Established in 1991 with the merging of Zurich and Geneva-based firms, Lenz & Staehelin has subsequently grown with a third office in Lausanne.
The Swiss independent firm is a household name on the Swiss market, with a strong reputation as a leading law firm in complex transactions covering all areas within financial and corporate law.
Focusses / specialisms
Strong in the banking area, the firm advises corporate borrowers on leveraged acquisition finance on large multi-jurisdictional transactions.
In capital markets the firm has strong presence in the equity area often advising a mix of underwriters and issuers on IPOs in the SIX Swiss Exchange. It advises Swiss public companies on various capital raising issues and public offerings. The firm has notable underwriter counsel experiences across the equity transactions.
The firm's M&A practice is one of the firm's leading practices and is often does a high volume of deals. Active in both private and public M&A, it has advised on some of the largest takeovers in Swiss market. It has plenty of cross border experience advising foreign funds, private equity firms and large corporations on acquisitions of Swiss companies.
In the projects space the firm is active on infrastructure projects where it advises a mix of project developers, operators and investors on all matters such as investments, regulatory approvals and public procurement.
The firm has strong restructuring and insolvency team that in recent years has worked on some of the largest insolvency cases in the retail market. It has more experience for creditors but advises distressed companies on restructuring.
Some of the firm’s recent key clients include Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Citibank, Allfunds Group, Pfizer, Sika, Salt Mobile, Nord Stream and Agrokor.
Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)
During the research period the firm was active across all areas covered by the rankings.
In banking and finance the firm mainly advised on the bank-side as lenders in acquisition financing, including in stock exchange, insurance and technology sectors. It also advised lenders on financial restructurings, revolving credit facilities, prepayment financings and Swiss gas pipelines project financing. In regulatory work the firm advised on Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) regulatory approvals and AML compliance.
In equity capital markets work the firm advised issuers and underwriters on IPOs. In debt, it advised issuers on bond issuances and renewals of EMTN and commercial paper programmes.
In structured products work the firm advised issuers in CoCo bonds and advised on the first listings of Blackrock exchange-traded products on the BX Berne Exchange.
In M&A the firm advised a mix of buyers, investors, and sellers in a range of industry sectors including biotech and pharmaceuticals, aviation, telecommunications, asset management, automation, and retail.
In project development the firm notably advised on the Nord Stream gas pipeline project in the research period, as well as advising on real estate and data centre development projects.
In restructuring work the firm advised distressed companies, creditors and debtors in restructuring proceedings, and worked for creditors, investors and receivers in insolvency proceedings.
Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)
Apollo global management $6 billion acquisition of Tech Data financing
Cellnex CHF800 million acquisition of Salt’s interest in Swiss Infra Services
Global Blue / Far Point merger
Pfizer $810 million acquisition of Therachon
Nyrstar Group financial restructuring
Sika CHF1.3 billion bond issuance
SIX Swiss Stock Exchange €2.85 billion bid for BME Spanish Stock Exchange financing
SoftwareONE SIX Swiss Exchange IPO
Stadler Rail SIX Swiss Exchange IPO
Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)
“Responsive, creative and pragmatic.”
“Very experienced partners, strong expertise in market and well respected by market in Switzerland.”
“Excellent skills, available upon short notice and pragmatic approach.”
“Very competent and responsive.”
“It combines the benefits of a large firm with access to experts, with a personal focus on its clients and a pragmatic approach.”
“The expertise of the people we are working with is impressive, they have a lot of experience and always business driven solutions.”
Capital markets : Equity
“Very fast reaction, availability and strategic long term thinking paired with first class operational execution.”
“Deep knowledge and highly responsive.”
Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation
“Professionalism, flexibility and competence.”
“Excellent team of experts, great experience, deep market knowledge, strong balanced advice which goes above the pure legal aspects, holistic advisory approach which is of great support and very professional.”
“Reliable, competent, thorough and customer-oriented.”
Financial and corporate
"Serious, efficient, strong internal skills and diverse expertise."
Financial services regulatory
“Accurate, hands-on approach and skilled staff.”
“Efficient, reliable, clear, professional, accurate, timely, extremely good network and friendly.”
“Deep legal skills, great practical experience, availability, quick response time, very pragmatic and can quickly onboard legal teams with different required skills for specific projects.”
“Reactive, proactive, efficient, available and high quality staff.”
“Deep and extensive experience in securities law, banking and finance including detailed knowledge of financial transactions and markets.”
“They are highly professional, always very well prepared, highly convincing with fact-based reasoning, very efficient and very short response time. I have never been disappointed. For any banking and finance topic that is relevant to us, Patrick of Lenz & Staehelin is the highest performing lawyer I have ever met.”
“Efficient, reliable, clear, professional, accurate, timely, responsive and extremely good network.”
“Knowledge, expertise, responsive and proactive.”
“Excellent knowledge of law, high degree of professionalism and practical but not relaxed approach.”
“Reliable, fast, engaged, deliver high quality work products and tailored to our needs.”
“Lenz is a group of extraordinarily talented lawyers, who work very effectively together and with co-counsel. We find them to be consistently of the highest quality, and also completely responsive.”
“Reliability, speed, clarity and ease of use.”
“L&S came highly recommended by one of our local outside counsel for this type of work in Switzerland. They are very responsive, organized and highly qualified. They are pleasant to work with as well.”
“Very personal service - the partners you see at the beginning at the transaction stay involved throughout and will not push down to more junior lawyers. Very commercial - want to get a deal done. Creative - have come up with creative solutions to bridge the gap between buyer and seller and will suggest innovative, even if untested, alternatives.”
“Precise, adapted to the situation, responsive and fast.”
“Top skills and responsiveness.”
“L&S are a top outfit, super knowledgeable about the law and also understands business aspects extremely well, very responsive and proactive in all they do.”
“Very responsive, high quality of work and stick to its judgment.”
“Exceptional experience in M&A transactions, extremely quick-witted and attacking team. Great personalities.”
“Responsiveness and expertise.”
“Top law firm in terms of M&A in Switzerland. Not only do they understand the Swiss laws and market very well, they are also very commercially-minded and focused on achieving the best result for their client.”
“Great responsiveness, very efficient and the high quality of work.”
“The law firm responded quickly and provided their work at the appetite for HMC.”
“One of the Swiss blue chip firms with strong capabilities.”
“Very helpful and creative in the structuring of the reps and warranties. Always a driving force in the negotiation with the buyer, in a very positive way. Also very skilful in defusing tensions.”
“Excellent prompt advice, practical, crystal clear, dependable, advice, well founded in law and regulations, deal savvy and commercial.”
“Customer-friendly, competent and quick.”
“Well connected, fast with attention to detail and knows how to persuade its counterparties.”
“Availability, great response and smooth operations.”
"Very professional, high level of expertise in real estate, strong knowledge of local practises, local network and high availability."
"Highly experienced, professional, very reactive, client oriented and accessible."
Restructuring and insolvency
"Proactive, sensible and provides commercial advice."
“In-depth knowledge and experience of the industry, excellent with both corporates and private clients, gives clear advice and feedback. Marcel is a transparent communicator and always on top of industry developments.”
“Accurate, swift and hands-on.”
“Smart thinking and providing excellent suggestions. Availability.”
“Excellent understanding and reactivity, in depth work, strong skills, hard worker, concrete, committed to the client and an excellent easy going relationship.”
“Reactive, responsiveness, proactive and high quality.”
“Efficient, reliable, clear, professional, accurate, timely, responsive and has an extremely good network.”
“Tino communicates very often to know our genuine intention and it is reflected their work results.”
Hans Jakob Diem
“Very experienced and knowledgeable lawyer with a pragmatic approach.”
“Hard-working, team-oriented, always approachable Is there from beginning to the end, leads calls and the team (i.e., does not disappear). Extremely knowledgeable but also willing to be creative, go off the trodden path.”
“Most experienced top M&A lawyer and great innovative personality.”
“He listens to the needs, very business oriented, great experience, and good knowledge of its clients and what they need.”
“Reliable, competent, green, customer-oriented and humane.”
“Communication, client focus.”
“Smart and well respected.”
“Extremely tough negotiator.”
“Strong legal adviser, very reliable and experienced, great market knowledge, great negotiation skills, holistic support goes above the pure legal aspect and is of great help.”
“He combines both the strong grasp of the regulatory / legal aspects alongside the pragmatic business requirements. He enjoys an excellent reputation in the market, and a strong relationship with the regulators.”
“Personally, I strongly believe he is the best lawyer in Banking & Finance (at least in Switzerland). He” has a very rare combination of strengths/skills, which are as followed: a highly integral personality, deep legal knowledge in Swiss, UK and US law, capability to communicate highly complex legal matters in an understandable language for non-lawyers, capability to provide background information and to put things into a perspective in terms of what if scenarios and highly solution and decision oriented.”
“A very high level of practical understanding in particular of syndicated lending and derivatives transactions combined with specialized knowledge of these legal areas. A critical mind that goes further than others in the analysis of matters.”
Shelby du Pasquier
“Apart from the qualities mentioned previously, he is very proactive and solution driven.”
“Very responsive, professional, organized and knowledgeable.”
“Simone is very responsible.”
“I particularly like Stephan; he always stays very calm, is extremely knowledgeable and has tremendous experience in corporate and M&A work. He is also very amicable, great guy to work with.”
“Very calm negotiator. Excellent lawyer with fantastic matter and people handling skills. He understands the issues well and thinks outside of the box to suggest innovative solutions.
"High quality of work, very friendly and great responsiveness.
"Very commercial and people-winning.”
“Very positive and professional attitude, thinking through all eventualities/possible scenarios.”
“Very responsive, easy to work with, always available and client first.”
“Corporate law and governance compliance.”
“Great analytical skills, great communication, very fair and sound judgement, committed at the highest level, easy to work with!”
“Extremely smart, extremely careful, thoughtful, and a wonderful person.”
“Depth of knowledge, availability and creativity.”
“Great communication and expertise.”
“Supportive, open minded and service oriented.”