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Quinn opens eighth European office with Zurich launch

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has opened its eighth European office, opening a Zurich outpost which will have a focus on high-stakes disputes.

Led by former Novartis group general counsel Thomas Werlen, the office will advise on litigation and arbitration of complex financial disputes, white collar and corporate investigations, regulatory investigations and resolution of M&A disputes.

The firm has spoken of its intention to open in Zurich for several years and has been trying to get regulatory approval for some time. Quinn’s other European offices are in London, Brussels, Hamburg, Mannheim, Moscow, Munich, and Paris.

Quinn has been acting as lead counsel for FIFA during the investigation into allegations of widespread corruption investigated by US and Swiss authorities. The office will also aid the firm as it represents major shareholders in chemicals company Sika, which is the subject of a hotly contested CHF2.7bn takeover bid by Saint-Gobain.

Werlen said: ‘Quinn Emanuel is a specialist firm limiting its practice solely to business litigation. Our lawyers are all litigation specialists experienced in dealing with trans-national litigation and regulatory issues. This model is unique in the Swiss market and we feel confident this will resonate with clients.’

Earlier this year the firm hired Clyde & Co litigator Paul Friedman to expand its Israel practice. Recommended by The Legal 500 for litigation, Friedman joined Quinn’s 12-partner team in London but will split his time between the City and Israel, despite the firm not having an office in the Middle East.

In other international openings, Clyde & Co today announced the opening of its Miami office, with the acquisition of five partner strong litigation firm Thornton Davis Fein. The firm’s 40 lawyers and staff will be joined by Clyde & Co partner Ricardo Lewandowski who will relocate to the new office from London to launch a Latin American liaison service in Miami.

Werlen told Legal Business: ‘We’ve already been very successful in Switzerland, and in order to retain, secure and to further expand the position, we’ve made that next step.’

He added: ‘Switzerland is home to a lot of global companies, but specifically it’s home to banks, commodities traders, sports organisations, pharma companies – all of these [companies], while they’re doing the work that they’re doing, are being exposed on a global level, in particular to white collar exposure. That business is growing exponentially, and [with] our being in Switzerland, we’re going to pick up a lot of that work, which will be executed throughout the network including the US.’