Dorontina Morina is our Legal Recruitment Specialist focusing on job roles in Switzerland; predominately working with mid-sized companies who have a well-established presence and looking to expand the business across multiple jurisdictions. These businesses are actively seeking legal professionals to join them and provide support in various areas such as transactions and M&A. However, there has been a ‘boom’ in the number of start-up companies in the Pharmaceutical/ Biotech industry in Switzerland and they have had a lot of backing from investors. Both start-ups and established businesses have made it interesting to recruit for, as the skill-set requirements of legal professionals has been refined.
Dorontina summaries key points about the market and why it has become increasingly important to have legal and professional service specialists working in-house.
Has the demand for legal professional services increased over the past few years in Switzerland? If yes, why?
Most of the placements I make are in the country’s two main financial and business centres, Zurich and Geneva. The opportunities are endless and I have seen professionals go from strength to strength, having successful careers for top businesses. It is becoming increasingly difficult to get a job and you really need to ensure your CV is up-to-date, highlighting anything that really will differentiate you from other professionals working in this space. If you are looking to relocate, it is even more necessary to make sure you spend time on a cover letter and your CV. Companies often find it easier to hire those already living in the country although we often try to convince them otherwise! Nonetheless, there is a skills shortage in this sector, so you really do have a good chance of securing a new role if you match the criteria that the client is seeking.
The unemployment rate is in Switzerland is one of the lowest in the world and is such an attractive country to work in legal professional services. One of the reasons that working in the country is so popular is the decentralized working structure that is much closer to the German model, which heavily looks at wages; making sure everyone is paid what they are worth.
Which types of legal roles are you seeing an increase for when working in Switzerland?
As companies grow, their legal team also grows. Where previously there seemed to be more legal positions for external lawyers who would be called upon for specific projects or legal matters - stakeholders now want to form a more secure platform for the business and as such have been hiring more in-house Legal Counsels who will continuously analyse the risks the business is facing rather than fixing a problem after it occurs. Additionally, where there are now more permanent positions, businesses have become more selective in their hiring. Professionals with a strong legal background which is accompanied by good knowledge of compliance matters is seen as adding value; the more dynamic you can be in a role the better.
Is there anything that you should bear in mind when looking to relocate to Switzerland, for a legal job?
Swiss employment law seeks to protect workers and demands businesses to be flexible. A system with a range of social insurance branches makes it possible to cover the risks incurred by employees at reasonable rates for companies.
To be approved for a residence permit, you need a job offer that cannot be done by a Swiss national, that is obviously where I come into play and will guide and help you with the process. Your company must second you and assign you to work in a different department for a certain period.
If you have children moving with you, research the local schools within catchment areas of where you decide to live, and open a new bank account in Switzerland as this is essential for you to be paid.
Which tips could you advise to someone looking for a new legal role? (e.g. CV tips, experience, courses, qualifications etc.)
Research the business you hope to work for as much as possible. Understand how the company has grown over the years; what makes them successful; what challenges have they faced over the years and how have they overcome them? Most importantly, always highlight your strengths and what you have acheived in previous jobs or learnt over the years that makes you stand out. How you will add those skills to the team and help them remain successful in their everyday operations?
What are the benefits of a company having an in-house legal team?
Many businesses will argue that they are saving a significant sum of money by only calling for external lawyers when necessary. This is the idea, however if we look at what an in-house legal team does then we should come to realise that their role is not only to prevent legal disputes which could result in a loss for the company but also to support the various departments of a business so that performance is optimised. So not only will businesses be benefiting from having unlimited access to legal counsel, they will also be utilising the funds available in the most efficient manner by not spending money on correcting mistakes but instead investing into the business to create growth.
If you are looking to recruit new legal professionals for your business or are looking for a new legal role in Switzerland then send your CV to Dorontina today.