Global Law Firms and Vereins: The End of the Affair?

, The Am Law Daily

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In the inexorable march toward greater global consolidation, will law firms steer clear of the verein structure?

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  • Jacob Stein

    My law firm, Aliant, is also a part of a Swiss Verein of law firms. We examined many available structures and picked the verein structure because of its flexibility, risk minimization and low cost. While the verein has some risks, we believe that it is lower than in other available structures.

  • Peter D. Lederer

    Let‘s start with full disclosure: In the 1970s I served as Touche Ross International‘s counsel in organizing it as a Swiss Verein. A decade later, I played the same role in doing the same for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. Finally, I was a partner of Baker McKenzie for many decades, though retired by the time the firm reorganized to also become a Swiss Verein. Substantive comment? Begin with the precept that there simply is no single "best" legal system, nor "best" legal form, for forming a global umbrella firm. The utilization of a Swiss Verein for this purpose may not be risk free, but it has proven durable, for more than half a century, despite the occasional challenge. Do the detailed rules of a common law system (UK) provide greater certainty than the broad rules of a civil law system (Swiss)? I have my doubts. In any event, in these days of Brexit and Trumpian walls I am not at all sure a CLG would be my first choice.

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