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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 > Employment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Employment
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
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Leading individuals

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The ‘simply superbClaeys & Engels is ‘head and shoulders above the rest’. The firm’s exclusive focus on human resources law throughout its six offices translates into a comprehensive practice that acts on the full spread of employment issues, from compliance matters through to major restructurings. Chris Engels has ‘an encyclopaedic knowledge of employment law’ and is the key contact in a team that also includes Olivier Debray, Jan Van Gysegem and Ann Witters. Recent work includes advising a financial services client on the collective dismissal of 650 employees.

Allen & Overy LLP advises domestic and multinational clients on compliance matters, discrimination, restructurings, collective bargaining and employee benefits. Among its recent work, group head Christian Bayart advised Umicore on the employment aspects of the sale of its building products activities to Fedrus International. Inge Vanderreken is also a key contact.

Responsive, knowledgeable and practical’, Baker & McKenzie CVBA/SCRL’s team has ‘a strong understanding of business needs’. Practice head François Gabriel advised on several collective dismissal programmes. The group also handles outsourcing, transactional support matters and collective bargaining. Nancy Luyten, Jozef Slootmans and Sebastian Burg are also recommended.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick’s ‘well-organised and business-oriented team’ is led by Paul Geerebaert and also includes managing partner Vincent Busschaert; the duo have the ability to ‘clearly translate Belgian law to clients’. Recent work includes advising DHL Parcel Belgium on a collective dismissal proceeding. Senior attorney Kay Goyens has niche expertise in social crimes and employment fraud.

Luc Vanaverbeke’s group at Linklaters has strong experience in dismissals, discrimination issues, employee benefits, collective bargaining and social security issues. The team has recently handled several matters for ABB, including handling two dismissal-related disputes. Counsel Elke Duden handles employment matters and manages the pensions practice.

In a significant coup, Loyens & Loeff secured over ten new clients with over 1000 employees including AG Insurance, AXA and Euroclear and now advises five of the ten largest employers in Belgium. The ‘outstanding’ team benefits from the expertise of group head Filip Saelens, who is ‘among the best’; ‘pragmatic and creative thinkerKris de Schutter); and counsel Marga Caproni, who ‘boils issues down to key points’.

Lydian has ‘a responsive and collaborative’ group of ‘highly specialised experts’. Co-group head Jan Hofkensalways exceeds the highest expectations’. Alexander Vandenbergen, who co-heads the employment practice and leads the pensions and benefits unit, is also highly rated. The firm assists key client Nike with all labour and employment matters including dismissals, litigation and compliance and policy issues.

Stibbe’s team stands out for its ‘outstanding responsiveness and availability’. Senior names include group head Herman Craeninckx, who is ‘highly business and customer oriented’, and Jérôme Aubertin, who is ‘a live employment law encyclopaedia’. Elisabeth Matthys successfully represented Atos Belgium in a constructive dismissal case. Other clients include AB InBev, Belfius Bank and Holcim.

Van Olmen & Wynant’s team has ‘strong experience advising international companies’, with group head Chris Van Olmen arguably ‘the leading labour lawyer in Belgium’. The team also includes senior associates Nicolas Simon, who is ‘solution focused’, and Vincent Vuylsteke, who has ‘outstanding knowledge of administrative law and the public sector’. The group advises clients such as DHL Deutsche Post and Vivaqua across the full range of employment matters.

Altius’ practice is jointly headed by Philippe De Wulf and sports law expert Sven Demeulemeester. Managing partner and ‘exceptional employment specialist’ Sylvie Dubois is the other key contact. Recent work includes advising Itab Group on a collective dismissal following the closure of a production facility. Outsourcings, transactional support matters, and health and safety issues are other areas of expertise.

Top choice for sensitive files’, CMS’ group impresses with its ‘quick responses and solutions’. Practice head Gaël Chuffart, who is ‘authoritative and knowledgeable’, advised Toyota on a restructuring involving several dismissals. The newly promoted Sophie Berg provides ‘commercial and spot-on advice’ and Jef Degrauwe is also recommended.

Clifford Chance’s team has ‘great negotiation skills’ and ‘a strategic approach’. It has experience across the full spectrum of employment matters, with particular expertise in restructurings, collective downsizings and outsourcings. Clients include Zoetis Belgium, Eaton and Pfizer. Practice head Gert Cuppens is ‘innovative and solution oriented’.

Fieldfisher’s ‘responsive and dedicated’ team is particularly experienced in international employment matters, social security issues and business migration. Practice head Stefan Nerinckx, who is ‘knowledgeable and client focused’, recently advised Bemis on several employment matters, including dismissal cases and privacy issues. Anne Kamp and senior associate Tim Perdieus are also key contacts.

Chantal Biernaux’s team at Jones Day has expertise in restructurings, collective bargaining, labour relations and pensions schemes, with notable strength in the automotive, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors. Recent work includes advising Tenneco Automotive Europe on a collective dismissal programme.

At Laga, practice head Stijn Demeestere assisted a multinational ICT company with the employment aspects of its worldwide sale of a business division. Newly made-up partner Julien Hick is ‘pragmatic and responsive’ and acted alongside Demeestere to advise a Belgian real estate developer on the sale of a subsidiary. Clients include Honda, DB Schenker and Toyota.

NautaDutilh’s team acted on a diverse mix of restructurings, labour relations issues, collective and individual dismissals and corporate support matters. Practice head Philippe François advised FedEx on the sale of the airline operations of TNT Express. Thierry Duquesne is also a senior member of the team.

Employment boutique Reliance handles the full range of employment, social security and pension law matters, with notable strengths in restructuring, international mobility and litigation. Koen De Bisschop and Edward Carlier, who are based in Mechelen, are highly regarded. The firm also benefits from a Brussels base, where Anne-Valérie Michaux and Erwin Crabeels are key contacts.

Labour and social security boutique Van Eeckhoutte, Taquet & Clesse benefits from the expertise of Willy van Eeckhoutte, who is ‘a titan in the employment law area’. Wim Van Roeyen and Peter Michielsen are also names to note in a practice that covers restructurings, collective bargaining, pensions and employee benefits, and health and safety matters.

Younity’s team provides ‘practical and to-the-point’ advice and has ‘good business acumen’. Managing partner Jean-Philippe Cordier, who has a strong profile in the market, recently advised GlaxoSmithKline on the privacy and employment aspects of its proposed enhanced employee screening system. Brecht Cops is ‘practical and clear’ and pensions lead Corinne Merla is also highly regarded.

Ambos NBGO Advocaten’s group of ‘fast and clear communicators’ includes Carl Bevernage and the ‘very knowledgeableDamien Stas de Richelle. The team advises on restructurings, collective bargaining agreements, immigration issues, pensions and employee benefits, and health and safety matters and recently advised a construction company on a workplace accident. Other clients include Expedia, Spandex and Novatech.

The ‘personable and technical’ group at Bird & Bird acts for an enviable roster of multinational clients, including Disney, Ferrero and Honeywell. Practice head Christophe Delmarcelleexplains complex issues clearly and practically’ and provides ongoing advice to PRA International on issues such as reorganisations, social elections and dismissals.

Crowell & Moring impresses with its ‘rapid turnarounds’ and ‘constant availability’. Key names include department head and ‘strong litigatorEmmanuel Plasschaert and ‘meticulous’ senior counsel Frederik Van Remoortel. Among other matters, the group represented Sun Chemical before the Labour Court in several termination cases. Its experience in cross-border matters ensures it is highly sought after by multinational clients.

The ‘experienced and client-focused’ group at Curia is particularly active in restructuring, employment litigation and pensions law, with a growing focus on discrimination cases. Guido Lamal and Peter Roosens jointly head a team that also includes the ‘commercially strong’ Jurgen Goyvaerts.

DLA Piper’s ‘very responsive and supportive’ team provides ‘sound and pragmatic advice’. Employment head Eddy Lievens is ‘a clear communicator’ and advised Feilo Sylvania Lighting Belgium on the closure of its Tienen manufacturing plant and the subsequent dismissal of 170 employees. It also has strong experience in health and safety matters, pensions law and contentious work.

Véronique Pertry’s one-partner team at Eubeliuspunches above its weight’ and has ‘strong knowledge and a client focused’ approach. It advised Thalys on several issues over the past year, including compliance and policy matters and dismissals. Other clients include Aina Hospitality, De Lijn and Ghent University.

Eversheds Sutherland (Belgium) CVBA (a member of Eversheds Sutherland)’s practice spans restructurings, collective bargaining, employment litigation and cross-border matters. Stefan Corbanie heads the team.

Janson Baugniet houses a comprehensive four-partner employment practice, split between its Brussels and Nivelles offices. Johan Kerremans recently assisted a medical devices company with its collective dismissal process. Other clients include Desso, Inter Belgium Security and Philip Morris International.

The ‘professional and hands-on’ team at K Law is led by the ‘knowledgeable and solution-focused’ Alexis Ceuterick; he has advised on several complex matters over the past year, including restructurings, management terminations and collective dismissals.

Monard Law’s team has ‘unique expertise in core areas’, and Peter Dufaux is ‘a top expert in employment law’. Tom Messiaen is also a key name; he advised Rabobank on its reorganisation.

Responsive and practical’, Osborne Clarke sets itself apart through its ‘strong business knowledge’. Group head Thierry Viérin, is ‘a great communicator’; he recently advised Xerox on collective labour agreements. Senior counsel Vinciane Rysselinck is ‘very efficient and commercial’.

At Peeters Advocaten – Avocats, group head Marcel Houben has ‘strong knowledge, experience and forensic skills’. Employment litigation is a strong area of activity, and the team has also recently advised on collective dismissals, migration issues and union negotiations.

Great business partnerSotra houses ‘a collaborative and responsive’ group under the leadership of ‘extraordinary practitioner’ Olivier Rijckaert. The team also includes counsel Marian Dewaersegger, who is ‘a real gem’, and newly promoted partner Noël Lambert. The employment boutique, which handles a broad spread of advisory, commercial and contentious matters, has raised its profile in this area and gained Staples, Delhaize and HeidelbergCement as new client wins.

Thales’ group is jointly headed by the ‘always available and responsive’ Marie Michaud-Nérard and Olivier Scheuer. Highlights included successfully representing Belgian Shell before the Supreme Court in health insurance litigation brought by 92 former employees. The group also advises on individual labour law and social security matters.

At Van Bael & Bellis, litigator Catherine Longeval is the key contact for employment work. In addition to its strength in contentious matters, the team advises on corporate support and compliance issues.

Verhaegen Walravens’ employment practice benefits from the ‘extensive experience’ of group head Catherine Preumont. Recent work includes advising Shanks on several matters, including a termination case and a collective bargaining agreement. SoftKinetic and Bouygues Immobilier Belgium are also clients.

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