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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 > Industry focus > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Energy

Index of tables

  1. Industry focus: Energy
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Energy clients in Belgium using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Allen & Overy LLP has cemented its leading position in the energy market through its involvement in numerous high-profile projects and corporate transactions. The team has a strong track record in renewable energy projects, particularly in the wind energy sector. In a recent highlight, practice head Tom Schoors and corporate partner Wouter Van de Voorde acted for Mitsubishi Corporation subsidiary Diamond Generating Europe on an investment into offshore wind farm Norther. Other work includes Joost Everaert acting for a major energy company in CEPANI arbitration against a gas supplier. The team is also well versed in state aid issues connected to subsidy regimes.

The ‘very client friendly’ team at Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick provides ‘cutting-edge advice’ and is considered by some as ‘the very best practice in Belgium’. The Belgium member of the Energy Law Group network, the team counts market leading energy companies including Total and Veolia as clients. Its procurement, permitting and regulatory practice was further bolstered in January 2017 by the arrival of regulatory experts François Tulkens and Vincent Ost from NautaDutilh. Practice head Damien Verhoeven advised Elia on the regulatory aspects of its offshore grid project, which will be connected with wind farms in numerous jurisdictions. Olivier Vanden Berghe is active in commercial contracts with a particular focus on the energy sector.

A ‘top-notch team in the Belgian energy sector’, Loyens & Loeff is ‘able to mobilise an impressive legal machine to get the job done, never compromising on quality’. The ‘very client-oriented’ group is praised for taking a ‘pragmatic, helicopter view approach’. The broad practice takes in litigation, projects, regulatory matters, financing and public law. ‘Very meticulous’ practice head Thomas Chellingsworth, who ‘leads the team with a great deal of expertise’, and ‘up-and-coming’ senior associate Christine Delagaye are noted. Banking and finance partner Marc Vermylen is active in renewable energy project financing.

Stibbe is highlighted for its ‘in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience’, ‘quick, to-the-point responses’ and ‘practical and business-oriented approach’. In addition, the firm ‘understands the sector, including the policy makers, energy market regulators, communal entities and private sector players active in the field’. The team had another successful year in 2017, expanding its client base with new client wins and strengthening its footprint in the offshore wind and gas sectors with involvement in significant projects. Frederik Vandendriessche heads the practice. Other names to note are ‘quick and smart corporate lawyerJan Peeters, counsel Sofie Heremans and associate Cedric Degreef.

Clifford Chance provides ‘high-quality answers and input’ and demonstrates ‘excellent knowledge of the market’. The team has a hand in major projects and corporate transactions in the energy market. In a recent highlight, it advised Elia on the structuring, regulatory and public procurement aspects of its modular offshore grid project. The department is led by Xavier Remy, who is ‘an authority in the Belgian energy sector’. ‘Professional and solution-driven lawyer’ Patrice Viaene also receives high praise. Counsel Pieter De Bock is a key contact for public and environmental law issues.

DLA Piper fields a multidisciplinary team which is active in regulatory, procurement, antitrust, project finance and state aid issues. The team cooperates closely with the firm’s European energy working committee, where Alec Van Vaerenbergh plays a key coordination role. Annelies Verlinden is particularly active in the Belgian and German offshore wind sectors. Bob Martens has complementary expertise in public and environmental law. Clients include the City of Antwerp, Deme Group and Vleemo.

Fieldfisher’s practice is notable for its expertise in energy regulatory law and its ability to handle EU-wide energy matters affecting numerous member states. Highlights included advising Axpo Benelux on contractual matters and energy tariffs, which required comprehensive analysis of regional and federal legislation; David Haverbeke led the team. Wouter Vandorpe is another key name. New client wins include STIB-MIVB, 3E and Valeco.

Arnaud Coibion heads the energy group at Linklaters, which counts Engie, Fluxys and Essent among its clients. The practice spans regulatory issues, dispute resolution, M&A and project finance. Dispute resolution specialist Xavier Taton, who was recently made partner, was appointed by Ores Assets to challenge the first ex-post review of distribution tariffs from 2015 and is acting for the same client in challenging the tariff methodology of the Walloon Commission for Energy (CWaPE) for the regulatory period 2019-2023. David Ballegeer and a team advised Elia System Operator on its €250m issue of series 5 fixed-rate notes due 2027.

Niche energy firm Blixt is quickly making a name for itself in the market. The ‘very knowledgeable’ team acts for energy suppliers and producers and large industrial consumers. The three-lawyer team comprises Tinne Van der Straeten, Tim Vermeir, who is highly regarded, ‘particularly for pleading complex technical cases in front of courts’, and associate Kathelijne Houben.

Modo advocaten / avocats has an impressive regulatory practice that takes in energy. It is particularly active in power exchanges and provides ‘an excellent service’. Its lawyers ‘look for good business solutions’ and ‘keep cool heads, even in stressful situations’. Practice head Régine Feltkamp and associate Joeri Danhieux are highly regarded.

Monard Law’s team operates from its Brussels, Antwerp and Hasselt offices and handles a variety of contentious and non-contentious matters for energy sector clients. In one highlight, Koen Geelen represented NPG Energy in multiple litigation proceedings following an incident at one of its sites. Natalie Ulburghs is another senior member of the team.

The ‘very responsive’ team at NautaDutilh is particularly renowned in the renewable energy space. Patrick Peeters heads the department and has notable expertise in public law, environmental law and dispute resolution. Corporate lawyers Nicolas de Crombrugghe and Dirk Van Gerven are active in energy M&A.


Food and beverage

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Food and beverage clients in Belgium using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Allen & Overy LLP has an impressive international client base in the food and beverage sector, and is also a popular choice for leading Belgium breweries, bakeries and fine food companies. An IT and IP team led by Geert Glas developed an anti-lookalike strategy for Duvel Moortgat to deal with third party labels which resemble the iconic Duvel label. Corporate and transactional partner PierreOlivier Mahieu is another name to note.

The specialised agri-food sector group at Altius fields three partners: Paul Maeyaert, Olivier Vrins and Philippe de Jong. It acts for international and domestic clients including plant breeders and agri-biotech companies on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. In the first compulsory licence application proceedings relating to EU plant variety rights, de Jong represented Pixley Berries in seeking a licence for a specific blackcurrant variety for production of 100% "juice".

IP partner Jean-Christophe Troussel leads the team at Bird & Bird, which represents an array of clients in the food industry, including food and beverage producers, packaging manufacturers and biotech companies. Agro-science research, IP, distribution and regulatory matters are among the group’s specialisms.

At DLA Piper, an interdisciplinary team of lawyers with backgrounds in technology, regulatory, IP and commercial law handle significant mandates from food and beverage sector companies. Practice head Patrick Van Eecke has extensive experience in the food sector, where his work encompasses e-commerce, privacy, advertising and IP. Longstanding clients include Mondelēz, Barry Callebaut, Coca-Cola and Hard Rock Cafe.

Noted for its ‘business acumen and pragmatic advice’, Linklaters fields a dedicated food and beverage industry group. Its reputation in the sector brings in a steady flow of instructions from leading food, grocery and retail brand companies. Wolfgang Deselaers defended Nestlé against various follow-on cartel damage claims. IP expert Pieter Van Den Broecke heads the practice.

The ‘very professional’, ‘pragmatic’ and ‘flexible’ team at Loyens & Loeff provides a full service to its food sector clients, which turn to it for a range of food regulatory, IP, trade, customs and corporate law advice. Counsel Aude Mahyis a well-known food law expert’; she jointly heads the practice alongside Bert Gevers. Yves Van Couter is also noted.

Stibbe has a substantial and multidisciplinary food sector practice, combining the expertise of highly experienced IP, IT, corporate, competition and employment lawyers. Transactional highlights included its advice to Belgian food group Vandemoortele on the buy-out of Gimv by Safinco; corporate partner Pascal Vanden Borre and tax expert Wim Panis led the advice. Ignace Vernimme heads the practice.


Healthcare and life sciences

Index of tables

  1. Industry focus: Healthcare and life sciences
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Healthcare and life sciences clients in Belgium using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Allen & Overy LLP has ‘a very strong’ regulatory and IP practice for work in the pharmaceutical, medical devices and biotech space. The multidisciplinary team includes experts in patents, public law, antitrust and employment, among other fields. Its workload is equally diverse, with the team regularly advising on transactions, data protection, licensing and procurement and handling high-stakes disputes. Practice head Geert Glas provides ‘clear answers and guidance’. Counsel Eveline Van Keymeulen is ‘excellent’.

Bird & Bird has a leading position in the healthcare and life sciences sector. Its clients include pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, universities, sector organisations and manufacturers. In the biotech space, the team recently advised Celyad on its gene therapy products pipeline, and Bone Therapeutics on regulatory issues connected to its product portfolio. Practice head Marc Martens has broad contentious and non-contentious experience, Jean-Christophe Troussel specialises in IP and technology and Bruno Vandermeulen excels in pharmaceutical and biotech patent litigation. Nicolas Carbonnelle, who was recently made up to counsel, often advises on the use of biological material for research and manufacturing, including of advanced therapy medicinal products.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Crowell & Moring is particularly renowned for its IP capabilities, especially in the field of parallel imports. It has a strong track record in pharmaceutical litigation, which it further cemented in 2017 with several notable wins. Its clients include leading players in the generics industry, though it also represents originators. In a recent highlight, the team successfully defended Eurogenerics in litigation concerning medicinal products for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. ‘Great professionalsKristof Roox and Jan-Diederik Lindemansform a phenomenal duo’. Associate and biomedical scientist Jurgen Figys is another key member of the team.

A ‘go-to’ firm in the life sciences field, Hoyng Rokh Monegier’s team has ‘in-depth knowledge and expertise’. It has a leading practice in pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device litigation, where it represents household-name companies. Regulatory and data exclusivity are other mainstays. Practice head Liesbeth Weynants is regularly highlighted by clients as a leading lawyer, and Steven Cattoor is ‘a cool, level-headed advocate’. ‘Strategic thinkerBenoît Strowel and senior associate Eva De Pauw are also noted.

Van Bael & Bellis has a broad life sciences practice and is particularly prominent in issues concerning ethical rules, clinical trials, advertising and pricing and reimbursement. Its client base of leading multinational life sciences companies also turn to the team for a range of EU and Belgian regulatory advice. Catherine Longeval recently advised the European arm of a US biotech company on the restructuring of its distribution chain. David Hull and counsel Michael Clancy represented two parties in a landmark case before the EU Court of Justice concerning reverse payment patent settlements. Peter L’Ecluse is another key contact.

The life sciences team at Altius is praised for its ‘excellent technical knowledge and good understanding of the market’. Philippe de Jong is active in the life sciences and agri-food industries, with particular specialisms in the protection of plant biotechnological inventions and cross-border Nagoya Protocol compliance matters. Christophe Ronse is also noted.

DLA Piper has a multidisciplinary approach, covering everything from antitrust to employment to data protection for its life sciences clients. A multi-jurisdictional team led by Bertold Bär-Bouyssière is representing Merck & Co in high-profile litigation concerning reverse patent settlements. Other clients include Abbott, GSK and Pfizer. Data privacy and security specialist Patrick Van Eecke is another key contact.

Loyens & Loeff provides ‘spot-on legal advice, tailored to the practical needs of a senior legal counsel managing various cases in various jurisdictions’. Its coverage in the life sciences sector includes tax, public law, regulatory and employment. Among the key practitioners are practice head Filip Saelens, Yves Van Couter, who is highly regarded, and senior associate Evelina Roegiers.

NautaDutilh is active in several initiatives for start-up and spin-offs in the life sciences and technology industries. Much of the team’s work centres on M&A, financing and IP. In other work, Florence Verhoestraete acted for a client in negotiations concerning a collaborative research project. Elke Janssens co-heads the practice alongside Verhoestraete.

Olivier Mignolet heads the department at Simmons & Simmons LLP, which has a good track record in the life sciences sector in Belgium and is also equipped to handle multi-jurisdictional matters. Of counsel Annabelle Bruyndonckx has strong experience across R&D, pricing and reimbursement and compliance.

Stibbe acts for life sciences and biotherapeutics companies, and also counts a range of university hospitals and government bodies among its clients. Intellectual property specialists Ignace Vernimme and counsel Manuel Campolini are the key figures in the practice, which is able to draw on the expertise of a multi-disciplinary team covering employment, environmental, privacy and competition law.

Under the leadership of Gunther Meyer, Eversheds Sutherland (Belgium) CVBA (a member of Eversheds Sutherland) has expanded its practice and client base in the life sciences sector. Its lawyers are active participants in the industry, and the team as a whole is a member of the FlandersBio networking organisation. Lieven Devos and Koen Devos advised Aspen Pharmacare on an update to its legislative compliance programme.

Osborne Clarke, which established its Belgium office in 2013, is well equipped to handle corporate, finance and capital markets transactions and employment issues in the life sciences field. David Haex is noted.

Specialised life sciences firm Quinzoffers excellent quality at a very reasonable price’. It has developed notable experience in start-up and spin-off projects, and also assists household-name multinational companies. Pieter Wyckmans and associate Marie De Vulder are highly regarded. Olivier van Obberghen is another key name.


IT and telecoms

Index of tables

  1. Industry focus: IT and telecoms
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Jos Dumortier - time.lex
    • Benoit Van Asbroeck - Bird & Bird
    • Filip Van Elsen - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Tanguy Van Overstraeten - Linklaters
    • Gerrit Vandendriessche - Altius

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Guillaume Couneson - Linklaters
    • Tom De Cordier - CMS
    • Peter Van Dyck - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Ivanka Zdravkova - DLA Piper

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which IT and telecoms clients in Belgium using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Allen & Overy LLP provides ‘a very good service’ and is noted for its ‘quick and valuable responses’ and ‘top sectoral expertise’. Its Brussels and Antwerp team covers the full gamut of technology, media and telecoms (TMT) and sits within the firm’s global TMT practice. It has a strong emphasis on digital transformation, where its expertise takes in digital health, fintech and cybersecurity. Filip Van Elsen worked alongside colleagues in the US and UK to advise Computer Sciences Corporation on the IT and outsourcing aspects of the creation of global software and cloud computing vendor DXC Technology. Peter Van Dyck, ‘who engages really well with the client’, was promoted to partner in 2017.

Bird & Bird enjoys global recognition for its IT and telecoms experience. It has developed a strong data protection practice, which often handles cross-border matters; Benoit Van Asbroeck is a key contact in this field. In a recent highlight, Van Asbroeck, senior associate Julien Debussche and associate Jasmien César advised SAP on data protection, pseudonynimization and anonymisation techniques and IT-related issues concerning the client’s ‘enterprise threat detection’ product. Marc Martens assists TMT sector companies with public law questions and public procurement. Other clients include Proximus, Epson Europe and Jot Internet Media.

The ‘highly committed and professional’ team at DLA Piper acts for IT vendors and users, and national and international telecoms operators on large-scale projects and disputes. As part of its pro bono practice, the team also advises charities and international institutions on data protection, IP and technology. Practice head Kristof De Vulder is ‘an exceptional ICT leader in Belgium’; he and Raf Schoefs advised an IT provider on negotiating and drafting a new outsourcing agreement with the client’s largest customer. Patrick Van Eecke and Ivanka Zdravkova are also noted.

With a strong track record in the IT and telecoms sectors, Stibbe is well equipped to handle transactional, non-transactional advisory and litigation work. In close cooperation with the firm’s criminal law department, the team also advises on cybercrime and cyberattacks. Aside from its IT and telecoms clients, it also assists financial services and health companies with IT queries. The highly experienced Erik Valgaeren leads the team, which also draws on the experience of the firm’s public law, competition, corporate and tax partners. Nicolas Roland left for Younity in 2017.

The ICT team at Altius acts for hardware developers, software and app developers, cloud providers and other players in the IT sector, including start-ups and spin-offs. In the telecoms sector, a multi-disciplinary team recently acted for Altice on the sale of its cable network company to Telenet; corporate and M&A partner Jérôme Vermeylen led the advice. Gerrit Vandendriessche leads the practice, which was bolstered by the arrival of senior associate Jan Clinck from Simont Braun.

CMS’ team ‘has excellent knowledge in Belgian and EU telecom and data privacy matters’ and provides ‘pragmatic advice with the business perspective in mind’. The group has recently been acting for Proximus in appeals against various decisions of the telecoms regulator. Other clients include Facebook, Amazon Web Services and Swift. ‘Excellent’ practice head Tom De Cordier ‘provides comprehensive regulatory and business advice’. Dirk Van Liedekerke specialises in EU law and telecoms. Associates Anne-Michèle Goris and Adrien van den Branden are also recommended.

Crowell & Moring is ‘outstanding’ in the field of telecoms; the Brussels team forms part of the firm’s global TMT group, which counts over 140 lawyers across its offices. The highly regarded Thomas De Meese leads the practice in Belgium; he and associate Emmelie Wijckmans acted for Telenet in appeals against the Belgian regulators’ decisions concerning open access to cable networks in Brussels. Domain name specialist Flip Petillion left to establish Petillion in 2017.

The cross-departmental TMT practice at Fieldfisher counts leading technology and internet providers among its clients. It has been kept busy recently assisting clients in a variety of sectors with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) readiness projects. Privacy, data protection and cybersecurity expert Olivier Proust made partner in May 2017, creating a four-partner practice that also includes Tim Van Canneyt, Hakim Haouideg and IP specialist Stijn Debaene.

Linklaters’ TMT team is ‘able to assist in very difficult, long and complex IT contract negotiations’. It is also highly recommended in the field of privacy and data protection, where it has ‘a very practical and hands-on approach’. In addition to advising IT service providers and telecoms companies, it also assists financial, retail, pharmaceutical and energy companies on IT projects. The ‘very thorough and reliable’ Tanguy van Overstraeten is ‘a very good negotiator’ and ‘understands business constraints’. Guillaume Couneson was promoted to counsel in 2017.

A niche firm that has succeeded in obtaining a strong presence in the market’, time.lex consists of ‘smart and hands-on lawyers’ who are ‘very much up to speed on recent developments’. The group advises public entities and private companies on a range of technology projects and queries, and also has substantial expertise in the fintech sector; an area in which Edwin Jacobs is highly recommended. Jos Dumortier is ‘knowledgeable, accessible and trustworthy’, and Geert Somers and Frederic Debusseré are ‘experts in their field’.

The ‘responsive, flexible and proactive’ team at Verhaegen Walravens is led by Emmanuel Szafran. Much of the department’s work centres on technology contracts, privacy, data protection and M&A in the TMT sector. Florian De Rouck has particular knowledge in open-source licensing issues and GDPR. In a recent highlight, the team advised SweepBright on software-as-a-service agreements and privacy law compliance in a multi-jurisdictional context.

The ‘very responsive’ team at Astrea has developed a significant practice advising on online and real-world gaming and gambling; beyond this niche, it has a broad ICT practice that spans commercial, regulatory and tax advice and litigation. Steven De Schrijver and senior associate Barbara Terriere are noted.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL’s TMT practice is headed by Daniel Fesler and specialises in EU regulatory work. E-commerce and fintech are particular areas of expertise. Elisabeth Dehareng is a key contact in the field of data protection and privacy.

Cresco Advocaten provides ‘an excellent service’ and ‘knows the trends before they hit the market’. It is well known for its start-up practice and also advises venture capital funds and well-established companies. In recent work, David Dessers advised an Antwerp-based start-up on the licensing of its technology to a distributor in Asia. Pieter Capiau is also noted.

Jones Day has a well-established European regulatory practice in the telecoms space and its office network allows it to handle complex domestic and cross-border work. It also has a strong offering in cybersecurity, data protection and privacy, a practice in which counsel Jörg Hladjk plays a significant role. Alexandre Verheyden leads the team, which also includes antitrust expert Bernard Amory.

The ‘very service-minded team’ at Loyens & Loeff is ‘easy to work with’; it draws on the expertise of the firm’s corporate, tax, employment and litigation partners to provide a broad service to IT and telecoms companies. In litigation, Yves Van Couter and ‘rising star’ and associate Stéphanie De Smedt defended Danish printing company Ecco Print in commercial litigation brought by a Belgian software company.

Reliable firmLydianprovides accurate and to the point responses’. Domestic and international companies turn to the ICT team for a range of corporate and commercial advice and transactional support. Practice head Bastiaan Bruyndonckx, the ‘professional and responsiveAnnick Mottet Haugaard and senior associate Olivia Santantonio are noted.

McGuireWoods LLP provides ‘sensible, pragmatic advice’ and is highly regarded for data protection, data transfers and intra-group agreements and cloud agreements. For clients with operations in Europe and North America, the firm’s ‘roots in the US and base in Brussels may be considered as a strong asset’. Paul Van den Bulck, Raphaël Krowicki and Morgane Poppe are the key contacts.

Established in 2017 by former Crowell & Moring partner Flip Petillion, Petillion has an impressive TMT practice, with a particular niche in top-level domains (TLD). Its areas of expertise in the IT space include e-commerce, cloud computing, 4G technology and social networking. Petillion also has a strong track record in the telecoms sector. Jan Janssen and Diego Noesen are also active members of the team.

Ambos NBGO Advocaten has an active IT practice and acts for hardware, software, biotech and medical devices companies (including start-ups). In addition to its corporate, commercial and litigation work, the team also handles antitrust issues at the interface of technology, IP and competition law. Kathleen Paisley and Bart Vandereeckt are the names to note.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has substantial cross-border capabilities thanks to its extensive firm network. The majority of its work in the TMT space relates to competition; it represents clients in cartel investigations, abuse of dominance investigations and also handles merger notifications. Robbert Snelders is a key contact.

Jan Decorte heads the practice at Koan Law Firm, which is proficient in data protection, e-commerce, licensing, software and media-related contracts. Agnès Maqua is a contact for digital advertising queries.

At Monard Law, Ben Hermans has an impressive practice that takes in dispute resolution, IP and ICT. Kristof Zadora is another contact; he recently advised Newtec on the provision of hardware services to Avanti Communications for its ‘every community online’ programme. Associate Frederik Ringoot is well versed in privacy and data protection.

IP and IT specialist Philippe Péters heads the practice at NautaDutilh; in recent work, he advised a Belgian company on a new software distribution agreement.


Manufacturing

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Manufacturing clients in Belgium using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

A large percentage of lawyers at Linklaters count industrial and manufacturing companies among their client portfolios. As such, the firm provides multi-disciplinary support which covers employment, dispute resolution, competition and compliance, among others. Tanguy Van Overstraeten recently advised Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations on its GDPR implementation as well as HR data-related projects. Labour law specialist Luc Vanaverbeke is another contact.

Stibbe provides ‘an excellent service’ to domestic and multinational companies in the manufacturing sector, regularly handling M&A, competition law issues, technology transfer and project development matters, among others. Other specialisms include advising on EU directives on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and litigation concerning Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. In the field of corporate and private equity, the team recently advised the shareholders of Punch Powertrain on the sale of their shares to Yinyi Group; Dries Hommez led the advice. Ignace Vernimme and Hendrik Viaene are also active in the manufacturing sector.

White & Case LLP is well versed in the manufacturing sector, where it acts for household-name companies on a broad range of practice areas. Litigation – at both the national and EU level – is a mainstay, and the team also provides regulatory, environmental and international trade law advice to its clients in the industry. In 2017, a cross-office team including James Killick in Brussels advised voestalpine and Salzgitter in the US anti-dumping investigation concerning imports of carbon and alloy steel cut-to-length plate originating in Germany. Competition law expert Mark Powell splits his time between Brussels and London.

Bird & Bird acts for manufacturing companies on IP, competition, and corporate and commercial transactions. Past clients include Lexmark, AGC Glass Europe and Deere & Company. Competition and EU law specialist Anne Federle is particularly active in the automotive sector.

The ‘solid team’ at McGuireWoods LLP is ‘competitive and gives good advice’. It advises leading manufacturing companies on issues surrounding export controls, customs and WTO compliance, and has a strong track record in litigation before the European courts. Areas in which the team has a strong following include steel, chemicals, construction and materials, and mining and metals. Vassilis Akritidis joined DWF in 2018 as head of the firm’s WTO and international trade practice in Brussels.


Media and entertainment

Index of tables

  1. Industry focus: Media and entertainment
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Media and entertainment clients in Belgium using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

The TMT practice at Allen & Overy LLP draws on the expertise of the firm’s employment, IP, regulatory, antitrust and corporate practices to provide a full service to its clients, which include film and television producers, publishers and advertising agencies. Among a string of recent wins in litigation, Dirk Arts successfully defended Belgian cinema group Kinepolis in proceedings brought by French company UGC concerning an alleged breach of competition law rules. IP and TMT specialist Filip Van Elsen leads the team from Antwerp. Peter Van Dyck was promoted to partner in May 2017.

Altius has a well-rounded media and entertainment practice, advising clients on issues specific to the sector – including advertising, broadcasting and publishing – and a range of IP, finance, competition, corporate and real estate issues. The firm has carved out a strong niche for sports law, where key names Sven Demeulemeester and counsel Grégory Ernes have recently been joined by associate Gauthier Bouchat, who was formerly legal counsel at FIFA. Paul Maeyaert and senior associate Alexander De Bleeckere represented television company SBS Belgium in litigation against SABAM concerning royalty payments.

The ‘professional’ team at Crowell & Moring acts for all industry participants, from gaming and betting companies to sports and media celebrities to book publishers. In addition to advising on the unique legal issues concerning the sector, the team also advises on a range of corporate, commercial, employment and IP law issues. Practice head Jan-Diederik Lindemans has been representing key client Bonzai Records in negotiations with DJs concerning exploitation rights and contracts for retro and classic music tracks. Thomas De Meese is representing Stanleybet in litigation claiming compensation from the Belgian Gaming Commission.

The TMT and IP team at Koan Law Firm is split across the firm’s Brussels and Paris offices and provides counselling, transactional and regulatory advice and represents clients in litigation before national and European courts. Utilising its experience and footprint in both jurisdictions, Agnès Maqua is currently advising a French broadcaster regarding the commercialisation of advertising space in Belgium. Highlights included Christine De Keersmaeker’s advice to a film producer on the co-production of a film, including advising on film financing and copyright issues.

Well versed in contentious and non-contentious issues affecting the sector, Stibbe’s media and entertainment team has developed strong relationships with leading companies, including Kinepolis, Spotify, Sony Entertainment and VRM, the Flemish Regulator for the Media. Erik Valgaeren advised SoundCloud on market introduction issues in Benelux, and an administrative law team led by Nathanaelle Kiekens assisted Napoleon Games with the bidding process for a casino concession. Wim Panis has developed a strong practice advising companies and government authorities on tax shelter for media and entertainment works.

Benoit Van Asbroeck’s media team at Bird & Bird had a busy year in 2017, advising domestic and international companies on advertising and marketing, media content, content licensing and distribution and other issues. It also represents clients in complex IP litigation. Senior associate Julien Debussche and associate Jasmien César are key members of the team.

CMS has a good track record handling M&A and commercial and IP litigation for sports and media companies; it also benefits from the firm’s extensive European office network in EU-wide matters. Key practitioners in the multi-disciplinary team are Tom Heremans, Tom De Cordier and Renaud Dupont.

DLA Piper’s practice spans all sub-sectors of the media and entertainment industry, including gaming, where the firm has developed particular expertise, as well as film and television and music. Patrick Van Eecke has been assisting Unibet with regulatory matters affecting its gambling platform across Europe. Raf Schoefs is another key contact.

Fieldfisher’s clients include audio-visual content providers, film producers and distributors, advertising agencies and large telecoms companies. Much of its work revolves around IP, both contentious and non-contentious. Stijn Debaene is ‘extremely effective and client oriented’. IP partner Hakim Haouideg is another contact.

IP litigation firm Hoyng Rokh Monegier represents leading domestic and international companies in complex litigation. Clients include PlayRight, Simim and the Belgian Entertainment Association, and the firm also acts for individuals. Fabienne Brison and Benoit Michaux head the team, which includes several highly experienced associates.

time.lex is highly regarded for digital media, while data protection is another strength. In recent work, Edwin Jacobs represented various photographers who are members of California and Berlin-based online software platform Pixsy in damages claims for online infringement of their photos. Geert Somers and Frederic Debusseré are other key names.

Major multinational TMT companies turn to Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP for corporate, competition and IP advice and for representation in complex litigation, often with cross-border aspects. Maurits Dolmans and Francisco Enrique González-Díaz are the names to note.

Front runners in the Belgian sports law landscape’, Cresta advises major domestic and international sports clubs, associations, athletes, coaches and agents. Arnaut Kint has developed a strong practice in eSports. Wouter Janssens and Sébastien Ledure are noted.

Marx, Van Ranst, Vermeersch & Partners has an impressive client portfolio that features film and television companies, agents and celebrities. IP and M&A are mainstays. Peter Marx has expertise in complex and international litigation and Herman Croux has strong experience in the creative industries.

Clients praise Modo advocaten / avocats’ practice for its ‘long-term commitment, flexibility and value-driven service’ and ‘out-of-the-box thinking’. The firm has a strong focus on the creative industries; it acts for artists, agents, producers and managers in the sports, music, film and fashion sectors. Didier Deneuter is highly regarded.


Retail

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The ‘very professional’ team at Altius acts for a range of retailers, including large multinationals and smaller domestic companies, consumer goods manufacturers and suppliers, with a particular emphasis on the fashion and luxury goods sectors. Carmen Verdonck advised several clients on the structuring and restructuring of their retail networks in compliance with national distribution laws and national and EU competition rules. Lieven Peeters is a key contact for real estate-related matters.

At DLA Piper, the ‘legal thinking is combined with a lot of experience’; it is highly recommended for its knowledge of the retail sector, which is among the firm’s global focus areas. The team’s client base includes household-name retailers as well as landlords and investors. Employment partner Eddy Lievens is praised for his ‘in-depth strategic thinking’; real estate specialist Dirk Caestecker is also noted.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick has a well-rounded retail and consumer goods practice; its clients include distributors, outlet stores, retailers and property developers, which turn to the team for advice on commercial agreements, competition issues, regulatory matters and consumer protection advice. Yves Delacroix advised Ikea on the building of two new stores.

Linklaters’ strong presence in the local market combined with its international office network and experience makes it well placed to advise retailers on expansion both domestically and internationally. Its cross-practice team advises on a wealth of issues affecting its retail-sector clients, including IP and brand protection, antitrust and real estate. Competition partner Bernd Meyring coordinates the practice group.

Noted for its ‘very good knowledge’ and ‘pragmatic approach’, Loyens & Loeff has a sizeable retail practice which combines the expertise of a multi-disciplinary group of lawyers to provide assistance in tax, real estate, finance and corporate transactions. In litigation, Yves Van Couter has been representing a luxury clothing and accessories company in a long-running trade mark dispute. Practice head Christophe Laurent and tax specialist Xavier Clarebout are also noted.

McGuireWoods LLP has a broad transactional and contentious retail practice, and has developed strong expertise in distribution and franchising. Other specialisms include environmental law and fair trade practices. Steven Ongena and counsel Pol Cools have been providing ongoing real estate advice to a UK retailer with stores in Europe and Asia; recent work included advising on the early lease termination of a store in Belgium.

Stibbe receives praise for its ‘thorough and reliable advice’ and the fact that ‘several of its lawyers are available at any given time to turn matters around quickly’. 2017 saw the team advising on corporate transactions, commercial agreements, real estate and competition. Clients include The Body Shop, Retail Estates and Aldi. Rudy Nauwelaerts specialises in real estate and leads the practice. Litigators Nicolas Résimont and senior associate Sophie Bourgois, and data protection expert Erik Valgaeren are highly regarded.

Strelia provides ‘an excellent level of service’; the team advises retailers on the establishment and development of their networks in Belgium, and has significant expertise in franchise and distribution law. It counts Carrefour, Burger Brands Belgium and Veritas among its clients. Olivier Clevenbergh ‘reacts quickly and combines legal expertise with business acumen’; Jean-Pierre Fierens is also recommended.


Transport

Index of tables

  1. Industry focus: Transport
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Werner Eyskens - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Vincent Fransen - Fransen Luyten
    • Wim Fransen - Fransen Luyten
    • André Kegels - Kegels & Co Advocaten
    • Frank Roosendaal - Roosendaal Keyzer
    • Marc Van Looveren - Astrea

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Ruud De Houwer - Astrea
    • Jeroen Villé - Leeward
    • Armin Wintein - Leeward

Who Represents Who

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CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

One of the top players in this field’, Astrea has ‘a clear view of all things that have to be considered’ and provides ‘high-quality, profound and complete advice’. The team is highly recommended for shipping disputes and matters involving collisions, wreckage removal and ship arrests, and is also highlighted for its language capabilities, where it is able to advise clients in English, French, Dutch and German. In one recent highlight, the team acted for Federal Public Service Mobility and Transport in litigation proceedings following the collision of the Flinterstar and gas tanker Al Oraiq. Marc Van Looveren and senior associate Ruud De Houwer are ‘strong litigators, achieving positive results for clients’. Louis Verstraeten is also recommended.

Front runners in shipping law’, Fransen Luyten is ‘a true expert in this field’, and ‘provides sound, practical advice very quickly, taking into account the legal and commercial aspects’. 2017 was another busy year for the practice, which advised on numerous high-profile collisions, fires and groundings. The firm is also renowned for its work in cargo and personal injury claims. Other work includes ship finance and contracts. Vincent Fransen is ‘very clear, concise and commercial in his approach’ and Tom Luyten is ‘conscientious and diplomatic’. Seb Couvreur and Alexis Van Cutsem ‘are also well versed in handling cargo claims and other maritime issues’. Wim Fransen is also recommended.

Highly regarded by both clients and peers, Roosendaal Keyzer is a leading firm in maritime law. Based in Antwerp, the firm is regularly instructed by shipping companies, insurers, P&I clubs and cargo companies. Outside of shipping, the firm also has a buoyant transport practice and handles a range of commercial, customs and insurance law matters. Name partners Luc Keyzer and Frank Roosendaal are key contacts; Jorne Adriaensens and Christof Borms also receive praise.

Allen & Overy LLP has the skills and resources to provide public law, corporate, regulatory and litigation support to companies across all subsectors of transport. In shipping, its clients include banks, lenders, shipowners and export credit agencies. In rail and road, the team has handled several major PFI and PPPs. In a recent highlight, Filip Tanghe advised the lenders and the European Investment Bank on the Liège light rail PPP project. The firm also has a strong reputation for its work in the aviation industry. Werner Eyskens is another key contact.

Ambos NBGO Advocaten’s transport department maintains an equal balance between contentious and non-contentious work, and provides a range of administrative, environmental and labour law services to companies in the transport and ports sectors. Its presence in Belgium’s three main seaports – Antwerp, Zeebrugge and Ghent – is a distinguishing feature. Peter Van de Vijver has been acting for key client Port Authority Ghent in litigation that concerns tort liability for port authorities following an incident in which the Hestia ran aground. Ingrid Van Clemen is also recommended.

Transport and logistics boutique Leeward is ‘very hands on’ and provides ‘fantastic results for a reasonable price’. The sizeable team covers the gamut of issues in the shipping, rail and road sectors and also advises its clients on corporate transactions. Clients include A2B Trucking, Inter Ferry Boats, Widem Logistics and Alpha Insurance. Practice head Lino Verbeke, Jeroen Villé and Armin Wintein are recommended.

Yves Lenders’ transport and logistics team at Lydian regularly handles port projects, logistics outsourcing projects and litigation following rail accidents. In a recent case, the team represented Lineas in litigation initiated by Infrabel following the derailment of a train in the south of Belgium.

Antwerp-based firm Bettens De Cocker Van Hemelen Advocaten focuses on transport law, particularly maritime and admiralty. Name partners Paul Bettens, Yves De Cocker and Wim Van Hemelen are the key contacts.

Under the leadership of Bob Martens, DLA Piper is active in the field of transport, including aviation, ports, harbours, rail and light rail. It benefits from an office in Antwerp as well as Brussels, and is also regularly engaged in EU-wide and multi-jurisdictional work. Carole Maczkovics ‘provides very comprehensive and very understandable advice regarding transport and logistics regulations’.

Specialist shipping and transport firm Kegels & Co Advocaten operates from Antwerp. In maritime, its practice takes in customs, collisions, ship arrests and cargo claims, and it also offers customs, trade and general corporate law advice. André Kegels receives praise.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick’s transport department is led by counsel Jean Pierre Kesteloot, whose practice takes in aviation, shipping, railway, insurance and tourism law. Clients include DHL, Eurostar and national railway company NMBS/SNCB.

Norton Rose Fulbright advises on state aid, public procurement and competition issues in the transport sector, often receiving instructions from international clients in EU-wide transactions. Christian Filippitsch advised Samvardhana Motherson on the antitrust and merger control aspects connected with the company’s European expansion.

Well versed in rail, road and infrastructure projects, Stibbe has an active transport practice, which also handles corporate transactions and litigation. France Maussion and Bruno Lombaert have been advising Brussels public transport company STIB-MIVB on several matters, including the development of a tram depot.

HFW is most renowned for its aviation practice, though its transportation work also extends to the rail and road subsector, where it is particularly active in procurement. Pierre Frühling and Stéphanie Golinvaux are the names to note.

In Belgium, Kennedys’ primary focus is on aviation, though its rail sector capabilities were bolstered significantly by the arrival of former strategy and legal director at high speed train operator Thalys Sandro Löw. In significant international developments, the firm merged with marine specialist firm Waltons & Morse in August 2016.

Shipping and maritime law constitutes a core focus area at Van Aerde & Partners, where its work encompasses salvage, ship arrest, ship construction and carriage of goods by road and sea. Clive Van Aerde leads the team.


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