A new column is on its way. Aradhna Sethi interviews the lawyer who will handle your legal queries and more. Watch this space!

One of the main challenges about being in Switzerland is to be able to accurately understand the laws and legal requirements of how, sometimes, even the simplest of things work around here. It can be a daunting process to unlearn what you did back home and learn the basics of routine life – such as renting legalities to finding yourself paying huge fines because you didn’t dispose of your garbage properly in your new home country. This and much more – and in a different language!

Isabelle Thouvenin, who grew up and studied law in Zurich, comes to the rescue.

So before we launch our new column Legal Eagle, here’s a brief interview with the lady lawyer herself.

NS: When did you study law and from where?

Isabelle Thouvenin: I studied law at the University of Zurich from November 1999 until December 2004. In addition, I completed an LL.M. in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution at the University of Hong Kong from September 2016 until August 2017. My motivation to study law was the need for justice and the desire to know how everything is regulated in order to deal with the rules properly.

Once, a friend of mine had issues with a stolen car; another friend was constantly arguing with her dad for payment of her alimonies. Perceived injustices of that kindled me to want to be someone who doesn’t watch the game but is actually able to change it.

After working at the district court of Zurich at the departments for Divorce- and Inheritance Law and Employment Law, I took the bar exam and was admitted to the bar in May 2007. Since then, I have worked for different law firms focusing on Employment Law, Inheritance Law, Real Estate Law and Family Law, providing legal advice and acting as counsel before courts for Swiss and international commercial and private clients.

NS: Why did you decide to choose an expat-related practice?

Isabelle Thouvenin: In summer 2015, my husband and I took the opportunity to fulfil our long-cherished dream of a stay abroad. We left our apartment, deregistered with the local authorities and left Switzerland with our two children to live in Hong Kong.

During this three-year stay, I got to know the life of an ex-pat first-hand. On the one hand, there was this excitement of the new and different world, opportunities, great experiences and adventures and a community that brings you close to people you would never have got to know back home. On the other hand, there were the problems of finding one’s way around, the not-so-exciting but annoying differences, the hustle and effort required to be put in until everything was organised, the ups and downs and the much-missed family and friends.

This experience has been close to my heart. And it is this real-life experience which led me to the idea to write this column for Namaste Switzerland and provide legal advice to ex-pats in Switzerland on expat-related matters.

NS: So what can we expect to read in our Legal Eagle column?

Isabelle Thouvenin: This column intends to give an overview on certain topics that might be of interest to the ex-pat community in Switzerland, such as the legal requirements when hiring domestic help or nanny, traps when buying a house, what to bear in mind when drafting a will and questions relating residence and work permits to name a few.

I have always enjoyed working with international clients and would be very happy to support the community in any of the topics so feel free to ask your questions.

Stay tuned to the upcoming Legal Eagle section in Namaste Switzerland. And send in your questions related to legal matters to team@namasteswitzerland.ch. We look forward to queries from our readers as we welcome legal columnist Isabelle Thouvenin.

Up next: We will launch Legal Eagle with a two-part article on hiring domestic help in Switzerland.

Disclaimer: Written in good faith, we do not undertake any financial/reputational impact or other obligations/liabilities that may arise from the content.