Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

Thomas  Werlen

Thomas Werlen

PD Dr Thomas Werlen is the managing partner of the Swiss office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP. Thomas is recognised as one of the top attorneys in Switzerland reflecting his unique experience at the highest levels in law firms in New York and London, as well as in-house as group general counsel and member of the executive committee of global pharma company Novartis. He has been involved as lead counsel in some of the highest profile civil and criminal matters in Switzerland. Thomas’s practice focuses on both white-collar and corporate investigations as well as on complex litigation arbitration, often involving multiple jurisdictions. He also acts frequently as an arbitrator.

Thomas regularly represents clients in high-stakes white-collar matters. For instance, he has been representing FIFA in criminal investigations being pursued in the United States and Switzerland, as well as several major Swiss banking and financial institutions in matters adverse to Swiss and US-authorities in connection with the US Swiss Tax Program or with the fallout of the “Panama Papers”. Thomas is also advising a number of high-profile clients in connection with 1MDB, PDVSA and Lava Jato related criminal and regulatory investigations, including major financial institutions in Switzerland and a large Swiss-based commodities trading company.

Thomas has also repeatedly been recognised among the country’s top lawyers by Switzerland’s leading business newspapers – including by the Financial Times, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Bilanz and Handelszeitung – which described Thomas as “among Switzerland’s foremost litigators”, among “the select elite of Swiss business lawyers”, and “highly experienced in cases involving prosecution by both US and Swiss authorities”. Clients praise Thomas for his “ability in high-stakes negotiations” and describe him as a “stellar operator” and a “goal-oriented litigator”, who has “a rapid understanding of complex situations and an excellent network” (The Legal 500).

Thomas holds Lic iur and Dr iur degrees in law from the University of Zurich and a master's degree from Harvard Law School. He has been a member of the Zurich Bar since 1991 and a member of the New York Bar since 1997. Since 2012, Thomas has been a “Privatdozent” (professor) for finance and capital markets law. Thomas lectures on corporate governance, finance, banking, securities and corporate law at both the University of St Gallen and the University of Zurich. In June 2017, Thomas was appointed co-director of the Executive Master’s in European and International Business Law (EMBL) Programme at the University of St Gallen. Also, Thomas is a member of the Panel of experts for P.R.I.M.E. Finance and serves on the Appeals Board of the SIX Swiss Exchange AG. Owing to his expertise in developing corporate governance and legal strategies across the globe, Thomas regularly appears as a panelist or keynote speaker at international seminars and conferences, features on TV and radio shows and attracts regular press coverage.