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Old 17.07.2021, 18:58
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US Lawyer, Swiss Citizen- working in US Law in Switzerland

Hello,

I am a US lawyer planning to relocate back to Switzerland. I am a Swiss citizen.

The plan is to work for my current US firm from VD, under contract as a consultant. I will not be signing documents but would be giving legal advice via phone/email- again, strictly US law and no overlap with Swiss (specifically, US immigration).

Do I require a license for this?

My only reference point is: https://ch.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen...ens/attorneys/

Sounds like I should be a Legal Consultant and am fine. Are there any sources for this?

Do I need to register as a Foreign Legal Consultant with any organisation? Tips for legal insurance if required?

Appreciate the help, first time moving outside the US and need clarification.
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Old 18.07.2021, 11:44
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Re: US Lawyer, Swiss Citizen- working in US Law in Switzerland

My reading of the comment on the US embassy website is that you may work as a "Legal Consultant" in Switzerland, if your work permit allows such work. As a Swiss Citizen, you will not need a work permit per say.

What isn't clear is whether the work that you plan to do is consistent with being a "Legal Consultant". The Swiss bar association's page on educational requirements is only clear that full qualifications are required to represent a client in court.

Perhaps the right way forward is to query the bar association or other relevant authority? I've often been amazed at the depth of knowledge available on English Forum, but your question is even more specialized than most, and an incorrect assumption might lead to real problems.
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Old 18.07.2021, 18:30
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Re: US Lawyer, Swiss Citizen- working in US Law in Switzerland

I am in your situation (Columbia L’66, UCLouvain Dr en droit ‘99) but retired. I worked for the State Dept for 21 years. In principle you can advise on US law or conflict of laws as a “counselor” or “legal consultant”. Except that I am retired and only work pro bono.
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Old 19.07.2021, 17:02
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Re: US Lawyer, Swiss Citizen- working in US Law in Switzerland

From a "legal profession" point of view there are the following points to consider:
- you would be barred from representing clients before courts (this is reserved to lawyers admitted in Switzerland or recognised in Switzerland, i.e. EU/EFTA lawyers);
- you are not permitted to call yourself a lawyer (what that actually means depends on which canton you will be working from, because each Canton has its own provisions on this, e.g. in Zurich the applicable provision is "Wer ohne im Besitz eines Anwaltspatents zu sein die Berufsbezeichnung Rechtsanwältin oder Rechtsanwalt oder eine gleichwertige Bezeichnung verwendet, wird durch das Statthalteramt mit
Busse bis 5000 Franken bestraft." So your mileage may vary depending on what you wish to call yourself and in which Canton you are;
- your work will not be covered by Swiss-attorney client privilege (there was again a recent supreme court decision, which I am too lazy to look up);

To be safe you would need to check in the respective Canton in which you plan to reside, whether under their bar rules (i) giving legal advice is also regulated (I would be surprised if it is, but your Cantonal mileage may vary); and (ii) what their practice is regarding the title you intend to work under.

These are all questions my colleagues would be happy to provide advice on, if you send me PM for contact details.
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Old 19.07.2021, 19:11
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Re: US Lawyer, Swiss Citizen- working in US Law in Switzerland

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From a "legal profession" point of view there are the following points to consider:
- you would be barred from representing clients before courts (this is reserved to lawyers admitted in Switzerland or recognised in Switzerland, i.e. EU/EFTA lawyers);
This is not true, a Swiss friend of mine does this, even before the federal court (and has won).

He has a Swiss and a US law degree, but is not a member of the bar, thus is not a lawyer.

I can provide his contact details.

Tom
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Old 20.07.2021, 14:01
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Re: US Lawyer, Swiss Citizen- working in US Law in Switzerland

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This is not true, a Swiss friend of mine does this, even before the federal court (and has won).

He has a Swiss and a US law degree, but is not a member of the bar, thus is not a lawyer.

I can provide his contact details.

Tom
He can certainly do so in his personal capacity, i.e. for his own matters, or if he does so in a non-professional capacity (i.e. one off), and finally also so in some debt enforcement related summary proceedings, and some other minor exceptions depending on the Canton he would be acting in, and finally in the area of administrative law.

However, otherwise professional (i.e. as in a business) representation in criminal and civil proceedings is regulated (e.g. in the case of the Canton Zurich §11/§40 of the Lawyers Statute, and can only be conducted by admitted lawyers under threat of a fine up to CHF 20'000). The relevant provision in the Code of Civil Procedure (Art. 68) and the relevant provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure (Art. 127).
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