A venue dispute in a malpractice case against global firm Baker McKenzie has put the structure of Swiss vereins in the spotlight, with many commentators highlighting the existence of unanswered questions about the liability of these entities when a member firm faces malpractice allegations.

Last week’s ruling from an Illinois appeals court defied Baker McKenzie’s request that a case levied by a former client should be relocated overseas where, as the firm stated, “witnesses and evidence reside.” The judges found the plaintiffs supported their allegations regarding the “legal unity of liability of defendants” sufficiently to allow the case to be heard in the state where the firm was founded in 1949.