Belgium > Labour and employment
Index of tables
Labour and employment
- Vincent Busschaert – Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick
Pieter De Koster –
Allen & Overy LLP
- Chris Engels – Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris
- François Gabriel – Baker & McKenzie
- Jan Hofkens – Lydian
- Stefan Nerinckx – Field Fisher Waterhouse
Willy van Eeckhoutte –
Van Eeckhoutte, Taquet & Clesse
- Alexander Vandenbergen – Lydian
- Chris Van Olmen – Van Olmen & Wynant
- Christian Willems – Loyens & Loeff
‘Clearly in a league of its own’, Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris is a market-leading labour and employment law boutique with a sizeable team working from six offices across Belgium. Chris Engels has advised the European Union on matters such as the European Works Council and evolution of labour law and has also advised the International Labour Organisation. Olivier Debray is also recommended.
‘Excellent firm’ Allen & Overy LLP’s employment lawyers have ‘a very professional attitude’ and ‘in-depth knowledge and expertise’. Practice head Pieter De Koster is highly experienced in both contentious and advisory work. The firm has attracted a steady flow of restructuring work, and Christian Bayart advised Colgate-Palmolive on the restructuring of its Belgian operations including collective dismissal. Counsel Inge Vanderreken ‘always brings added value’.
Baker & McKenzie’s ‘terrific’ team is ‘timely, knowledgeable and practical’. The ‘experienced’ François Gabriel heads the practice, and recently advised a leading pharmaceuticals company on Belgian labour law issues. Nancy Luyten is recommended for her ‘responsiveness’ and the ‘substance of the advice’. Jozef Slootmans is also recommended.
Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick’s large practice has ‘expert knowledge of the law and industry’, and is praised for its ‘fast response times’. It advised a state-owned investment company on the nationalisation of a major bank, including all employment law issues, such as the transfer of 323 employees. Paul Geerebaert is ‘customer-focused, passionate and pragmatic’, and has ‘broad expertise’. Vincent Busschaert heads the practice.
Linklaters is recommended for advice on employment issues pertaining to large corporate transactions as well as general advisory, litigation and pensions issues. Practice head Luc Vanaverbeke led the team’s advice to Sanofi-Aventis on collective dismissal matters following its European restructuring. Counsel Elke Duden advised Alcatel-Lucent on the establishment of a pan-European pension scheme.
Loyens & Loeff’s ‘responsive and pragmatic’ team, led by Christian Willems, covers the area comprehensively and includes a number of specialists. The ‘dedicated’ Filip Saelens has a particular focus on company restructuring, executive compensation and employment-related aspects of corporate transactions. Of counsel Lut Sommerijns has ‘a high level of knowledge’, senior associate Kris De Schutter is ‘very customer focused’ and provides ‘a high degree of personal involvement’, and senior associate Marga Caproni has ‘deep, specialised knowledge and experience’.
Lydian’s three-partner team is well regarded. Practice head Jan Hofkens focuses on restructuring and advising executives. Isabel Plets, who was promoted to counsel in January 2012, has particular expertise in the public sector. Alexander Vandenbergen led the team in assisting the Joint Labour Committee of the Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Industry in Belgium with establishing an industry-wide pension scheme. Stijn Demeestere specialises in incentives and discrimination.
Boutique firm Van Eeckhoutte, Taquet & Clesse specialises in employment labour and security law and includes tax and business law experts within its sizeable team, which has nine partners working across the Brussels, Liège and Ghent offices. This comprehensive practice is particularly well regarded for its capabilities in contentious matters.
The ‘fantastic’ team at Altius (in co-operation with Tiberghien) provides ‘top-notch’ advice and is ‘great value for money’. Sylvie Dubois heads the department, which handles all aspects of employment law. Sven Demeulemeester’s approach is ‘the perfect balance between legal insight and business acumen’. ‘Impeccable’ lawyer Philippe De Wulf, who is ‘to-the-point and pragmatic’, joined the firm from Taylor Wessing along with senior associate Stefaan Diels in October 2011.
CMS shows ‘deep and global knowledge’ of human resources and is praised for its responsiveness and flexibility. ‘Expert in the field’ Michaël De Leersnyder advised AMP on business reorganisation, including the collective dismissal of more than 10% of its employees and negotiations with the authorities to obtain authorisation to lower the early retirement age. Senior associate Gaël Chuffart is ‘professional, reliable and pragmatic’.
Clifford Chance’s team, led by Xavier Remy, provides ‘top service’ to a broad client base. Key clients include Nokia Belgium, which the team assisted with the restructuring of its Belgian operations, involving a headcount reduction of more than 75%. The firm also represented Nokia before a Belgian employment tribunal in a serious employee fraud case. Senior associate Gert Cuppens is recommended for his ‘technical knowledge and common sense’.
DLA Piper has ‘deep, practical knowledge’, and gives ‘clear, accurate’ advice. Practice head Eddy Lievens is ‘excellent in negotiations’. Damien Stas de Richelle, who is ‘knowledgeable, focused and reliable’, frequently advises on the employment aspects of M&A deals.
The ‘pragmatic and client-oriented’ Stefan Nerinckx is the key figure in Field Fisher Waterhouse’s team. Former department co-head Olivier Rijckaert left the firm to launch a new employment and pension law boutique.
Laga’s ‘strong’ team, which gives ‘clear advice’, recruited new practice head Renaat Van den Eeckhaut from Deloitte in October 2012. The firm has been reappointed by the City of Antwerp as the preferred law firm for all employment law matters. The ‘practical and business-oriented’ Nicolaas Vermandel and the ‘hardworking, intelligent and detailed’ Karin Rasschaert are recommended.
NautaDutilh provides ‘excellent’ service and advises on both individual and collective labour law issues. The team advises its growing client base on employment aspects of transactions and restructurings, and also handles litigation. Practice head Philippe François has an ‘an excellent customer focus’. ‘Very thorough’ senior associate Tamar Van Colenberghe is also recommended.
Niche firm Reliance Advocaten advises on employment and tax law. Its lawyers have ‘a very thorough knowledge of Belgian labour law combined with a good pragmatic approach’. Edward Carlier is ‘one of the best employment lawyers in Belgium’, and Koen de Bisschop has ‘excellent knowledge’.
Stibbe has ‘a good depth of labour law knowledge’ and provides ‘innovative and creative solutions’. The ‘pragmatic’ Herman Craeninckx heads this comprehensive practice, which supports other departments and attracts standalone mandates. Newly promoted partner Jerome Aubertin provides ‘intelligent’ advice and is one to watch. Jean-Philippe Cordier and Corinne Merla left to form an employment boutique.
Van Olmen & Wynant specialises in employment and corporate law and provides ‘very good quality and expertise’. Managing partner Chris Van Olmen heads the practice, which was strengthened by the addition of Filip Corveleyn from Allen & Overy LLP in April 2012. Senior associate Marian Dewaersegger is also recommended. Clients include Belgacom, Unilever and Bpost.
The ‘excellent’ Ambos NBGO mainly advises corporate clients on employment matters. The ‘friendly and knowledgeable’ Carl Bevernage and Johan Kerremans are recommended. Clients include Expedia, Pfizer and Clear2Pay, the latter of which the firm represented in a dismissal case before the Labour Court.
Crowell & Moring’s labour and employment practice is built around the ‘service-oriented’ Emmanuel Plasschaert, who provides ‘excellent, timely, well-reasoned advice’. The firm covers a range of labour law issues and has recently handled a number of complex restructurings and collective labour law disputes.
De Wolf & Partners is ‘a pragmatic and commercially adept firm’, which assisted Mutares AG, an industrial holding company, with the restructuring of its Belgian businesses. Employment law expert Thierry Viérin is ‘excellent’.
Eubelius’ employment practice is centred on Véronique Pertry, who regularly represents clients in disputes before the Labour Court. Pertry also advised Holcim during its restructuring, including the closure of an entity, and advice on related employment matters.
Eversheds’ employment group is led by the highly experienced Stefan Corbanie, who also heads the firm’s international HR team. Corbanie has a focus on advising employees’ representatives in collective bargaining and industrial action. Associate Sylvie Cousin is also recommended.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advises on employment issues arising from international business and share transfers, reorganisations and outsourcing projects. Key partner Axel Haelterman is assisted by senior associate Satya Staes Polet.
The key figure in Jones Day’s employment team is of counsel Chantal Biernaux, who has been appointed as deputy judge in the Brussels Labour Court. The practice spans corporate restructuring, collective bargaining, and other collective or individual labour matters and litigation. Recent work includes advising Transdigm Group Inc and its local Belgian subsidiary, Technical Airborne Components, in negotiations with trade unions, collective and individual labour matters, litigation and daily HR management.
Lorenz provides ‘outstanding, highly client-centric’ service and gives ‘meticulous advice’. Bertold Theeuwes combines ‘extensive knowledge with excellent strategic skills’. Claudia Allatta joined from Allen & Overy LLP. The firm also has a niche sports practice led by Sébastien Ledure.
Marx, Van Ranst, Vermeersch & Partners covers individual and collective labour law issues and has particular expertise in relocating companies’ foreign executives to Belgium and other EU countries. Practice head Bruno Blanpain specialises in restructuring, equality and diversity.
Monard – D'Hulst gives ‘high-quality advice’ on labour and employment matters to public sector and corporate clients as well as senior executives, with recent work including advice on major restructuring matters. Piet Carlier is recommended.