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Swiss law firm opens London office in preparation for Brexit

20/09/2018 News Team

International law firm Lalive has received regulatory approval from the Solicitors Regulation Authority of England and Wales to open an office in London.

Located in the heart of the City, the office will be led by a two-partner team comprising Marc Veit and Timothy Foden as well as by arbitration and public international law practitioner Dr Veijo Heiskanen, who will share his time between Geneva and London.

With the spectre of Brexit looming over the UK and Europe, the focus of the London office will be international commercial arbitration, investment treaty arbitration and public international law, areas of particular strength for the firm and key strategic importance to its clients.

While the firm does not intend to practice English court litigation, it said having a presence in London will "increase the firm’s interaction with the common law world."

The new office will also enable the firm to generate more inbound litigation and white-collar crime instructions, including investigations, asset tracing and private wealth, for its team based in Switzerland by strengthening relationships with English and US law firms based in the City, whilst the firm’s intention is for the London-based team to grow steadily over time.

Mr Veit joined Lalive in 2014. He is experienced in complex international arbitrations (both commercial and investment treaty) and litigation matters, in particular multi-jurisdictional disputes.

Mr Foden joined Lalive in 2018. His practice focuses on investor-treaty and complex commercial arbitrations in the mining and energy sectors, with additional experience in technology licensing, commodities and hospitality.

Domitille Baizeau, the firm's co-managing partner, commented: “London will always be a key strategic hub in dispute resolution, not only for our clients but also for many of the leading international law firms with whom we have strong referral relationships. By having a high-quality presence in the City we will be better positioned to secure more in bound Swiss disputes work from existing clients and contacts with interests in the UK. This is an important step for the entire firm.”

Mr Veit added: “Our London office opening is all about playing to our strengths...we believe that our presence in London will enable us to further grow the firm’s renowned practice in public international law matters. Timothy and I have extremely complementary skill-sets and have strong relationships with both clients and law firms with interests in the City. We very much look forward to this new and exciting challenge.”

Lalive has offices in Geneva, Zurich and London and staff including 70 lawyers, with 20 partners.

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