The Swiss firm’s arbitration practice is back in the GAR 100 after a decade
|People in Who’s Who Legal||7|
|Pending cases as counsel||25|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$4 billion|
|Treaty cases as counsel||0|
|Third-party funded cases||0|
|Current arbitrator appointments||30 (17 as chair or sole)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||10|
One of Switzerland’s largest law firms, Walder Wyss started doing arbitration the late 1990s. The highly respected Philipp Habegger anchored the work for a long time. The practice was further boosted by the arrival of a substantial team from a Pestalozzi legacy firm in 2006, including Peter Straub and Marc Veit.
Habegger and Veit left in 2013 to join Lalive’s office in Zurich, and Walder Wyss dropped out of the GAR 100 for a decade. However, the practice has been rebuilding in the past few years.
In 2020, the firm recruited partner Diana Akikol in Geneva. A Swiss-Turkish national, she joined from a firm she co-founded and also worked at Lenz & Staehelin. She is a member of the ICC Court, the Swiss Arbitration Centre’s arbitration court, and the boards of the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA) and the Vienna International Arbitral Centre.
Andrea Meier joined the Zurich office in the same year from Swiss boutique Wartmann Merker and has also worked at Schellenberg Wittmer. She is a vice president of ASA, a member of the Swiss Arbitration Centre’s arbitration court and special committee, and sits on the appointing committee of the German Arbitration Institute.
Other partners to know in Zurich are Micha Bühler and Michael Cartier, who both have a focus on construction and M&A disputes, Swiss-Israeli Michael Feit, and Dieter Hofmann.
The arbitration team is principally in Zurich and Geneva, with others in Lugano. The wider firm has offices in three other Swiss cities – Basel, Lausanne and Bern.
Who uses it?
The firm handles arbitrations relating to construction and engineering, M&A transactions, shareholder disputes, distribution and joint venture agreements and commodities trading. It has served clients in sectors including pharmaceuticals, food, telecoms, energy and financial services.
Most of its client base is not public, however. The practice is known to have advised Middle East-focused Consolidated Contractors Company and Swiss healthcare company Roche.
The firm also acts in cases before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
The firm helped a pharmaceutical company defeat a high-value Swiss Rules arbitration over one of the country’s largest M&A transactions. The claimant sought accelerated milestone payments under a share purchase agreement. The claim was dismissed in its entirety.
The firm has a number of recent confidential instructions, including one worth over US$1 billion, in post M&A, corporate governance, commodities, oil and gas and sports cases.
Meier helped an Armenian construction company win a multimillion-dollar ICC award over a large redevelopment project in Tajikistan. The award against a German company was issued in 2022.
Akikol chaired an ICC tribunal that issued awards in favour of HYL Technologies – a subsidiary of Italy’s Tenova.
Dynamic. Always moving forward. Never standing still.
Walder Wyss is Switzerland’s largest law firm. Around 250 legal experts make Walder Wyss one of the most successful commercial law firms in Switzerland.
Walder Wyss features a dedicated dispute resolution team of more than 60 members, which has grown significantly over the past years. Our six offices in all key economic and linguistic regions of Switzerland allow us to respond and represent our clients anywhere and at any time across Switzerland and beyond. Our international arbitration team serves clients from around the globe. We advise and represent our clients in international and domestic arbitrations and we act both in Switzerland and in other major arbitration venues around the globe under all major arbitration rules and in ad hoc proceedings. Our vast experience and our profound knowledge in all major business sectors, as well as our dedication ensure that we achieve the very best results for our clients.
Walder Wyss’s arbitration practice was established in the late 1990s and has grown ever since, lately with two internal promotions of Michael Feit and Michael Cartier as partners, and of Marco Stacher as counsel in its Zurich office in 2018, and with the lateral hires of two internationally renowned arbitration specialists, Diana Akikol and Andrea Meier both as partners, in its Geneva and Zurich office in 2020. With the promotion of Chloé Terrapon Chassot to managing associate in 2020, followed by the most recent promotion of Nicole Cleis and Lukas Fellmann to managing associates as of 2023, as well as the arrival of Johannes Landbrecht, our arbitration practice continues to grow and to expand its work on high profile international arbitration cases.
Walder Wyss’s strong arbitration reputation is founded in its extensive and successful experience and expertise in construction, plant and equipment engineering disputes as well as disputes arising from distribution, agency and JV agreements and shareholders and post-M&A disputes, covering a broad range of industries. Our team has also grown in the areas of private client and trust disputes as well as commodities trading and pharma related disputes. The enforcement of arbitral awards (including freezing orders) complements our practice. Most recently, our team has also further developed its activities in sports-related arbitrations and has been involved in several high-profile cases before the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne.
- Diana Akikol
- Micha Bühler
- Michael Cartier
- Maurice Courvoisier
- Michael Feit
- Stefano Fornara
- Rodolphe Gautier
- Dieter Hofmann
- Andrea Meier
Walder Wyss Ltd.
Switzerland - Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Berne, Lausanne, Lugano