Josef Caleff


Schellenberg Wittmer
Löwenstrasse 19
8021 Zurich

Tel: +41 44 215 5252
Fax: +41 44 215 5200


Josef Caleff heads Schellenberg Wittmer’s real estate group in Zurich. He is also a member of the firm’s management committee. Josef is also a partner in the construction group as well as the corporate/mergers and acquisitions group. Josef advises clients in all types of corporate and M&A transactions, and has specialised expertise in real estate transactions, including the drafting and negotiation of property contracts, such as acquisition and finance contracts and commercial leases.

In 2018, Josef Caleff was newly elected as a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Some recent examples of Josef’s expertise in construction and real estate include:

  • Counsel to Dolce & Gabbana in the negotiation of a long-term high-end lease agreement at a prime location on Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich;
  • Counsel to the Barana Group in the sale of an office building in Zurich for 128 million Swiss francs to the city of Zurich;
  • Counsel to SV Group AG in the conclusion of several long-term lease agreements for hotel projects in Germany and Switzerland involving complex negotiations with the property owners and the franchisor Global Hospitality Licensing Sarl.

Josef Caleff is highly recognised by leading directories and publications for his expertise in construction and real estate. Chambers and Partners say Josef “is recognised by peers for his expertise in the real estate field, notably in matters relating to construction contracts and commercial leases. He also advises on transactional matters and has lately assisted with mixed real estate and asset acquisitions.” Who’s Who Legal additionally praises Josef for his proficiency in real estate transactions.

Josef graduated from the University of St Gallen with a Master of Economics in 1996 and in law in 1999. He was admitted to the Swiss Bar in 2002 and completed a Master of Laws program (LLM) at the University of California Hastings in San Francisco in 2004. In 2006, he was admitted to the New York Bar. He became a certified specialist with the SBA in construction and real estate law in 2013. Before joining Schellenberg Wittmer in 2004, he worked as an associate in the corporate and M&A practice group at another major law firm in Zurich.

Schellenberg Wittmer’s Real Estate Group is one of the most specialized real estate practices in Switzerland. Its members boast an in-depth understanding of, and broad experience in, their respective specializations. The firm is therefore poised to provide clients with cutting-edge, yet comprehensive advice in all types of real estate matters in Switzerland in the real estate sector, even on short notice.

The Real Estate Group assists clients in performing the due diligence review and in drafting, negotiating, implementing and enforcing all types of real estate contracts. The team advise on real estate related matters such as construction, environmental law aspects, tax and administrative matters, special rights and encumbrances on properties, and real estate owner’s liability. The firm has extensive experience throughout the Swiss real estate sector in both the commercial and the residential property markets.

Schellenberg Wittmer is one of the leading Swiss business law firms. Over 150 lawyers in Zurich, Geneva and Singapore advise domestic and international clients on all aspects of business law.

The firm’s areas of expertise include: banking and finance, competition and antitrust, construction, dispute resolution and international arbitration, intellectual property/information technology, mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital, private clients and estates, real estate, restructuring and insolvency, taxation, white-collar crime and compliance.

Schellenberg Wittmer’s Singapore office covers key jurisdictions and markets in the Asia-Pacific region, assisting clients in both inbound and outbound investments as well as in international arbitration.

“Schellenberg Wittmer’s ‘hardworking team’, ‘has a very good reputation and excellent market knowledge’ in the real estate arena; areas of expertise include transactional advice, construction financing, contentious real estate matters as well as engineer, interior design and architect agreements and facility management issues.”
The Legal 500