Histoire

Our Firm was founded in 1907 by two prominent attorneys and currently offers the services of more than forty partners and associates committed to its clients.
The firm Borel & Barbey was founded by two prominent attorneys, Eugène Borel (1862 - 1955) and Paul Lachenal (1884 - 1955), who were later joined by four new partners: Alfred Borel (1902 - 1997), Gustave Barbey (1911 - 2001), Pierre de Charmant (1926 -2015) and Lucien Perret (1936 -2015).
 
Eugène Borel (1862 - 1955)
 
Born in Neuchâtel in 1862, Eugène Borel was a doctor of laws, public prosecutor in the Canton of Neuchâtel and professor at the University of Geneva, where he chaired the public law and Swiss federal public law departments.
Eugène Borel was mandated by the Federal Council to be part of the Swiss delegation during the Second Peace Conference of The Hague. Since then, he dedicated a major part of his expertise to international law. He taught this subject at the University of Geneva from 1915 to 1929 and at the Graduate Institute of International Studies.
In 1920, his reputation earned him the honour of being appointed by the major powers as arbitrator in the tribunals set up by the 1919 peace treaties following the First World War. In this capacity, he presided the Anglo-German Arbitration Tribunal and the German-Japanese Arbitration Tribunal. He was entrusted with other historic tasks, including the distribution and service of the annuities of the Ottoman debt among the successor states of the Ottoman Empire.
From 1929 to 1939, Eugène Borel was member of the Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration. He was also a member and then the Presiding Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal in Geneva.
 
Paul Lachenal (1884 - 1955)
 
Born in Geneva in 1884, Paul Lachenal attended university in Geneva where, at the age of 24, he was appointed deputy to the Public Prosecutor.
He dedicated the majority of his career to judicial practice and arbitration, and more specifically in the areas of commercial and business law. Under his leadership, these activities have significantly expanded in the firm and count today among the firm’s core practices.
Among his functions, Paul Lachenal was President of the Bar Association in Geneva, President of the Swiss Federation of Lawyers and Vice-President of the International Bar Association. He was also deputy judge at the  Geneva Court of First Instance from 1919 to 1930.
Furthermore, in 1927, the Council of the League of Nations appointed him as Chairman of the German-Polish Arbitration Tribunal, a position he held until the conclusion of the Tribunal’s operations.
 
Alfred Borel (1902 – 1997)
 
Born in Neuchâtel in 1902, Alfred Borel joined his uncle, Eugène Borel, as a partner in 1924 after graduating from the law school of the University of Geneva.
While practicing as a lawyer, he held high profile political functions and was appointed to the Council of State of the Republic and Canton of Geneva in 1954, where he was responsible for the Department of Education.
Alfred Borel was member of the Swiss National Council and then the Swiss Council of States for twenty years. As a convinced European, Alfred Borel played an active part in the work of Denis de Rougemont by chairing the European Centre of Culture, as well as the Council of Europe Consultative Assembly’s Commission for Culture and Education. Passionate about music, and a piano virtuoso himself, he was Chairman of the Swiss Romande Orchestra for 20 years as well as of several other cultural and charitable institutions.
Alfred Borel's brilliant legal and political career was marked by his innate sense of human warmth, his natural authority and his inquiring mind. These personal characteristics also enabled him to develop an exceptional literary and artistic culture.
 
Gustave Barbey (1911 - 2001)
 
Gustave Barbey was born in 1911. He joined the firm in 1936, after graduating from the law school of the University of Geneva. After years of work interrupted by the Second World War, Gustave Barbey became a partner of the firm in 1952.
He assisted a significant number of prestigious private clients and advised several institutions and companies wishing to relocate in Switzerland.
Eugène Barbey assisted in particular, in the 1950-1960’s, many foreign groups operating in financial services or trading in commodities to establish their presence in Geneva. He also chaired a large number of these prestigious groups, banks and foundations. The widespread presence of foreign groups in Geneva today is, to no small extent, the fruit of Eugène Barbey’s contribution.
Besides being a business lawyer, Gustave Barbey also pleaded before the courts ground-breaking cases he firmly believed in.
Gustave Barbey was also a military judge and Consul General of Norway for over 25 years.
After the death of Paul Lachenal, the firm took the name of the two partners of the time to become the firm Borel & Barbey, which the partners subsequently preserved to honour these two partners who had contributed so much to the development of the firm.
 
Pierre de Charmant (1926 - 2015)
 
Pierre de Charmant was born in 1926 in Budapest. His family left Hungary as he was very young and moved to Geneva, where he continued his studies to graduate from the law school of the University of Geneva. He completed his legal education at the law school of McGill University in Montreal, from where he returned in 1963, to join Alfred Borel and Gustave Barbey.
Thanks to his Hungarian nationality, his family environment and his international education, Pierre de Charmant was multilingual and multinational, which provided him with a broad legal and general culture. This enabled him to develop, along with his partners, the practice of business law in Geneva and at an international level, particularly in the areas of finance and trade. He was chairman and member of a large number of boards of directors of banks, financial companies and other prestigious institutions. He retired in 2000.
 
Lucien Perret (1936 - 1985)
 
Lucien Perret was born in Geneva in 1936. After graduating from the law school of the University of Geneva he joined the firm to specialize in business law, mainly for Swiss and international clients appearing before the civil and administrative courts.
An outstanding negotiator, gifted with a highly intuitive mind, Lucien Perret only went to court as a last resort. Even then, his judicial submissions were notoriously concise and limited to the strictly relevant legal arguments, thereby reflecting his pragmatism and his clear reasoning.
Thanks to the organization set up by Lucien Perret, the firm's judicial practice continued to develop very successfully, despite his sudden death in January 1985.
 
Our Partners since 1980:
-    1980 : Olivier Dunant
-    1987 : Luc Hafner
-    1990 : Michèle Wassmer, Nicolas Piérard and Marc Fischer
-    1994 : Patrick Blaser
-    1999 : Nicolas Killen
-    2008 : Michel Barbey
-    2011 : Louis Boissier, Laurent Kyd and Alexandre de Weck
-    2015 : Stéphanie La Roche and Luca Bozzo
-    2016 : Sonia Ryser
-    2017 : Paul Hanna