Withers is to launch in Zurich in the next phase of the firm’s major investment in its international office network.
Initially the firm will relocate three partners to the jurisdiction, with Geneva managing director Justine Markovitz becoming head of Swiss operations.
Newly appointed Zurich office chief Judith Ingham said the ambition was to grow a significant base to focus on international private wealth work.
Withers’ aim is to develop referral relationships with firms based in Zurich.
“We’re finding there’s more work in Switzerland than we can do in our Geneva office,” said Ingham. “We need to be on the spot for another group of users. It’s a different market – an entrepreneurial market with more commercial work.”
Withers’ strategy is to target business centres that attract high-net-worth individuals. Zurich in particular attracts wealth from Russia, Eastern Europe and Israel, the firm said.
The firm has grown its international network significantly in the past three years.
It was the first London onshore firm to open an office in the British Virgin Islands after relocating partner John Greenwood there (The Lawyer, 30 March 2009). This came a year after it launched in Hong Kong, while the firm is also exploring options in Shanghai.