Tuesday 4 September 2018 7:05 am

Swiss law firm launches London office in bet on post-Brexit disputes spike

Swiss dispute resolution law firm Lalive said today it is launching its first office in the City as it makes a bet on London becoming a more attractive arbitration centre post-Brexit.

Marc Veit, a partner who is moving from the firm’s Zurich office to its new London base, said the City could be poised for a boom in arbitration work.

“London’s attractiveness may even increase after the UK has left the EU as it may be perceived as a more neutral venue as is the case with Switzerland outside the EU.”

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“In addition to that any disruptive event such as Brexit typically increases volatility in the market and with higher volatility we tend to see an increase in disputes work so in that sense we think this is the right moment to come to London.”

The firm has received regulatory approval from the Solicitors Regulation Authority to open in London and has taken office space at 25 Eastcheap in the heart of the City.

The firm’s co-managing partner, Domitille Baizeau, said: “London has and always will be a major centre for disputes in particular international commercial arbitration. For us with our track record in this area it made perfect business sense to have a presence here.”

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The firm, which has offices in Geneva and Zurich, has 45 full time arbitration lawyers and is currently handling more than 140 disputes with over $22bn (£17bn) at stake.

Other international law firms to open City offices this year include Silicon Valley firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, which opened an office on Old Street in the heart of London’s technology district in August.