyers have access to German-speaking lawyers versed in German law (and vice versa). And the team can scale up and scale down more easily. "In any number of combinations," says Anne-Veronique Schlaepfer, "having the Zurich office is exceptionally useful."
Kaufmann-Kohler and Lévy left the Geneva office in 2007. The names to know now are: Anne Véronique Schlaepfer, Elliott Geisinger and David Roney (who all work from Geneva); and Georg von Segesser, Nathalie Voser, and Alexander Jolles (who work from Zurich).
Schlaepfer believes that the departure of the practice's founders is probably for the best. "In terms of visibility, it was really wonderful having them. But the success of the practice as counsel, as well as the growth of the firm overall, was leading to more and more complicated conflict situations. Their decision has simplified matters greatly."
The practice is notable for having produced one of the first common-law trained partners working in Switzerland (in arbitration): David Roney. It is also endeavouring to remain an innovator in the market. Schlaepfer is one of the founders of the Swiss Young Arbitration Practitioners group. David Roney has created the Foundation for International Arbitration Advocacy - a body "dedicated to providing advocacy training specifically designed for international arbitration".
Schellenberg Wittmer's International Arbitration Group is composed of leading specialists with the experience and expertise necessary to provide representation at the highest level in a broad range of complex commercial cases.
We are recognised as one of the pre-eminent arbitration groups in Switzerland and among the top arbitration practices globally.
Our partners have acted as counsel and arbitrator in disputes involving parties from around the world and places of arbitration from Europe to the Middle East, Asia and North America. We have dealt with arbitrations under all major institutional rules. With lawyers from both civil law and common law traditions, we conduct cases governed by a wide range of national laws and provide common law advocacy skills.
As a result of our diverse backgrounds and international experience, we understand the complex issues that arise in global business.
When sitting as arbitrator, we therefore grasp both the legal intricacies of the case and also the business challenges facing each party.
When acting as counsel, we know how to find solutions that meet our clients' strategic objectives. This enables our International Arbitration Group to provide creative and result-oriented advocacy, from critical pre-arbitration injunctions through to effective enforcement strategies.
Schellenberg Wittmer is one of the leading business law firms in Switzerland with offices in Zurich and Geneva offering the expertise and the specialisation of more than 100 lawyers. Our core practice areas are international arbitration, litigation, corporate/M&A, banking and finance (including capital markets), taxation, as well as private clients.
15bis, rue des Alpes
P.O. Box 2088
CH-1211 Geneva 1
Tel: +41 (0)22 707 8000
Fax: +41 (0)22 707 8001
P.O. Box 1876
Tel: +41 (0)44 215 5252
Fax: +41 (0)44 215 5200