05 Sep 2018

Swiss law firm licenced to set up ABS in London

LALIVE is looking to capitalise on new arbitration business in London and bring in academics with public international law expertise.


LALIVE, a 20-partner Swiss law firm specialising in arbitration work, has received an alternative business structure (ABS) licence to set up in London. The firm, which has offices in Geneva and Zurich, expects Brexit to lead to more international arbitrations in the UK.

Better positioned

Arbitration work is handled by 45 of its 70 lawyers handle, and the City office is to be led by partners Swiss laywer Marc Veit and American attorney Timothy Foden, who is also a qualified solicitor. reputed arbitration and public international law practitioner Dr Veijo Heiskanen, who will share his time between Geneva and London. The firm has eight other solicitors. Domitille Baizeau, LALIVE Co-Managing Partner, comments ‘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.’ The London office will focus on international commercial arbitration, investment treaty arbitration and public international law, but does not intend to practise English litigation.

Academic connections

As an ABS the firm wants to include academics, particularly in the field of public international law. However, LALIVE does not intend at this stage to have other non-lawyer owners or investors. 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 LALIVE does not intend to practice English court litigation, 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.