Find out more about the long history and the notable role that we have played in forming Swiss law.
It all began with three partners who decided to work together under the name of “Niederer, Kraft & Frey”. This union turned into a success story as NKF evolved into a leading, internationally minded, highly professional Swiss law firm.
Dr. René Niederer started his practice at Talstrasse 11 in Zurich. He was joined in 1937 by Dr. Werner Kraft and in 1939 by Dr. Werner Niederer.
In 1944 Dr. Hugo A. Frey and later Dr. Max Schucan and Dr. Erich Gayler joined Niederer Kraft Frey. Professional qualifications and an international approach have been core values from the very beginning. Werner Niederer qualified as a university lecturer in private and public international law at the University of Zurich. Hugo Frey’s visits to USA had a lasting impact, informing the firm’s international mindset. He published works on international currency law at a time when the subject was known only to a few insiders.
Werner Niederer published his treatise “Einführung in die allgemeinen Lehren des Internationalen Privatrechtes” in 1954 (third edition 1961). The partners decided to work together under the name of “Niederer, Kraft & Frey”. To friends, clients and colleagues, they were known as NIKRA.
With the globalisation of the business world following the Second World War, the firm was a natural first choice as an internationally-minded, highly professional Swiss law firm.
Niederer Kraft & Frey moved from Talstrasse to Bahnhofstrasse 13. In subsequent generations, the firm continued to produce many outstanding lawyers who have made their presence felt in the Swiss legal world.
NKF always grew organically and never experienced an exodus. By the early 1990s, NKF had grown to a size that necessitated some strengthening of its internal organisation. A managing board led by a managing partner was introduced in 1994.
NKF gradually took additional office space in Bahnhofstrasse 20, Bahnhofstrasse 18, Fraumünsterstrasse 15 and Poststrasse 5.
Constitution of Niederer Kraft & Frey AG in 2008.
The long history as a premier Swiss law firm and the notable role that NKF has played not only in landmark transactions but more generally in how law is made and practiced in Switzerland has enabled it to build up a valuable and trusted network of relationships with policy and decision makers in both the private and public sectors.
NKF became the first Swiss firm to win European Law Firm of the Year awarded by The Lawyer. Following our international approach, more foreign-qualified lawyers were hired to strengthen our capability to form cross-jurisdictional project teams with law firms around the world.
Niederer Kraft & Frey rebranded as Niederer Kraft Frey, moved to Bahnhofstrasse 53, was named Swiss Law Firm of the Year by Chambers, IFLR and Leaders League and won the Transatlantic M&A Team of the Year (Large Deal) Award by The American Lawyer. In accordance with its culture, change was introduced quietly. NKF takes pride in the fact that the firm has maintained and expanded its leading position throughout the years and is today considered part of the circle of premier law firms which includes only a few of those in the world’s most important jurisdictions.
In June 2022, Niederer Kraft Frey announced to join forces with Geneva firm Tavernier Tschanz and a team from Python as of 2023. By combining the strengths of the different teams, NKF will further expand its leading position within Switzerland’s two economic centres – the “Lake of Geneva Region” and the “Greater Zurich Area” – and anchor itself even more strongly in the market. As of 2023, NKF will be run by 48 partners. The firm will comprise approximately 140 lawyers or 220 employees in total.
In October 2022, NKF announced the launch of The Lab by NKF, a technology-based alternative legal service provider that combines innovative technologies with a wide range of legal knowledge and expertise. With the launch of The Lab by NKF, NKF is the first Swiss law firm to introduce such innovative alternative compliance product. This underlines NKF’s positioning as innovative leader with in the legal industry in Switzerland and further exemplifies NKF’s commitment to implement innovative LegalTech tools benefitting clients. Find out more.
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