GDR 100 2021

Walder Wyss

Walder Wyss

Professional notice

Practice profile

Walder Wyss is currently in high demand due to market trends such as digitisation, data monetisation and shifts to platform-centred business models. Lawyers in the Swiss firm’s M&A, employment, litigation, healthcare, pharma, IT, tax and data protection departments – and more – frequently deal with legal issues that arise in those contexts.

The firm recognises that all lawyers need to be fluent in data. Regular internal training and a collaborative and open-door culture ensures data knowledge is passed around. A dedicated data protection team, consisting of five partners and 12 additional fee earners, is Switzerland’s largest, and the first specialised team on the Swiss market.

The firm advises on all aspects of data protection, including defending clients in several regulatory investigations. Regular clients include Microsoft, Swisscard, Swisscom, ABB, credit card issuer Aduno, credit information company Intrum and Zurich Insurance. 

Leading individuals

Jürg Schneider in Lausanne is a key name: a co-head of the data protection practice, he has a solid presence on the market. David Vasellain Zurich joined from Froriep in 2017; partners Michael Isler and Hans-Rudolf Trüebare important to the firm, acting respectively as a current and a former member of its management committee. Managing associate Monique Sturnyis a partner-elect; she is an expert on the interface between data and competition law.

Work highlights

Marketing agency APG turned to Michael Isler when it implemented a location-based advertising service that allows publishers to better personalise campaigns. The project included structuring the service, interacting with Switzerland’s Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner and conducting a GDPR implementation project. Clients including defence contractor RUAG, retailer Migros, caterer gategroup and listed dairy producer Emmi have used Walder Wyss for compliance work.

The bulk of the firm’s contentious work is confidential, but partner David Vasella has represented Swisscom in Federal Administrative Court proceedings.

Client feedback

A global data protection officer praises the firm’s lawyers for sharing clients internally in order to provide the best possible service. “They are also very fast in answering questions and if they are booked they rapidly give us an expected deadline to fulfil the obligations. I would say I find them better than other competitors because they have all the advantages of a big legal firm while they remain very close to clients as if they were much smaller.”

The client says David Vasella is “THE well-known lawyer in terms of data protection in Switzerland”, and says is he “precise,” “quick” and “pragmatic”.

Walder Wyss has been established in Zurich in 1972 and has grown continuously at record pace. Today we are one of the largest Swiss full-service firms, with around 240 legal experts, including more than 65 partners and 18 senior counsel and counsel. 

Growth and a close relationship to our clients determine our success. With six offices in Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Berne, Lausanne and Lugano, we offer our clients a personalised and high-quality one-stop shop for all legal and tax advisory needs across all language regions of Switzerland.

We are a modern and agile firm and see ourselves not as distant learned colleagues but as hands-on, commercially minded and solutions-driven partners to our clients with a quick, open and direct communication style. Our clients include national and international companies, publicly held corporations and family businesses as well as public law institutions and private clients.

We specialize in corporate and commercial law, banking and finance, technology and data, intellectual property, regulated industries and competition, dispute resolution and tax law. In the technology and data fields we have earned a reputation as one of Switzerland’s premier firms. We have been the first firm in Switzerland, and remain one of the few, with a strong practice in all data-heavy areas including privacy, IT, and investigations and white-collar.

Our data protection team includes 6 partners and 11 additional fee earners across our offices. The team is headed by David Vasella and Jürg Schneider, two of the most respected and experienced Swiss data protection lawyers. We advise clients from all sectors on data protection and privacy, including technology, financial services, health care, insurance, media, retail, food and drink producers, transport, energy, credit information, charities, sport, education, construction and real estate, and industry. We provide advice, help with compliance implementations, conduct investigations, and represent clients before courts and data protection authorities. A particular focus continues to be compliance with the GDPR by international groups headquartered in Switzerland, and by Swiss members of international groups, and we are now helping clients comply with the revised Swiss Data Protection Act that will come into force in 2022.

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