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Netherlands > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Legal market overview

Despite a general election in March 2017 that sent national media outlets into overdrive and made headlines throughout the world, it has been largely business as usual for Dutch law firms. Brexit has made northern European countries more attractive destinations for investment and incorporations, and the Dutch are benefiting accordingly. Corporate and finance work is not just more plentiful – it is also more complex, with convertibles and exchangeables increasingly seen in capital markets. In the venture capital space, fintech is prominent.

The other main development is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is enforceable from May 2018 and has led to a flurry of regulatory work not only in IT, but in areas such as IP and employment.

Real estate and infrastructure projects continue to boom: foreign investment remains high, and the continued liquidity of Dutch and German banks has been a boon for constructors and developers. Offshore wind and biomass are seeing much state and private support, and corporations – especially in the technology sector – are beginning to engage in power purchase agreements independently of utilities.

While banks and other traditional lenders have historically been more prominent in the banking and finance space, firms have seen borrowers increasing their leverage, thanks in part to competition from US, British and Asian funds; particularly strong borrowers are now drafting documentation themselves.

As regards dispute resolution, the establishment of the Netherlands Commercial Court on 1 January 2018 will allow international parties to litigate in English under Dutch law. In the competition arena, the implementation of the EU Damages Directive in Dutch legislation in early 2017 has resulted in an increase in class actions and damages litigation.

The largest Dutch firms in the market are De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Loyens & Loeff, NautaDutilh and Stibbe; Houthoff and Van Doorne are also key players. Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn NV is known for being chief legal adviser to the Dutch state across all practice areas, though it acts for private corporations too.

The legal market is competitive: although IT, IP and employment have traditionally been fertile sectors for boutiques, other areas such as construction and project finance are seeing firms such as HabrakenRutten rapidly making a name for themselves.

At an institutional level, the main change in the market was Boekel merging with Dentons to create Dentons Boekel.

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