Switzerland: The magic still works
Featured in our Switzerland Report (July 2021)
At the heart of a continent so badly ravaged by Covid-19, Switzerland is emerging from the pandemic in relatively good shape. And so are Swiss law firms. Compared to its much larger neighbours, France and Germany, where the economies contracted by 5 per cent and 8 per cent respectively, Swiss GDP dipped by only 2.9 per cent last year. ‘This shows a robust economy,’ suggests Hans Rudolf Trüeb, partner at Walder Wyss. ‘Apart from tourism, events and restaurants, Covid didn’t affect GDP meaningfully. Above all, it hasn’t affected the legal market: rather the contrary.’
Described by Fitch Ratings as ‘very diversified and high-value added, with a flexible labour market,’ the Swiss economy has certainly been hit less severely than others, confirms Daniel Hoschstrasser, senior partner of Bär & Karrer. ‘One has to distinguish: there are certain sectors which have been hit hard, such as tourism, hotel and airlines, although the impact has been partly mitigated by the fact that instead of foreign tourists, many Swiss stayed in Switzerland,’ he says.
Daniel Daeniker, senior partner of Homburger, adds: ‘The limitations on travel and going out put a mental strain on people, rather than bogging down the economy. That’s what really made the difference, especially in a place like Switzerland, where people think it is their God-given right to jump on a plane and fly to a South Sea paradise. It’s really a luxury problem.’