Contract Negotiations: Now vs. Then

Mobile phones are a great help in these days to secure this permanent accessibility not only during regular business hours. Sometimes a five-minute call on a Saturday or Sunday can make all the difference instead of having a client experiencing a dreadful weekend by receiving a phone call from its lawyer only on Monday.

“It is Rihm Attorneys’ business policy that clients can access us at all times. This usually requires that we are reachable in the evenings and if necessary over the weekend.”, shares Dr. Thomas Rihm. He speaks more about his practice below.


How has legal work in contract negotiation evolved throughout Switzerland since you entered the profession? What would you say have been the major game changers in this field over the last decade?

Over the last 30 years, the law firms have experienced in full the fast development of communication techniques, from receiving and writing paper letters, to the use of fax starting in the 1980s and later on e-mail including electronic attachments in the 1990s. Mobile phones make the constant communication with clients much easier.

Needless to say, that these techniques have accelerated lawyers’ work enormously and contributed much in terms of effectiveness and cost savings. Extended travelling to global business capitals in order to finalize during an entire week in personal meetings a complex set of contracts and other legal documents have – unfortunately – become quite seldom.   

What remains of course is the due analysis of client needs when it comes to drafting and negotiating. Seasoned business lawyers with broad work experience are more than ever in great demand, as they can achieve much more affordable price than a handful of legal specialists which is usually difficult to handle and coordinate.


How have the recent events in Switzerland affected your work and your clients?

The US tax programme of 2013 lead to an immense work load for business law attorneys in Switzerland when advising Switzerland based banks in their negotiations with the DoJ in Washington. International and national anti-money laundering legislation became also a constant source for business law advise over the years. Similarly, employment laws and innumerable flexible compensation plans, the Swiss fat cat regulations of 2014 and international and national data protection laws have created an immense need for business law consulting, also on a more strategic level.


What common issues arise when providing counsel to SMEs? Are there any legislations from this which you think would be worth revising?

The mid-sized business law firm of Rihm Attorneys constantly provides general business law advise to SMEs both for their day-to-day business and in more extraordinary and complex business constellations. SME clients in particular appreciate a hands-on approach in solving their legal issues without being too much absorbed when collaborating with their lawyers. SMEs favour any legislation that reduces their legal and other paper work.


How do you battle through the challenges in court cases involving SMEs?

Rihm Attorneys has fought many court battles, also for its SME clients. These clients quite often underestimate the time efforts necessary to make a court case successful. The better the support from our SME clients is in a litigation case, the better we are in making the case.


Dr. Thomas Rihm


Rihm Attorneys at Law

Brandschenkestrasse 4

8001 Zurich

P   +41 44 377 77 20

F  +41 44 377 77 29


Rihm Attorneys at law is a Swiss practice with an international outlook and counseling focus around all aspects of entrepreneurship. The firm is headed by its founder Dr. Thomas Rihm. For more than 30 years, he has advised and represented companies and entrepreneurs in complex transactions and restructurings as well as in state court, arbitration and insolvency proceedings.


Based in the centre of Zurich nearby Paradeplatz, Rihm Attorneys at law can draw upon a well-established global network of correspondent law firms in all major business centers. Working languages are German, English, French, Italian, Turkish and Serbo-Croatian and communication can be secured by most advanced encryption systems (Wire, Proton and Threema).

According to Chambers, Best, Lawyers and Who`s Who Legal, Rihm Attorneys at law is leading in the fields of M&A, insolvency and employment & compensation benefits laws.

Rihm Attorneys at law is a member of the Swiss and Zurich Bar Associations as well as the XBHR (Global Forum for Cross-Border Human Resource Experts in London), DRI (the Voice of the Defense Bar in Chicago), EELA (European Employment Lawyers Association) and the BSCC (British Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Zurich and London).

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