Founding partner Jean-Marc Carnicé is a key name in the Swiss market when it comes to white-collar crime litigation and investigations.
Jean-Marc Carnicé heads BianchiSchwald LLC’s dispute resolution and white-collar crime practice groups within the firm. He was the chairman of the Geneva Bar Association from 2014 to 2016. He is a member of the High Council of Geneva’s judiciary since 2017 and provides highly specialised criminal law courses within the Swiss Bar Association’s exclusive training programme. He has been a lecturer at the Ecole d’Avocature of the Law Faculty at Geneva University.
Jean-Marc Carnicé holds a law degree from the University of Geneva and an LLM from New York University. He was admitted to the Geneva Bar in 1994 and the New York Bar in 1996.
What inspired you to focus your career on white-collar crime defence?
I have above all been inspired by the people I met. As a young lawyer, I had the privilege to work for the best white-collar crime defence lawyers in Geneva. They shared their knowledge with me, and I am trying to do the same today with young lawyers. I have also been clearly attracted by the diversity of the matters, its complexity and the international dimension of the cases.
Looking back over your career, what is the most interesting case you have been a part of?
Over ten years ago I was involved in a very complex cross-border litigation case between Italy, France and Switzerland. My client was accused of being a member of a criminal organisation, jailed in Switzerland and prosecuted. I had to interact with lawyers in different countries and I filed more than ten appeals in front of the Swiss Federal Criminal Court, many of which have been admitted. In the end, the client was acquitted.
How do you prepare for multijurisdictional investigations?
In my area of practice, multijurisdictional investigations are very typical. During the last few years, I have built strong contacts with law firms all around the world and met many excellent lawyers with whom I cooperate on a regular basis. The capacity to provide the client with very good lawyers in different countries and the trust I place in them are essential to be well prepared for multijurisdictional investigations.
What do clients look for in an effective business crime defence lawyer?
Immediate availability, trust, ability to understand their activity and to find a solution, responsiveness and reliability. These are the key qualities of a successful white-collar defence lawyer.
How do you see business crime defence practice changing in the next five years?
I have noticed over the past few years an increase in the sophistication of the authorities.
Therefore, a high level of work is required from the legal community. Cyber criminality will clearly be a challenge in the future. Lawyers often must advise clients on preventive steps to be taken as a means of protecting against data theft as many commercial institutions are targeted. Without doubt, cyber criminality will increase in the next five years and deeply impact business crime defence practice.
What advice would you give to younger lawyers hoping to one day be in your position?
They should try to work in high-profile cases in order to attract greater visibility. Participation in specialised conferences and publications also help towards achieving a strong reputation among peers. Finally, respect towards the adverse party and indeed the opposing counsel is absolutely essential.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
I would be very interested in taking a bigger part in academic pursuits. Teaching and participating in specialised conferences around the world would be a great achievement for me.