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Belgium > Competition > EU and global > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Competition: EU and global
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Simon Baxter - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
    • Jean-François Bellis - Van Bael & Bellis
    • John Boyce - Slaughter and May
    • John Davies - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Jacques Derenne - Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
    • Nicholas Levy - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
    • Frank Montag - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Tony Reeves - Clifford Chance
    • Gerwin van Gerven - Linklaters
    • Thomas Vinje - Clifford Chance
    • Sven Völcker - Latham & Watkins LLP
    • Antoine Winckler - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Rafique Bachour - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Stéphane Dionnet - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
    • Jordan Ellison - Slaughter and May
    • Alfonso Lamadrid - Garrigues
    • François-Charles Laprévote - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
    • Anna Lyle-Smythe - Slaughter and May
    • Annamaria Mangiaracina - Linklaters
    • Sascha Schubert - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Falk Schöning - Hogan Lovells International LLP
    • Johan Van Acker - Van Bael & Bellis
    • Melissa Van Schoorisse - Covington & Burling LLP
    • Philipp Werner - Jones Day

Who Represents Who

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True specialistCleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is ‘a top choice for the most complex cases’ and ‘there are few other firms as well versed in all the niche areas of competition law’. Nicholas Levy is ‘a leader in his field’; he acted for Abbott Laboratories on its $25bn acquisition of St. Jude Medical. On the behavioural side, Robbert Snelders and Christopher Cook, together with the firm’s Cologne office, are representing numerous automotive parts suppliers in ongoing global cartel investigations. Other notable figures include Antoine Winckler (‘extremely broad experience in the area’); Maurits Dolmans (‘an absolute guru on the interface between IP and antitrust’); Thomas Graf; and François-Charles Laprévote. Wolfgang Deselaers joined from Linklaters in 2017, while Richard Pepper made counsel in 2018. Other clients include Allergan, Google and Dow Chemical Company.

The ‘first-tier team’ at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is ‘a clear leader in competition law’, due to its ‘remarkable expertise and knowledge’. On the merger review side, prominent sector specialist John Davies teamed up with global competition and antitrust head Thomas Janssens and ‘strategic and communicative’ Brussels antitrust lead Andreas von Bonin to assist AB InBev with its global $106bn acquisition of SABMiller. Among its investigations work, Rafique Bachour represented NEC Corporation in the EC’s investigation into electrolytic capacitors. The ‘excellent’ Frank Montag and ‘rising star’ Sascha Schubert are also names to note. David Broomhall retired.

Allen & Overy LLP’s team of ‘agile and responsive lawyers’ have ‘deep sectoral expertise combined with the highest technical standards’. Group head Dirk Arts is ‘extremely strong’; he represented Scania in the EC’s investigation into a cartel in the trucks industry. Jürgen Schindler, who provides ‘concise and pragmatic’ advice, is representing Google in the EC’s Android investigation. Antonio Bavasso splits his time between London and Brussels and has ‘exceptional strategic insight’. The group also has a strong reputation for merger control and state aid matters.

Practical and knowledgeable’, Baker & McKenzie CVBA/SCRL’s team receives rave reviews for its ‘hands-on and pragmatic service’, its ‘incredible network of connections’ and its ‘consistent investment in client relationships’. The team’s ‘broad competition expertise’ is also a significant draw, and it has strong experience in merger review, investigations, state aid and contentious work. Bill Batchelor, who is ‘responsive and commercial’, successfully represented Dyson in high-profile litigation arguing EU vacuum cleaner test standards illegally favoured its competitors. Group head Fiona Carlin (‘fiercely intelligent and works well with both lawyers and business leaders’); Kurt Haegeman (‘extremely good’); Gavin Bushell; and Werner Berg are all highly regarded.

The ‘superb lawyers and business partners’ at Clifford Chance score highly for their ‘deep understanding of the related business, legal, political and economic context’. Global antitrust head Thomas Vinje has ‘an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law and authorities’ and, together with ‘committed and professional expert’ Dieter Paemen, is representing FairSearch Europe in the EC’s Google Android and online search investigations. Brussels competition lead Tony Reeves is ‘one of the most experienced European antitrust experts around’; he assisted General Electric with its acquisition of Baker Hughes. Anastasios Tomtsis, who made partner in 2017, is ‘remarkably sensitive to business particularities and shapes legal strategy accordingly’.

At Gibson Dunn, group head Peter Alexiadis, alongside David Wood, represented UBS in cartel investigations and related litigation. The group also draws upon the expertise of counsel Lena Sandberg, who is a specialist in state aid and public procurement law. In 2017, of counsel Takeshige Sugimoto, who is ‘very dedicated’, joined from WilmerHale. Andrés Font Galarza is now with the EU Commission.

Clients ‘strongly recommendHogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘very focused and attentive’ team. Group head Christopher Thomas is ‘a safe pair of hands’ and is representing HTC and Vodafone in IP-related antitrust litigation. Brussels managing partner Matthew Levitt, who has ‘a better understanding of commercial needs than other lawyers’, advised Maersk on the EC’s investigation into the container shipping sector. The group also has a strong background in merger clearance. Ciara Kennedy-Loest, Falk Schöning and Salomé Cisnal de Ugarte, who recently joined from Crowell & Moring, are also key names.

Jones Day’s international network is ‘second-to-none’ and it impresses with its ‘great ability to combine its Washington DC and Brussels expertise for transatlantic matters’. Brussels head and ‘statesman of competition lawBernard Amory is representing Deutsche Telekom in two complex cases, including defending the telecoms giant in an EC antitrust investigation. Yvan Desmedt is ‘very skilled in managing complex multinational transactions’ and the team also benefits from the expertise of competition lead Alexandre Verheyden, who has strong experience in transatlantic merger reviews and cartel investigations, and younger partner Philipp Werner.

Superior in all factors’, Latham & Watkins LLP distinguishes itself through its lawyers’ ability to ‘frame complex concepts in the simplest terms’. Global department co-chair Sven Völcker is a high-profile figure; he assisted Lufthansa in clearing its ‘wet lease’ arrangement with Air Berlin. Lars Kjølbye is ‘a world class competition lawyer, with deep agency and private practice experience’ and, alongside Luca Crocco, assisted Microsoft with its $26.2bn acquisition of LinkedIn. State aid expert Elisabetta Righini and Javier Ruiz Calzado are also recommended.

Linklaters’ ‘high-quality advice’ and ‘excellent industry knowledge’ ensures a steady stream of headline antitrust instructions relating to the full spread of investigations, merger reviews, litigation and state aid matters. In 2017, ‘giant in the area’ Gerwin Van Gerven assisted Celesio with its acquisition of the Belgian distribution business of Welcoop. Global practice head Jonas Koponen, who ‘remains calm under pressure’, advised NKT Cables on its acquisition of ABB’s high-voltage cables and accessories businesses. Counsel Nikolaos Peristerakis (‘very client friendly’) and Annamaria Mangiaracina are also key names. Wolfgang Deselaers joined Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.

Traditionally better known for its prolific merger review practice, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP also excels in investigations. As a case in point, the ‘flexible and responsive’ Ingrid Vandenborre represented Eco-Bat Technologies in the EC’s investigation into the car battery recycling industry. On the merger side, Frederic Depoortere advised DuPont on its $130m combination with Dow Chemical Company. Simon Baxter heads ‘a globally strong’ department that also includes counsel Stéphane Dionnet.

Among Slaughter and May’s key attributes, are its ‘unmatched depth of knowledge’ and ‘quick responses to complex issues’. ‘Market leader’ John Boyce is a recognised authority in the area and advised FMC on the acquisition of DuPont’s crop protection business. On the contentious side, Anna Lyle-Smythe is advising British Airways on litigation connected to the global air cargo cartel investigations. Other names to note are group head Philippe Chappatte and the ‘very responsive, pragmatic and commercial’ Jordan Ellison.

Van Bael & Bellis’s ‘deep knowledge of the law’ and ‘accurate business understanding’ ensures ‘strong business-oriented advice’. Jean-François Bellis is ‘already a legend in competition law’ and oversees a large and experienced team that also includes Kris Van Hove (‘responsive, thoughtful, and efficient’); Markus Wellinger (‘anticipates all possible developments’); Johan Van Acker (‘provides spot-on advice and guidance’); David Hull; and Andrzej Kmiecik. Highlights included representing Euroclear in its challenge to the – ultimately blocked – Deutsche Börse and London Stock Exchange merger. Behavioural work is also a key pillar of the practice.

Focused, prompt and highly professional’, White & Case LLP has a diverse competition practice that is particularly adept in the energy, technology, telecoms and pharmaceuticals sectors. In a recent example, James Killick advised Supercell on Tencent Holdings’ $8.6bn acquisition of a majority stake in the company. Kai Struckmann and counsel Genevra Forwood stand out for their ‘close case involvement and in-depth knowledge of EU law’. Mark Powell, Assimakis Komninos and ‘impressive partner’ Jacquelyn MacLennan are also recommended.

Arnold & Porter has a broad practice, with strong skill sets in merger clearance, antitrust and state aid matters. On the transactional side, Niels Ersbøll advised Boston Scientific on its $435m acquisition of Symetis. The group also includes Luc Gyselen and Marleen Van Kerckhove.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides ‘high-quality advice on mergers and antitrust’. Kyriakos Fountoukakos, who is ‘a safe pair of hands that always steers the ship to port smoothly’, advised Time Warner on its $85bn acquisition by AT&T. Team head Craig Pouncey and ‘insightful’ state aid specialist Lode Van Den Hende are also key names. In 2017 Eric White, formerly a legal advisor at the EC, joined as consultant.

The ‘cost- and time-efficient’ group at Mayer Brown has ‘in-depth knowledge of EU law and industry, complemented by technical ability’. Julian Ellison ‘delivers results on the most complex and innovative work’ and advised P&O European Ferries on the merger review aspects of the sale of MyFerrylink to Eurotunnel. Office head Jens Peter Schmidt is also highly regarded and handles merger reviews, cartel cases, compliance programmes and state aid issues.

Shearman & Sterling LLP is well versed in complex behavioural and transactional matters under the leadership of Brussels managing partner Matthew Readings. Elvira Aliende Rodriguez was recently promoted to partner – she is advising Cargolux Airlines on the EC’s re-adopted decision in the airfreight investigation. Geert Goeteyn is also highly active in the area. In May 2017, Stephen Mavroghenis and Miguel Rato joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.

At Ashurst LLP, Denis Fosselard heads a team with a prominent record in competition litigation; it also handles transactional matters. Recent high-profile work includes Denis Waelbroeck representing the Luxembourg government in cases concerning alleged state aid regarding certain tax rulings. Alexandre Vandencasteele and Annick Vroninks are also senior names.

Baker Botts L.L.P. leverages its superlative reputation for oil and gas to advise a raft of names in that sector, and it also excels in TMT-related mandates; clients include EthosEnergy, Halliburton and Starz Entertainment. Office head Catriona Hatton and Paul Lugard assisted Liberty Media with clearing its $8bn acquisition of Formula One. Georg Berrisch is ‘an effective litigator’.

Very experienced and practical’, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s team is ‘knowledgeable about the law and the workings of the competition authorities’. Group head David Anderson is ‘an excellent strategist’; he advised the estate of Michael Jackson on the $750m sale of its interest in the Sony/ATV joint venture to Sony Music.

Bird & Bird’s ‘business-savvy and efficient’ group includes José Rivas (‘great knowledge and experience’); Anne Federle (‘practical and solution-oriented’); Scott McInnes (‘encyclopaedic knowledge of European regulation’); and Hein Hobbelen, who recently joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The firm is representing Rubycon in EC cartel proceedings concerning electrolytic capacitors. It also has considerable expertise in merger control, state aid and public procurement matters.

Lawyers at contrast are ‘always focused on the subject at hand’ and deliver ‘swift and accurate work’. The ‘pragmaticFilip Tuytschaever and associate Karolien Francken successfully defended Panini in an IP-related abuse of dominance complaint. Contentious work is a sweet spot and litigator Frank Wijckmans is highly regarded.

Crowell & Moring is commended for its ‘strong business knowledge’ and for ‘proactively keeping clients apprised of developments in EU law’. The firm’s strong reputation for TMT and life sciences matters translates into a steady stream of competition mandates. In a recent example, department lead Thomas De Meese paired up with the ‘creative and strategicSean-Paul Brankin to advise Telenet on its €400m acquisition of Coditel Brabant.

Responsive and pragmatic’, DLA Piper equips clients with the tools to ‘make informed decisions and implement business objectives’. Group head Bertold Bär-Bouyssière has ‘a wealth of experience’ and represented Merck & Co in the EC investigation into reverse patent settlements; he also has strong expertise in merger review and state aid cases. Daniel Colgan is another key name in a team that also acts for Bayer, Campine Recycling and Duracell.

In 2017, Dechert LLP hired a ‘deeply knowledgeable and well-connected’ six-lawyer team from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, which included senior figure Alec Burnside, who is ‘a seasoned campaigner and client pleaser whose experience is hard to beat’, and respected partner Anne MacGregor, who has ‘deep understanding of the practical, process-driven aspects of competition reviews’. The team is representing Aer Lingus in appeal proceedings against the EC’s air travel tax decision. It also handles merger reviews, cartel investigations and abuse of dominance cases.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I’s team strikes the right note with its ‘good bench’ of lawyers. Benoît Le Bret has ‘a very good understanding of how the EU machinery operates’ and is representing Engie in the EC’s investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of GDF Suez (now Engie). Stéphane Hautbourg and

Laurent Godfroid are also key contacts in a team that acts on the full spread of competition and antitrust issues.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘knowledgeable, efficient and pragmatic’ group is led by Martin Coleman, who splits his time between London and Brussels. It also includes Jay Modrall, whose ‘calm demeanour is invaluable in emotive negotiations’, and Christian Filippitsch, who has ‘outstanding legal know-how’. The group has strength in transactional and behavioural issues and recently represented HSBC in the EC’s investigation into alleged manipulation of the Euribor rate.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP has a prominent merger clearance practice and it is also routinely engaged in cartel and abuse of dominance cases. Riccardo Celli chairs a department that includes Brussels managing partner Christian Riis-Madsen. Advanced Micro Devices, Honeywell and Samsung Electronics are clients.

Among Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s recent cases, practice head Jacques Derenne advised Samsung as a third party on the EC’s review of

the Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors merger. Isabelle Rahman advised Pimco as a third party on the Deutsche Börse and London Stock Exchange merger. The team also acts on behavioural matters.

Clients of Squire Patton Boggs value its ‘personalised service’ and ‘quick and practical advice’. Brussels managing partner Brian Hartnett is ‘practical and deeply knowledgeable’ and, together with the ‘sharp and communicativeOliver Geiss and newly promoted ‘commercial expert’ Will Sparks, acted for Latam Airlines in a second EC investigation into the aviation sector. In 2016, Francesco Liberatore joined from Jones Day.

The team at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, which provides ‘prompt, knowledgeable and accurate’ advice, includes the ‘reliable and succinct’ Yves Botteman and ‘recognised expert’ Jean-Nicolas Maillard. Cartel investigations and complex litigation are notable areas of focus and the Brussels team is acting alongside the London office to defend LG Chem in follow-on litigation against Microsoft arising from an EC investigation into price fixing in the lithium ion batteries market.

Stibbe’s ‘very responsive and pragmatic group’ is led by Hendrik Viaene and also benefits from the expertise of litigator Peter Wytinck, who has ‘broad experience and knowledge in competition law’. Recent work includes advising Soudal, Esko and Punch Powertrain in a state aid case concerning the Belgian ‘excess profit’ tax scheme.

Efficient and rigorous’, WilmerHale advised Baker Hughes on its combination with General Electric’s oil and gas business; John Ratliff led the EU side of the merger review. Christian Duvernoy, Claus-Dieter Ehlermann and the ‘very resourceful’ Frédéric Louis are also recommended.

Technology and life sciences heavyweight Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati handles a varied mix of merger reviews, cartel investigations, abuse of dominance cases and state aid-related matters for clients such as Dell, Hitachi Chemical and Spotify. Paul McGeown is a key contact. Michael Rosenthal joined Sullivan & Cromwell.

At Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, cartel defence expert Vincent Brophy leads a group that includes Brussels- and London-based special counsel Tom Bainbridge. Deutsche Bank and MasterCard are representative clients. In 2017, a six-lawyer team, which included former group head Alec Burnside, joined Dechert LLP.

Dentons boosted its team with the hire of James Venit, who was antitrust co-head at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP prior to his retirement. Brussels managing partner Edward Borovikov is ‘an expert in his field’ and the group also includes Jörg Karenfort, who has strong expertise in transactional and behavioural matters, and Bogdan Evtimov. Key clients include Gazprom, the Freight Transport Association and the Global Shippers Forum.

In a key highlight, Garrigues was selected among a group of firms to advise Google on the EC’s Android investigation; Luis Ortiz Blanco, José Luis Buendía and associate Alfonso Lamadrid are leading that work. The group also has strong experience in state aid cases and complex litigation.

Gleiss Lutz impresses with its ‘pragmatic approach’ and ‘precise and practical advice’, under the leadership of ‘brilliant competition lawyer’ Ulrich Soltész. The firm successfully represented the German state in quashing a state aid recovery order against Deutsche Post. Recently promoted partner Christian von Köckritz is also a key contact.

Among Hengeler Mueller’s recent highlights it assisted Linde with clearing its merger with Praxair. It also represented Calsonic Kansei in cartel proceedings concerning automotive thermal system products. Hans-Jörg Niemeyer led both cases.

On the merger review side, McDermott Will & Emery Belgium LLP’s Andrea Hamilton advised Evonik Industries on its $3.8bn acquisition of Air Products and Chemical’s performance materials unit. Jacques Buhart, who is well known for his litigation and investigations expertise, heads the department.

Class act’, Morrison & Foerster LLP combines ‘impressive legal skills with a willingness to get to grips with detailed facts’. Rony Gerrits, who provides ‘strong, strategic advice’, represented Panasonic in the secondary batteries cartel investigation. He also acted for SoftBank on its £24bn acquisition of Arm Holdings.

At V V G B Advocaten-Avocats, Marco Slotboom is the key contact in a practice that has deep experience across the full range of antitrust, merger control, state aid and public procurement matters. The team’s experience in acting for Dutch clients is a notable differentiator.

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