EU regulatory: Privacy and data protection in Belgium

Allen & Overy LLP

The 'very strong' team at Allen & Overy LLP garners praise for its 'in-depth industry knowledge'. Data protection law is a core strength of the practice, with EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and e-privacy matters dominating the group's recent workload. Cross-border instructions are another key area of expertise. Filip Van Elsen and Peter Van Dyck are the names to note.

Practice head(s):

Filip Van Elsen; Peter Van Dyck

Testimonials

They know the law inside out. They give sound and practical advice and guidance on all steps to be taken‘.

Amicable but professional and knowledgeable about the industry trends‘.

Key clients

ABMC

Toyota

Baidu

Lubrizol

Swift

Work highlights

  • Advising Toyota on GDPR compliance issues regarding data transfers by entities and third parties from Europe to its headquarters outside Europe.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

At Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL, GDPR compliance instructions dominate the team's workload, although the group has also been kept busy advising clients from the healthcare sector on the use of patients' data. Other areas of instruction include cybersecurity matters and cross-border data transfers. Belgium managing partner Daniel Fesler and Elisabeth Dehareng jointly head the department.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Fesler; Elisabeth Dehareng

Bird & Bird

Benoit Van Asbroeck leads the team at Bird & Bird, which is a member of a consortium advising on an ongoing EU-funded big-data project. Other areas of instruction include data breach cases, e-privacy matters, GDPR compliance and data transfer matters. Senior associate Julien Debussche is noted. Takeshige Sugimoto left the firm in July 2019.

Practice head(s):

Benoit Van Asbroeck

Other key lawyers:

Julien Debussche

CMS

Multinational data protection compliance matters are a core area of strength for CMS' team. The client roster includes international names in the food, technology, healthcare, energy and financial services sectors. Practice head Tom De Cordier is 'knowledgeable' and 'always fast to respond'.

Practice head(s):

Tom De Cordier

Testimonials

The privacy and data protection team is strong on the legal points, very responsive and available and reacts quickly with pragmatic solutions‘.

Key clients

McCain

Facebook

Work highlights

  • Assisting McCain with ongoing post-GDPR implementation actions on a pan-European scale.
  • Assisting a prominent medical devices manufacturer with privacy policies matters to ensure compliance with the new requirements under the GDPR.
  • Advising a prominent human resources entity on data sharing, privacy policies and GDPR compliance, among other areas.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has a 'longstanding practice in privacy and data protection' and provides 'robust legal advice'. Cross-border data protection projects are prominent in the team's workload; cybersecurity, GDPR, privacy and advertising matters are included in the group's expertise. Practice head Patrick Van Eecke is highly regarded for his 'vast expertise and experience' in data protection law. In November 2019 Peter Craddock joined NautaDutilh as counsel.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Van Eecke

Testimonials

Their proactive and human way of working with their clients is simply exceptional‘.

Patrick Van Eecke is an exceptional lawyer. As the European authority in the data protection field, he always keeps an open mind and thinks with the business to find pragmatic solutions. His way of guiding clients is unmatched in the sector‘.

Key clients

Uber

Porsche

Mondelēz International

Duracell

Hyundai Motor Company

Work highlights

  • Assisting Uber with a global data protection compliance project to ensure that ride receipts and invoices comply with local data protection rules.
  • Advising Smartbit, the developer of online digital schoolplatform Smartschool, on cybersecurity and data protection issues.
  • Advising a cloud-based web development platform on data security matters relating to hosting and website creation.

Fieldfisher

Fieldfisher’s 'first-rate' practice has 'deep knowledge of the GDPR and privacy developments' and 'provides top-notch services'. Recent work for the 'quick, precise and very knowledgeable' team includes data breaches, data processing and GDPR compliance. Tim Van Canneyt shares leadership of the practice with the 'dedicated and committed' Olivier Proust.

Practice head(s):

Tim Van Canneyt; Olivier Proust

Testimonials

The privacy team at Fieldfisher is capable, diligent and personable‘.

Olivier Proust is a recognised expert in his field. He provides practical and straightforward advice on what the key issues are‘.

Olivier Proust is fantastic. He is a top legal mind in the area, sharp, diligent, hard working and incredibly personable‘.

Key clients

Euroclear

Accenture

Just Eat

Stanley Black & Decker

Work highlights

  • Assisting Euroclear with its ongoing multinational GDPR compliance project.
  • Advising medical devices company Ion Beam Applications on processing patient data for research purposes and clinical trials.
  • Advising UK-based fintech company OakNorth on data processing matters, among other GDPR areas.

Linklaters

Linklaters houses a 'professional and dedicated team in the field of data protection'. The group is well known for advising key client Novartis on access rights and website policies, as well as GDPR compliance matters. Global practice head Tanguy Van Overstraeten stands out for his 'high level of knowledge and experience in the field of data protection'. Guillaume Couneson is 'pragmatic' and was promoted to partner in May 2020.

Practice head(s):

Tanguy Van Overstraeten

Other key lawyers:

Guillaume Couneson

Testimonials

It has very up-to-date knowledge on its field and is dispensing very high quality advice‘.

Always accessible, proactive as well as responsive, always finding a pragmatic solution to our questions‘.

Key clients

Novartis

AXA

The BNP Paribas Group

Sumitomo Benelux

Panasonic

Work highlights

  • Advised Charles River Development, a State Street company, on GDPR compliance issues regarding the use of specialised software for fund management.  
  • Advising Panasonic on the implementation of facial recognition technology.
  • Advised Invest Europe on e-privacy matters and GDPR implementation.

time.lex

time.lex's practice stands out for its 'great expertise in matters concerning international data transfers and in working with government institutions' and is 'one of the top legal experts in the area of EU data protection law', according to a client. Key names in the team include Geert Somers (a 'good communicator'); IT and data protection expert Jos Dumortier; the 'reliable advisor' Frederic Debusseré; the 'responsive' Hans Graux; Edwin Jacobs, who is very experienced in fintech matters; and Ruben Roex, who has a 'very hands-on, pragmatic and no-nonsense approach'.

Practice head(s):

Jos Dumortier; Hans Graux; Geert Somers; Edwin Jacobs; Frederic Debusseré; Ruben Roex

Testimonials

Very pragmatic, quick and clear‘.

Frederic Debusseré is an outstanding partner with excellent knowledge in his area of expertise‘.

Geert Somers and Hans Graux are impressively tech-savvy, solution-focused, highly positive‘.

Geert Somers listens well for what the client needs, and has great experience in international data protection matters‘.

Key clients

The Belgian Data Protection Authority

The Belgian Government

Johnson & Johnson

The European Commission

Work highlights

  • Assisting the European Commission with performing the data protection adequacy assessment for the level of data protection in South Korea.
  • Assisting chemicals company BASF with a range of data protection matters, including the use of pixels and cookies on the BASF hiring platform.
  • Advising an international consortium of 15 IT companies, research institutes, public health organisations and hospitals with EU data protection compliance and patient mobility rules, with a particular focus on the cross-border exchange of medical data.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati garners praise for its 'hands-on, strategic and practical privacy practice'. The team advises a solid client base of technology and financial services entities on GDPR compliance, privacy matters, cross-border data transfer issues and data breaches, to name a few areas. Belgian managing partner Cédric Burton heads up the practice, which was recently bolstered by the arrival of privacy and cybersecurity law expert Jan Dhont from Alston & Bird LLP in January 2019.

Practice head(s):

Cédric Burton; Jan Dhont

Testimonials

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s practice stands out for responsiveness and judiciously mixing regulatory expertise with pragmatic business advice‘.

Partners Cédric Burton and Jan Dhont are incredibly knowledgeable and understand the new data driven world very well‘.

Cédric Burton acts in a way that is both strategic and tactical‘.

Key clients

Mastercard

Trūata

Tesla

TuneIn

Collibra

Work highlights

  • Assisting longstanding client Mastercard with implementing GDPR throughout the EU.
  • Assisted data governance company Collibra with privacy matters during its last round of financing, which made it the sole Belgian unicorn entity; the group now advises the client on data protection matters.
  • Advising audio streaming company TuneIn on GDPR compliance.

contrast

Counsel Anouk Focquet leads the team at contrast, which has a solid track record in advising clients from the automotive sector on e-privacy matters. The group reports an uptick in instructions from the retail sector, predominantly relating to GDPR compliance and implementation. Senior associate Eline Declerck is also recommended. 

Practice head(s):

Anouk Focquet

Other key lawyers:

Eline Declerck

Covington & Burling LLP

Covington & Burling LLP's data protection team's 'ability to find clever solutions to complex problems is remarkable'. The group is adept at handling cross-border mandates involving data transfer, e-privacy and GDPR compliance issues, to name a few areas. The client roster includes prominent names from the technology, pharmaceutical, life sciences and retail sectors. Practice head Henriette Tielemans has 'a prodigious knowledge of the law'. Of counsel Kristof Van Quathem is a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Henriette Tielemans

Other key lawyers:

Kristof Van Quathem

Testimonials

Valued troubleshooter spirit‘.

Crowell & Moring

Recent work for the team at Crowell & Moring includes advising camera surveillance company Group Brepoels on data protection and privacy issues concerning the use of smart cameras and AI. The group has established strength in assisting a client base of life sciences, energy, media, automotive, healthcare and TMT companies. Frederik Van Remoortel and Maarten Stassen jointly lead the practice; both were promoted to partner in January 2019. Emmanuel Plasschaert, who is highly regarded for his employment expertise, is a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Frederik Van Remoortel; Maarten Stassen

Other key lawyers:

Emmanuel Plasschaert

Testimonials

Maarten Stassen is very experienced in privacy‘.

Key clients

Telenet

Ingersoll Rand

Jones Day

Recent work for Jones Day's data protection team includes advising on data breaches, cybersecurity, large-scale data transfers, investigations, and international and European data protection compliance issues. The 'extremely knowledgeableJörg Hladjk, who was promoted to partner in January 2019, heads the department.

Practice head(s):

Jörg Hladjk

Key clients

Toyota

Acelity

Fidelis Cybersecurity

Micron Technology

Ferro Corporation

Work highlights

  • Assisting Fidelis Cybersecurity with data protection compliance issues and data breach matters.
  • Assisting longstanding client Acelity with ongoing European data transfer structures and an international data security investigation.
  • Advising Toyota on e-privacy matters regarding connected cars and connected services.

Osborne Clarke

Benjamin Docquir leads the team at Osborne Clarke, which provides 'expert advice' on GDPR compliance, data transfer and data security, among others. Clients are drawn from the fintech, retail, transport and telecoms sectors.

Practice head(s):

Benjamin Docquir

Erkelens Law

Erkelens Law is noted for its 'in-depth expertise' in data protection matters. The 'hands-on, pragmatic and results-oriented' team is led by name partner Catherine Erkelens, who has extensive experience in data protection law. Data security is another key area of expertise. Associate Stéphane De Schutter is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Erkelens

Other key lawyers:

Stéphane De Schutter

Testimonials

Catherine Erkelens is a consummate professional. She is very responsive and timely. We have worked with her principally on data security questions. Catherine understands the need for practical solutions and offers legal advice that businesses can act on‘.

Key clients

The Toy Industries of Europe

Siemens Healthineers

Warner Bros

Work highlights

  • Assisted Warner Bros with local GDPR compliance issues.
  • Assisting the Toy Industries of Europe with ongoing GDPR implementation matters.

Eubelius

The 'pragmatic' team at Eubelius garners praise for its 'in depth knowledge regarding privacy and data protection'. Recent work for the group includes cross-border data transfers, data processing matters and data protection compliance issues. Senior counsel Pieter Callens and senior associate Anneleen Van de Meulebroucke jointly lead the practice.

Practice head(s):

Pieter Callens; Anneleen Van de Meulebroucke

Testimonials

They have a very business-minded approach‘.

Pieter Callens is very flexible and easily available and has a very hands-on and pragmatic approach to GDPR compliance‘.

Anneleen Van de Meulebroucke’s up-to-date knowledge in the field of data protection law and her client service stands out‘.

Key clients

Janssen Pharmaceutica

Pioneer Europe

Aedifica

Indigo Belgium

Arcadis

Work highlights

  • Assisting Janssen Pharmaceutica with the data protection aspects of the development of a European platform to share anonymised evidence data from university hospitals for the purpose of scientific research.
  • Assisting Indigo Belgium with the creation of a data sharing agreement.
  • Assisted Pioneer Europe with an intragroup data transfer between Belgium and Japan.

Loyens & Loeff

The team at Loyens & Loeff provides 'hands-on advice' to clients drawn from the technology, financial services, construction, healthcare and retail sectors on GDPR compliance matters, data transfers and data breaches. Filip Saelens, Rotterdam-based Kim Lucassen and senior associate Stéphanie De Smedt ('reliable and accurate') are the key names.

Practice head(s):

Filip Saelens; Kim Lucassen; Stéphanie De Smedt

Pierstone

Patrice Vanderbeeken's group at Pierstone has been very active in handling data processing agreements, data protection compliance issues and data transfer matters for clients drawn from the energy, retail, pharmaceutical, aviation and technology industries. Of counsel Jeanne Jacobs-Gilhuis is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Patrice Vanderbeeken

Other key lawyers:

Jeanne Jacobs-Gilhuis

Key clients

Catalina Marketing

Prime Alliance AISBL

Microsoft

Horus Pharma

EDSO for Smart Grids

Work highlights

  • Acts as global counsel to Prime Alliance AISBL across the range of data protection matters, notably data transfer security issues.
  • Advising Horus Pharma on its online privacy policies.
  • Assisting Catalina Marketing with data processing matters and compliance issues.

Van Bael & Bellis

Van Bael & Bellis' 'very responsive' team, led by counsel Thibaut D’hulst, has been kept busy with GDPR compliance and e-privacy matters, among other areas. The client roster includes prominent global clients from the pharmaceutical, technology and healthcare sectors.

Practice head(s):

Thibaut D’hulst

Key clients

Abbott

AbbVie

Eisai Europe

Gedeon Richter

Mundipharma

pharma.be

Work highlights

  • Assisting Gedeon Richter with a data protection impact assessment concerning a connected medical device and mobile app.