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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Belgium > Industry focus > IT and telecoms > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Industry focus: IT and telecoms
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Jos Dumortier - time.lex
    • Benoit Van Asbroeck - Bird & Bird
    • Filip Van Elsen - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Tanguy Van Overstraeten - Linklaters
    • Gerrit Vandendriessche - Altius

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Guillaume Couneson - Linklaters
    • Tom De Cordier - CMS
    • Peter Van Dyck - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Ivanka Zdravkova - DLA Piper

Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP provides ‘a very good service’ and is noted for its ‘quick and valuable responses’ and ‘top sectoral expertise’. Its Brussels and Antwerp team covers the full gamut of technology, media and telecoms (TMT) and sits within the firm’s global TMT practice. It has a strong emphasis on digital transformation, where its expertise takes in digital health, fintech and cybersecurity. Filip Van Elsen worked alongside colleagues in the US and UK to advise Computer Sciences Corporation on the IT and outsourcing aspects of the creation of global software and cloud computing vendor DXC Technology. Peter Van Dyck, ‘who engages really well with the client’, was promoted to partner in 2017.

Bird & Bird enjoys global recognition for its IT and telecoms experience. It has developed a strong data protection practice, which often handles cross-border matters; Benoit Van Asbroeck is a key contact in this field. In a recent highlight, Van Asbroeck, senior associate Julien Debussche and associate Jasmien César advised SAP on data protection, pseudonynimization and anonymisation techniques and IT-related issues concerning the client’s ‘enterprise threat detection’ product. Marc Martens assists TMT sector companies with public law questions and public procurement. Other clients include Proximus, Epson Europe and Jot Internet Media.

The ‘highly committed and professional’ team at DLA Piper acts for IT vendors and users, and national and international telecoms operators on large-scale projects and disputes. As part of its pro bono practice, the team also advises charities and international institutions on data protection, IP and technology. Practice head Kristof De Vulder is ‘an exceptional ICT leader in Belgium’; he and Raf Schoefs advised an IT provider on negotiating and drafting a new outsourcing agreement with the client’s largest customer. Patrick Van Eecke and Ivanka Zdravkova are also noted.

With a strong track record in the IT and telecoms sectors, Stibbe is well equipped to handle transactional, non-transactional advisory and litigation work. In close cooperation with the firm’s criminal law department, the team also advises on cybercrime and cyberattacks. Aside from its IT and telecoms clients, it also assists financial services and health companies with IT queries. The highly experienced Erik Valgaeren leads the team, which also draws on the experience of the firm’s public law, competition, corporate and tax partners. Nicolas Roland left for Younity in 2017.

The ICT team at Altius acts for hardware developers, software and app developers, cloud providers and other players in the IT sector, including start-ups and spin-offs. In the telecoms sector, a multi-disciplinary team recently acted for Altice on the sale of its cable network company to Telenet; corporate and M&A partner Jérôme Vermeylen led the advice. Gerrit Vandendriessche leads the practice, which was bolstered by the arrival of senior associate Jan Clinck from Simont Braun.

CMS’ team ‘has excellent knowledge in Belgian and EU telecom and data privacy matters’ and provides ‘pragmatic advice with the business perspective in mind’. The group has recently been acting for Proximus in appeals against various decisions of the telecoms regulator. Other clients include Facebook, Amazon Web Services and Swift. ‘Excellent’ practice head Tom De Cordier ‘provides comprehensive regulatory and business advice’. Dirk Van Liedekerke specialises in EU law and telecoms. Associates Anne-Michèle Goris and Adrien van den Branden are also recommended.

Crowell & Moring is ‘outstanding’ in the field of telecoms; the Brussels team forms part of the firm’s global TMT group, which counts over 140 lawyers across its offices. The highly regarded Thomas De Meese leads the practice in Belgium; he and associate Emmelie Wijckmans acted for Telenet in appeals against the Belgian regulators’ decisions concerning open access to cable networks in Brussels. Domain name specialist Flip Petillion left to establish Petillion in 2017.

The cross-departmental TMT practice at Fieldfisher counts leading technology and internet providers among its clients. It has been kept busy recently assisting clients in a variety of sectors with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) readiness projects. Privacy, data protection and cybersecurity expert Olivier Proust made partner in May 2017, creating a four-partner practice that also includes Tim Van Canneyt, Hakim Haouideg and IP specialist Stijn Debaene.

Linklaters’ TMT team is ‘able to assist in very difficult, long and complex IT contract negotiations’. It is also highly recommended in the field of privacy and data protection, where it has ‘a very practical and hands-on approach’. In addition to advising IT service providers and telecoms companies, it also assists financial, retail, pharmaceutical and energy companies on IT projects. The ‘very thorough and reliable’ Tanguy van Overstraeten is ‘a very good negotiator’ and ‘understands business constraints’. Guillaume Couneson was promoted to counsel in 2017.

A niche firm that has succeeded in obtaining a strong presence in the market’, time.lex consists of ‘smart and hands-on lawyers’ who are ‘very much up to speed on recent developments’. The group advises public entities and private companies on a range of technology projects and queries, and also has substantial expertise in the fintech sector; an area in which Edwin Jacobs is highly recommended. Jos Dumortier is ‘knowledgeable, accessible and trustworthy’, and Geert Somers and Frederic Debusseré are ‘experts in their field’.

The ‘responsive, flexible and proactive’ team at Verhaegen Walravens is led by Emmanuel Szafran. Much of the department’s work centres on technology contracts, privacy, data protection and M&A in the TMT sector. Florian De Rouck has particular knowledge in open-source licensing issues and GDPR. In a recent highlight, the team advised SweepBright on software-as-a-service agreements and privacy law compliance in a multi-jurisdictional context.

The ‘very responsive’ team at Astrea has developed a significant practice advising on online and real-world gaming and gambling; beyond this niche, it has a broad ICT practice that spans commercial, regulatory and tax advice and litigation. Steven De Schrijver and senior associate Barbara Terriere are noted.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL’s TMT practice is headed by Daniel Fesler and specialises in EU regulatory work. E-commerce and fintech are particular areas of expertise. Elisabeth Dehareng is a key contact in the field of data protection and privacy.

Cresco Advocaten provides ‘an excellent service’ and ‘knows the trends before they hit the market’. It is well known for its start-up practice and also advises venture capital funds and well-established companies. In recent work, David Dessers advised an Antwerp-based start-up on the licensing of its technology to a distributor in Asia. Pieter Capiau is also noted.

Jones Day has a well-established European regulatory practice in the telecoms space and its office network allows it to handle complex domestic and cross-border work. It also has a strong offering in cybersecurity, data protection and privacy, a practice in which counsel Jörg Hladjk plays a significant role. Alexandre Verheyden leads the team, which also includes antitrust expert Bernard Amory.

The ‘very service-minded team’ at Loyens & Loeff is ‘easy to work with’; it draws on the expertise of the firm’s corporate, tax, employment and litigation partners to provide a broad service to IT and telecoms companies. In litigation, Yves Van Couter and ‘rising star’ and associate Stéphanie De Smedt defended Danish printing company Ecco Print in commercial litigation brought by a Belgian software company.

Reliable firmLydianprovides accurate and to the point responses’. Domestic and international companies turn to the ICT team for a range of corporate and commercial advice and transactional support. Practice head Bastiaan Bruyndonckx, the ‘professional and responsiveAnnick Mottet Haugaard and senior associate Olivia Santantonio are noted.

McGuireWoods LLP provides ‘sensible, pragmatic advice’ and is highly regarded for data protection, data transfers and intra-group agreements and cloud agreements. For clients with operations in Europe and North America, the firm’s ‘roots in the US and base in Brussels may be considered as a strong asset’. Paul Van den Bulck, Raphaël Krowicki and Morgane Poppe are the key contacts.

Established in 2017 by former Crowell & Moring partner Flip Petillion, Petillion has an impressive TMT practice, with a particular niche in top-level domains (TLD). Its areas of expertise in the IT space include e-commerce, cloud computing, 4G technology and social networking. Petillion also has a strong track record in the telecoms sector. Jan Janssen and Diego Noesen are also active members of the team.

Ambos NBGO Advocaten has an active IT practice and acts for hardware, software, biotech and medical devices companies (including start-ups). In addition to its corporate, commercial and litigation work, the team also handles antitrust issues at the interface of technology, IP and competition law. Kathleen Paisley and Bart Vandereeckt are the names to note.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has substantial cross-border capabilities thanks to its extensive firm network. The majority of its work in the TMT space relates to competition; it represents clients in cartel investigations, abuse of dominance investigations and also handles merger notifications. Robbert Snelders is a key contact.

Jan Decorte heads the practice at Koan Law Firm, which is proficient in data protection, e-commerce, licensing, software and media-related contracts. Agnès Maqua is a contact for digital advertising queries.

At Monard Law, Ben Hermans has an impressive practice that takes in dispute resolution, IP and ICT. Kristof Zadora is another contact; he recently advised Newtec on the provision of hardware services to Avanti Communications for its ‘every community online’ programme. Associate Frederik Ringoot is well versed in privacy and data protection.

IP and IT specialist Philippe Péters heads the practice at NautaDutilh; in recent work, he advised a Belgian company on a new software distribution agreement.

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