Dr. iur. (Zurich) . LL.M. (Yale) . FCI Arb
Hon. President Swiss Arbitration Assoc.
Former Vice President, Stockholm Institute
Former Vice President, LCIA
Attorney at Law/Rechtsanwalt
Admitted in Switzerland
formerly of Pestalozzi Zurich and
3 King’s Bench Walk North
London EC4Y 7HR
Richard Wagner-Str. 27
8002 Zurich, Switzerland
Tel: +41 79 345 85 87
Pierre A. Karrer
Pierre Karrer was born in 1941 in Zurich. He descends from the Swiss legal families, Karrer and Piccard. Both his parents, both his grandfathers, and several other family members on both sides, were all either practicing lawyers or judges in Zürich, Lucerne, or Lausanne.
He graduated from Freies Gymnasium in Zürich with Latin, Greek and Hebrew. He studied law at the University of Zürich and half a year each in Göttingen, Padova, and the Hague. His major interest was initially Roman law and legal history, but soon he turned to comparative law and private international law. With a dissertation in this field he obtained a doctorate summa cum laude from the University of Zürich. He became a reserve Captain of artillery in the Swiss military, also this in his family tradition.
After clerking at the District Court of Uster he was admitted in Switzerland in 1969. He Immediately continued his studies at Yale where he obtained an LL.M. in 1970. He returned to the United States for another three years. There, he married the violinist, Emily AnMing Bien. She was born in Shanghai, grew up in Hong Kong and California, and later became a full-time member of the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra. They have two sons, Julian and Sebastian, and two grandchildren.
He was an Assistant Professor of law at Tulane University in New Orleans where he taught conflict of laws and common law. This was unusual for a lawyer primarily raised in the Civil Law. After returning to Switzerland he became a full-time practitioner, but continued to teach at the University of Zürich (in German), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (in French), and various universities in other countries (in English). Until 2019, he authored numerous publications.
He practiced for 34 years in Zürich with Pestalozzi, at the start already one of the largest Swiss law firms with just 10 lawyers. Later, he set up his own boutique law firm for another dozen years. First, he dealt with all aspects of international business law, and for a few years also took responsibility in a machine tool factory.
Soon however, he became a full-time international commercial arbitrator, very frequently as chairman. He could in this way make use of his language abilities (fluent English, French, German, Italian, and Dutch, some Spanish) and broad interests worldwide. Long lasting peace, globalization, and the unexpected opening up of Eastern Europe, brought significant growth to international business and international commercial arbitration, which in constant travel he could influence in many countries. He became President of the Swiss Arbitration Association ASA, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a Vice President of the Stockholm Institute, a Vice President of the London Court of International Arbitration, a Court Member of the International Chamber of Commerce ICC in Paris, and was active in many parts of the world.
He chaired the Property Claims Commission of the German foundation, "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future". This three-person commission with its seat in Geneva decided from 2002 to 2005 35,000 claims of Eastern European victims of Nazi confiscations. He gladly put his practical experience at the disposal of younger colleagues, particularly in 2014 in a book with 1001 Questions and Answers. In 2017 he received a liber amicorum, "The Powers and Duties of an Arbitrator".