Partners: Homayoon Arfazadeh, Sundip K Bhundia, Philippe Ciocca, Nicolas de Gottrau, Christophe de Kalbermatten, Frederic Gante, Dominique Henchoz, Jean-Christophe Hocke, Benjamin Humm, Marc Iynedjian, Marc Joory, Philippe Kenel, Olivier Klunge, Per Prod’Hom, Jean-Yves Rebord, Thomas Steinmann, Etienne von Streng
Languages: English, Farsi, French, German, Gujarati, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
PYTHON is one of the major full scope Swiss firms in terms of size and resources with the know-how and facilities to enable it to play a significant role on the Swiss and international scene. Originally founded in 1981 by four partners in Geneva, the firm now also has offices in Lausanne, Bern, Sion and Zug. In order to have a link to the EU, a liaison office was established in Brussels in 1997. High quality, efficiency, responsiveness and flexibility are the firm’s guiding principles. With its cadre of over 50 experienced, multilingual lawyers, the firm offers legal services in 11 practice areas. Clients include major international corporations, financial institutions, start-ups, partnerships and private individuals from Switzerland and all over the world.
Main Areas of Practice:
The arbitration team has extensive expertise with cases under the rules of the major arbitration institutions and systems (including ICC, LCIA, Swiss Rules, SCC, VIAC, WTO, WIPO, ICSID, CAS and UNCITRAL) as well as with ad hoc arbitrations, where members of the team serve as arbitrators or Counsel. The team has experience with high stake disputes arising from all areas of law, including M&A disputes, joint ventures and consortia, purchase and sale agreements, sports, construction and engineering, finance, commodities, energy, shipping and investment agreements.
Banking & Finance:
The banking and finance team advises Swiss and foreign banks, asset managers, securities dealers and similar institutions on a broad range of activities. Services include the setting-up and licensing of Swiss banks, subsidiaries, local offices of foreign banks and securities dealers and providing legal advice with respect to regulation on anti-money laundering, compliance, enforcement and disclosure.
The commercial contracts team advises international banks, multinationals, trading companies, international organisations, foundations and HNWI on cross-border transactions and investments, sales and commercial contracts (agency, distribution, franchising); contractual or equity joint ventures; IPR and IT agreements; sale and purchase of business assets; transaction structuring and execution; shipping; raw material trading; sale and purchase of commercial and private vessels; maritime and commodities trading; cargo claims; charter party disputes; collateral management agreements; vessel purchase and sale transactions; vessel registrations; and CMR claims for domestic and international road and rail carriage.
Corporate & M&A:
The corporate and M&A team advises corporations, individuals and entrepreneurs on M&A and reorganisations, the sale of companies and management and ownership successions, all stages of acquisition and due diligence, merger agreements, stock purchase agreements, asset purchase agreements and negotiations of related representations and warranties, disclosure schedules and side agreements, including financing documents relating to acquisitions. In addition to providing general corporate advice, the team carries out reorganisation work (mergers, asset transfers, etc.) for established large clients. The team has also assisted — in some cases in collaboration with the Geneva / Vaud Economic Promotion Office — foreign groups to establish businesses in Switzerland.
Employment & Immigration:
The employment team assists clients with drafting employment contracts, drafting and implementing employee share and option plans, ensuring compliance with federal and cantonal employment, social security and health and safety regulations, drafting staff handbooks, company policies and procedures, advising on maternity/paternity rights, negotiating settlement agreements, advising on breaches of employment contracts, unfair dismissal claims, redundancies, disciplinary and grievance procedures, individual and mass layoffs, mediation and litigation of employment disputes (including employee fraud cases, in particular criminal cases against traders) and representation before employment tribunals. The immigration team assists clients with obtaining the required permits whether for employees (including intra-group transfers of executives/specialists and seconded employees/service providers), self-employed persons, students, trainees, PHDs, or persons without gainful activity (pensioners, residing partners, etc.), with dealing with all related necessary formalities (permit renewals/extensions, changes of canton, job, marital status, departures, official certificates or statements, customs clearances, etc.) and advising on all related tax, employment, regulatory, contractual and corporate matters that arise.
IP, IT & Telecom:
The intellectual property team advises on all aspects of intellectual property including patents, trademarks, designs and copyright as well as know-how and trade secrets. Another focus lies on software and IT matters, in particular the drafting of licence, maintenance, integration and outsourcing agreements. IT law often includes important aspects of intellectual property law as well as related issues such as data protection and domain names. The team also handles matters regarding media and privacy law (press, television) as well as cases related to the laws relating to advertising law including representation before the competent commission. The team is committed to long-term client success and proactively assists by identifying successful strategies to help to protect intellectual property and by counselling on options that can strengthen portfolios and support company growth.
International Legal Assistance & Criminal Law:
The international legal assistance and criminal law team advises institutional and private clients and states on such matters as international police cooperation, Interpol notices, information exchange between financial regulatory authorities, enforcement of embargos and international assistance in civil matters. The team’s expertise covers issues that arise in these matters, such as banking and professional secrecy, transmission of documents, freezing of assets and extradition as well as compliance issues, proceedings concerning white-collar crime, money laundering, stock exchange regulations and disclosure requirements. The team has acted as consultants for foreign lawmakers with respect to mutual assistance matters and several cases have set milestones in Swiss case law on international cooperation.
Litigation & Insolvency:
The litigation and insolvency team represents clients before the Swiss civil, commercial and administrative courts, as well as the Supreme Court in Lausanne. All fields of commercial disputes are covered, including banking cases, bankruptcy and debt collection litigation, private insurance litigation, estate and employment disputes, enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards. The team also defends clients in tax, anti-trust and unfair competition litigation. The team also has extensive experience in the field of provisional remedies, whether aimed at blocking funds to secure debts or protective measures relating to bank guarantees or documentary credits. Members routinely act as administrators and conservators in insolvency cases and have been involved in some of the largest bankruptcy reorganisation plans in Switzerland.
The private client team advises HNW Swiss and international clients on a broad range of matters, including wealth structuring, financial planning and pensions, asset protection, the incorporation and administration of foundations, charities, companies and trusts, Swiss residence, nationality and real estate matters, marriage (pre-nuptial agreements, matrimonial regime contracts), divorce and child custody matters, Swiss life and health insurance planning, estate planning, resolving local and cross-border inheritance disputes, the taking-public of closely-held businesses, philanthropy, private investments, family office services, structuring outward and inward investment, sophisticated tax planning etc.
Real Estate & Construction:
The real estate team provides legal services and support to institutional investors, commercial users and private clients in all stages of domestic and foreign real estate and construction projects. The team’s activities include obtaining permits for the acquisition of Swiss real estate by foreigners, real estate financing, the sale, purchase and lease of commercial and residential real estate, sale and lease-back transactions, general contractor agreements and construction contracts, environmental matters related to Swiss real estate and real estate litigation and arbitration.
The tax team assists corporate clients with planning, solving and negotiating advance tax rulings on all issues of Swiss federal, cantonal, inter-cantonal and international taxation, including direct income and capital taxes, double taxation, withholding taxes, stamp duties and VAT in connection with the tax-efficient structuring of domestic and international transactions, such as M&A, management buy-outs, reorganisations and financial restructurings, in-bound and out-bound investments, transfers of registered offices, branch and subsidiary set ups, joint ventures, group financing and capital market transactions. Individual clients are provided with a full range of personalised services in connection with their private and commercial tax affairs, including the restructuring, sale or succession of their businesses and the planning and structuring of their estates, including by way of a foundation, constitution of a foundation or any other appropriate vehicle. The team also assists and represents clients before the tax authorities and courts in connection with tax audits, proceedings and related litigation.