20 December 2022

NKF’s Geneva gambit

The logic of doing this merger makes sense; it’s just a question of why now, why so late, and why NKF?” asks Thierry Calame, Lenz & Staehelin’s new co-managing partner in Zurich. His analysis and questions perfectly encapsulate the consensus view of the biggest announcement in the Swiss legal market in 2022: Zurich-based law firm Niederer Kraft Frey will be “joining forces with Geneva firm Tavernier Tschanz and a team from Python” as of January 2023, taking the combined firm to 140 lawyers, including 48 partners.”

As a peer in the top tier of Swiss law firms, Calame explains his firm’s puzzlement over the timing. “It surprised our Geneva partners,” he says. ‘We (Lenz) merged in 1991. The benefit of having a presence in Geneva and Zurich has been clear for 30 years. There are several clients that we probably would not be able to service if it were not for these two strategic locations.” Having a footprint in the two major Swiss hubs is indeed pivotal, according to the upbeat language of NKF’s formal announcement of the merger: “By combining the strengths of the different teams, NKF will further expand its leading position within Switzerland’s two economic centres – the ‘Lake of Geneva Region’ and the ‘Greater Zurich Area’ – and anchor itself even more strongly in the market.”


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