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Interview Series

Daniel Glasl

Bratschi Wiederkehr & Buob, Switzerland

Apr 2016

"Preliminary remark, as the interview took place on 23 March 2016: First and foremost, in the view of the recent events in Brussels and not long ago in Paris but also elsewhere in the world, I would like to express my sympathy to all people, who are suffering from these attacks. We always need to consider the global perspective and not only our own small economic world."

Are there any recent news or important updates in your firm or in your partner’s team?

Taking view on the developments in our firm, I must say that they were good recently. We are growing in particular in our Zürich location: last year we announced that two new major partners joined our team. Marco Rizzi, with his well-established international clientele, started in January 2016, and Walter Boss, who is a renowned senior tax and corporate lawyer, came to BWB in the middle of the last year. Both Marco and Walter are experienced lawyers and were partners in other renowned economic law firms before joining our firm. Also, we had a considerable growth on the lawyers’ level. These add-ons show that we are an attractive company not only for talents and younger lawyers but also for experienced lawyers who know the market very well. By Marco and Walter we strengthened in particular our tax and international practice.

We are now about 80 lawyers and up to 15 jurists (not yet admitted), and altogether have about 150 staff. In our six locations, Basel, Berne, Lausanne, St. Gallen, Zug and Zurich, we offer legal advice and represent our clients in the whole of Switzerland, in German, French, Italian and English, mainly. We should not forget that some partners are also fluent in Dutch, Norwegian, Spanish, Hungarian and other languages. We are organized in a limited liability corporation and our expertise is combined in practice groups and industry groups. Our core clients come from the finance and insurance industry, the Telecom and Media sector, from the public sector, from the leisure, tourism and sports industry, and from technology and pharmaceuticals.

If you had to name only three or four practice areas that are the most in demand in your firm, which practice areas would they be?

It is hard to tell and quite volatile, but throughout the last years I should mention (i) tax, banking and finance, (ii) litigation and (iii) corporate as being most in demand. In the last two years we were heavily engaged in the US/Swiss tax dispute which, as you know, originated from the pressure of the DOJ on the Swiss banks for their handling of non-tax compliant US persons. These cases require expertise in national and international tax, banking and finance, data protection, privacy and labour law, as well as international treaties on mutual legal assistance. Constantly in high demand are litigation and arbitration, which builds one of the largest practice group (which I co-head), and then corporate advise and transactions.

What are you personally working on currently?

As you know I am litigator personally focusing on commercial and media litigation. Today I am working on a media litigation case in which the client appeals for an even better outcome to the Federal Court of Justice in Lausanne, with the deadline ending in two weeks - it is always a challenge for litigators to meet such short deadlines!

Do you have an example of cross-border work with other Legalink members?

We always have some in- and outbound Legalink related work. At the moment we are in a process of assisting Boss & Young in China with their client’s investment in a Swiss hi-tech company also involving German subsidiaries handled by Rittershaus. I may add that we have been cooperating on similar cases in the past with Boss & Young. Another issue is currently the advice for Weightmans on loan and security related aspects in a contract under Swiss law.

What do you like about Legalink and would do you think we can do better? What should we change in your opinion?

What I like about Legalink is its professionalism. I am most grateful for your administrational support in running Legalink; you permanently do the work we never have time for. I feel that the Committee takes good care of the big questions and that is much appreciated. I enjoy being a representative of our firm within the network. It seems to be working well as we got to know each other over the years on a personal level. The membership is very positive for our firm, since we are an independent and partner owned law firm. We need and we like to be part of a network like Legalink.

I personally like the exchange we have on cases and on areas of international law, I like the hospitality and friendship within the network and of course it is always a good occasion to meet and visit the countries and places, which normally maybe you would not have a chance to go to.

What can be made better is a question that we come to at every conference and there is always more or less the same answer. We should do more in between conferences, exchange even more information on what we do and in what we are good at. These interviews are a good new tool for that. However, it is a question of how much time you can dedicate to increase activities and exchange of information between firms and also in between conferences. The more we know from each other, the better we can refer work to each other.

Therefore, I would encourage everybody in the network, not excluding myself, to be as active as possible also in between, to come to the meetings, to contribute with sharing expertise and know-how. This is how we can grow internally and increase the volume of referrals.

What do you think of conferences? Are you happy with the way they are organized or would you suggest some changes?

Generally, I am happy, I think it is a good mixture of business and pleasure. I think the practice group sessions could be improved - not all but some, they are very different and it always depends on how well the session is prepared. I think it would be good to have more information in advance, such as key questions to be discussed, what should be prepared to share. The same applies for regional meetings.

The practice group meetings and regional meetings should be better prepared and therefore be more fruitful than some we had in the past.

How did your firm become a member of Legalink and what was your first meeting?

Our firm is with Legalink thanks to Tony Blatter, who was a co-founder of the network together with Per Dalskov and others in 1993. I stepped in after Tony sadly passed away in 2009; being a partner in BWB since 1995 my colleagues thought I would fit well. My first conference was in Tel Aviv in spring 2010, then Hong Kong, where I brought my whole family, and since then I only missed two conferences.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My biggest hobby are the mountains. In winter and in summer. I climb mountains, not only in Switzerland but all over the world, preferably together with my wife and my two adult kids.