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Old 22.09.2010, 14:43
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UK lawyer working in CH

Hi All,
I am a UK qualified Solicitor relocating to Zurich region because of my husband's job shortly and am looking at employment options in law. I have seen quite a few job ads for in house lawyers in banks and large companies but most need German language skills which I don't have yet . I could do some legal advisory work in English from home but would prefer a real job.

Just wondering if there is anyone out there who could please advise me: Should I ignore the German skills requirment and just apply for any jobs that I am otherwise qualified for?
If I get a job in house are the hours likely to involve late nights and weekends as the norm?
What would I need to do ( e.g. register with the authorities or bar association? ) in order to accept commercial legal work at home ( no client monies, conveyancing or litigation)?

Thanks a million for any replies, I really appreciate anyone taking the time to share their views
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Old 22.09.2010, 15:35
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

Search the forum for working in law and you will find most of your answers. It has been covered many times.
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Old 22.09.2010, 16:36
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

Hi
thanks for your response, I did search and found some good stuff but not exactly on the questions I have.... If anyone is working in house or from home in CH as a commercial lawyer and has any tips for me I would be very grateful.

I was also thinking about doing a german/english masters in law at the University of Luzern to pass the time while I learn German. A bit worried that studying would drive me insane though. I assume that having a Swiss masters is not really going to help in my job hunt ( I know it is a prequisite for admission to the bar)?

thanks very much
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Old 22.09.2010, 16:42
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

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( I know it is a prequisite for admission to the bar)?
Bit fussy eh? Try another pub.
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Old 22.09.2010, 17:09
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

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Hi All,
I am a UK qualified Solicitor relocating to Zurich region because of my husband's job shortly and am looking at employment options in law. I have seen quite a few job ads for in house lawyers in banks and large companies but most need German language skills which I don't have yet . I could do some legal advisory work in English from home but would prefer a real job.

Just wondering if there is anyone out there who could please advise me: Should I ignore the German skills requirment and just apply for any jobs that I am otherwise qualified for?
If I get a job in house are the hours likely to involve late nights and weekends as the norm?
What would I need to do ( e.g. register with the authorities or bar association? ) in order to accept commercial legal work at home ( no client monies, conveyancing or litigation)?

Thanks a million for any replies, I really appreciate anyone taking the time to share their views

If you don't know Swiss law or have some other searched after quality, why would it make sense to employ a UK lawyer in expensive Switzerland when you get a UK lawyer to do the same far cheaper back in the UK ?
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Old 22.09.2010, 17:57
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

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Should I ignore the German skills requirment and just apply for any jobs that I am otherwise qualified for?
Okay, you're a solicitor. So am I. Forget the paper qualification. When did you qualify? What is your experience since qualification?
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Old 23.09.2010, 10:12
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

Hi Nev
I have 15 years pqe and am working in-house in an energy company doing transactions, project financing, m&a, general commercial, procurement and energy trading legal work managing a legal team of 7. I have seen a few ads for generalist commercial roles that I think my experience could fit. On the other hand, unless I can get very good at German very quickly I suspect that early retirement may be looming just over the Zugersee...........
thanks for any comments
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Old 23.09.2010, 12:23
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

Transocean is in Zug, and into energy, or so you could say I guess. I suspect they need all the legal help they could get at the moment.
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Old 23.09.2010, 12:50
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

there are definitely jobs at international companies for people with legal skills, regardless of their place of admission. so you're not a swiss lawyer? who cares. you'll be drafting and negotiating agreements (in english), not representing anybody in a swiss court.

i know, i'm a US lawyer and i work in house here.
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Old 04.10.2010, 14:29
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

Actually, clonskeagh would be allowed to represent parties before Swiss courts (whether its a good idea to do so if you do not speak the language and do not know the law is another question), since she is from an EU member state and has qualified in a EU member state (US lawyers are out of luck).

She would have to keep herself registered in her home registration state (England or Ireland I assume) and also register in Switzerland as a foreign practicing lawyer. She could then practice under her title as "solicitor".

http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/c935_61.html
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Old 04.10.2010, 15:01
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

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Just wondering if there is anyone out there who could please advise me: Should I ignore the German skills requirment and just apply for any jobs that I am otherwise qualified for?
Sure, can't hurt. I'm working as in-house, am not Swiss qualified, barely spoke a word or German when I applied and the job was not even advertised (I only found out later that they were looking through agencies and yes, required German).
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Old 04.10.2010, 20:33
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

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Actually, clonskeagh would be allowed to represent parties before Swiss courts (whether its a good idea to do so if you do not speak the language and do not know the law is another question), since she is from an EU member state and has qualified in a EU member state (US lawyers are out of luck).

She would have to keep herself registered in her home registration state (England or Ireland I assume) and also register in Switzerland as a foreign practicing lawyer. She could then practice under her title as "solicitor".

http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/c935_61.html
Would that it were that simple! In the case of Law, Accounting and a few others, one must show that they are as competent as their Swiss counterparts in the areas of Swiss law, administrative procedures and so on in order to be allowed practice - This is done via an aptitude test which covers the same material as that studied by the locals and is done in one of the national languages, depending on the Kanton involved....

The only advantage of going this way is that there is no additional practical experience required, past that which was required for the original qualification.

It addition it should be noted that it is only open to a EU/CH citizen - a non citizen holding the same qualification will not qualify, so for example an American who has qualified as a Chartered Accountant in the UK can not avail of this option.

Good luck with that,

Jim.
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Old 05.10.2010, 18:53
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

Well actually it is quite as simple:

If you are a lawyer who is a EU/EFTA national and is admitted to practice in EU/EFTA you can register in Switzerland as a foreign lawyer but you have to practice under your original title (i.e. solicitor, barrister, etc.). All you need is a certification from your home bar (or other regulatory authority) confirming you are entitled to practice in your home country.

If you actually want to practice under the German, French, Italian language equivalent (Rechtsanwalt, Fürsprecher, Advokant, avocat, etc.) then you have to have been practicing in Switzerland for at least three years as a "registered foreign attorney" (see above) and show that you have been regularly practicing Swiss law and have a short "chat" about their professional experience, or you can do an equivalency test.

Registration is only need if you want to appear before courts. So if you are going inhouse, it does not matter. In any event have a look at www.lawjobs.ch.
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Last edited by Mica; 05.10.2010 at 18:57. Reason: added a paragraph
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Old 04.02.2020, 16:21
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

Dear clonskeagh

I know your post on the forum is quite old but I am now in exactly the same situation as you were and I was wondering if you managed to secure a job as a corporate lawyer and I was looking for some tips.

Kind regards

Last edited by Guest; 09.02.2020 at 09:34. Reason: Some formatting issues
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Old 20.02.2020, 16:44
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

Hi,

I am an UK qualified lawyer with 15 years experience working in house in the technology sector. It took me three years to find a job in Zurich, three years of networking and doing jobs that I would have turned my nose up at as a new graduate. And I speak German.

Eventually I got creative and bypassed the whole Swiss networking thing. You have a number of strikes against you. You are female and foreign and therefore second class. You don't have the network and never will because the legal industry (and the country) is stuck in the 50s and is a proper old boys network.

I went on Linkedin and contacted companies who were advertising jobs like the job I left in London but who had a footprint on the continent and who I thought might be flexible as to my location. Eventually that worked.

Do not underestimate how long this might take. I am friends with about 15 other foreign qualified lawyers based in and around zurich/Zug. Most have now found jobs but they are either in compliance or below the level that they would have been at back home - albeit better paid so of course there is that and that's not to be sniffed at. Some are still unemployed and slowly losing their minds in isolated villages in the Zuri-oberland.

I left Switzerland a month ago after five years here and I still wonder whether this was worth it. It cost me my relationship (apparently a high flying lawyer is super sexy and and someone even temporarily mired in self-doubt is not. In sickness and in health you say?) and took a massive toll on my self-worth and mental health.

Please take the above in the spirit that it is intended - I just want to make you aware of how hard it is. If you like, feel free to PM me for recruiter contact details, although they will be equally frank with you.
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Old 21.02.2020, 13:24
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

Non-Swiss lawyer working in-house here. Let me start by telling you that its difficult to find something here. It takes time and can be frustrating because it is not the natural progression you are probably used to. You will not be hired for your skills in Swiss legal system (non-existent). You will be hired for skills which a company needs, but most likely not available here. Try to think of what they might be. Once you find that, highlight it and market yourself accordingly. Try to visit the Chamber of Commerce events related to UK. Are there UK companies with a presence in Ch? Are there Swiss tech companies trying to enter UK? Maybe check with these? Feel free to PM me.
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Old 21.02.2020, 14:21
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

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Eventually I got creative and bypassed the whole Swiss networking thing. You have a number of strikes against you. You are female and foreign and therefore second class. You don't have the network and never will because the legal industry (and the country) is stuck in the 50s and is a proper old boys network.
Don't underestimate this. I'm in IT, and have never had difficulty securing good paying and interesting work until I hit the Swiss Wall. It is simply a different world here, one I do not understand, but one I know that as a non-Swiss I am not terribly welcome professionally.

For what it's worth, the only job offer I got was when the hiring manager was an American.
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Old 21.02.2020, 14:35
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

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Don't underestimate this. I'm in IT, and have never had difficulty securing good paying and interesting work until I hit the Swiss Wall. It is simply a different world here, one I do not understand, but one I know that as a non-Swiss I am not terribly welcome professionally.

For what it's worth, the only job offer I got was when the hiring manager was an American.

Interesting, seeing the amount of foreigners working in Switzerland, that feeling cannot be that widespread.
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Old 21.02.2020, 18:20
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

VTB Capital.....Russian commodity trading house looking for an English speaking in-house lawyer. They are based in Zug...

https://de.glassdoor.ch/Job/z%C3%BCr...yRedirect=true

This new role will form part of the closely-knit VTB Commodities Trading Legal team. It will be based in Zug. The candidate will work closely with the Global Commodities division. The individual will be reporting to Head of Legal in Zug, and will work closely with the broader legal team globally. The candidate must have in-house commodities trading/financing experience. A track record of working in the physical commodities sector with highly motivated commodities business professionals but also ideally experience of working in banks and regulated financial institutions as well.

Principal Responsibilities

The candidate will be accountable to the legal department, the local entity in Zug and the commodities business.

The global commodities business is headquartered in Moscow but the physical trading hub/booking entity is in Zug.

Skills needed include:
Commodities trade agreements / trade finance documentation.
Broader knowledge around commodities logistics and commercial documents of international shipment of commodities is essential.
Commodities futures/derivatives experience would be an advantage.
Strong appreciation of Swiss regulatory issues and regulatory issues involving a global business desk operating in a regulated entity.
Appreciation of compliance and sanctions would be an advantage.
Issues may include jurisdictional licensing and cross border origination/marketing issues.
Ideally admitted to practise in a Commonwealth jurisdiction (England & Wales/Singapore/Hong Kong).

Key Competencies & Qualifications

Qualifications:
Private practice is not ruled out but ideally would have had secondment/s in commodities team/s.

Good academic qualifications in law and minimum 3 year PQE.

Languages:
English;

Russian would be an advantage

German would be an advantage

Character:
Dynamic, astute with regard to risk assessment, commercial and self-assured to get the respect of the business.
Team-oriented personality with good judgement to identify and escalate governance/regulatory/cross border/sanctions issues promptly, particularly to Global/Regional Legal heads, as applicable.

Typical Decisions taken by Job Holder

Key aspects of the function will be to make decisions on legal structures, documentation and legal issues affecting the business interests of the entities in the commodities field.

Documentation of structured transactions, such as sale purchase contracts for commodities will be within the remit of the candidate, as will local advice for physical commodities trading.

No budgetary responsibility.

This job description is dated and is a fair representation of the role that you will carry out for VTB Capital but is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all duties.

As with any organization and role, change is inevitable and the role may flex over time.

Where this change is material your manager will issue a revised job description in consultation with Human Resources.

Datum der Veröffentlichung: 20 Feb 20
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Old 21.02.2020, 22:00
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Re: UK lawyer working in CH

just an update from my side- i got a job easily enough in house with big Pharma, initially as maternity leave cover but then made permanent. The job is well paid, interesting work and the company is very employee friendly but my lack of fluent German effectively excludes me from a people management role. So iff this is important then a US employer would be better than Swiss I think.
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