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Legal market overview
The Netherlands is in a relatively stable position compared to other advanced economies, with a strong export position and friendly tax regime. The eurozone crisis and the EU were issues dominating the 2012 national elections, the results of which reflected a need for a stable, moderate government.
The saturated Dutch legal market continues to see new niche firms and international law firms enter the market. Jones Day announced it will launch an Amsterdam office in 2013. Foreign players such as Allen & Overy LLP and Clifford Chance already compete for market share with local firms such as De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, NautaDutilh, Stibbe and Houthoff Buruma. Buren van Velzen Guelen N.V. was renamed Buren in March 2013.
The Netherlands is increasingly becoming a key European venue for US-style class actions. Meanwhile, the government has made proposals for a new Dutch Arbitration Act in 2014, with the reform aiming to make international arbitration proceedings in the Netherlands more attractive to foreign parties. Employment legislation is also facing amendments, with a proposal to simplify the law to allow employers to dismiss employees without a judicial review.
The Dutch housing market, which is one of the most highly regulated systems in the world, suffered a significant downturn but firms were kept busy with restructuring and distressed portfolio work. Vestia, the Netherlands’ biggest housing association, dominated headlines when it had to be rescued after losing €20bn in a derivatives deal – this also signalled the need for improved corporate governance.