Firm Profile > Lydian > Brussels, Belgium

Lydian
TOUR & TAXIS
HAVENLAAN, AVENUE DU PORT 86C, B113
1000 BRUSSELS
Belgium

Insurance Tier 1

Lydian maintains its status as Belgium's outstanding insurance law firm, with recent instructions on both Brexit-related matters and disputes arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, including advising AIG on possible coverage under a business interruption endorsement policy taken out by TCR International, following the enforced closure of a terminal at Madrid-Barajas Airport. Hugo Keulers, who 'has reached legendary status in the Belgian market' as the 'go-to lawyer for any insurance issue', and Sandra Lodewijckx are at the helm of an 'impressive team' which 'consistently demonstrates both technical acumen and a keen sense of customer service' in further liability and fraud-oriented cases.

Practice head(s):

Hugo Keulers; Sandra Lodewijckx

Testimonials

‘Hugo Keulers is the go-to lawyer for any insurance issue in Belgium.’

‘Hands-on, pragmatic and great skills.’

‘Sandra Lodewijckx has good market insights, great skills and is the best in her discipline.’

‘Always available and well known in the insurance market.’

‘The best way to describe Lydian: they make our job easier. They have in-depth knowledge on all insurance-related topics and the skills to navigate coverage and liability issues.’

Hugo Keulers has reached legendary status in the Belgian insurance market. His vast knowledge combined with very solid strategic support, based upon his years of experience in the market, always prove valuable.

‘Lydian provides excellent analysis, advice and legal services in relation to highly complex, high-value cases in the Belgian market. Hugo Keulers and his impressive team consistently demonstrate both technical acumen and a keen sense of customer service. Very good coverage analysis.’

Key clients

AIG Europe

HDI-Gerling Verzekeringen

XL Catlin/XL Catlin Insurance Company SE/XL Catlin Services SE, now: Financial Insurance Company td. c/o AXA

Amlin Insurance

Zurich Insurance

CNA Insurance Company

Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance (Global)

Aon Belgium BVBA / Aon Consulting Belgium

Ergo Insurance

Ethias

Belfius Insurance

Baloise Belgium

AEGON

Qover

Allianz Global Corporate

P&V Verzekeringen

SEB Life International Assurance Company

Dual Corporate Risks

ARAG SE – Branch Belgium

DAS Belgische Rechtsbijstandsverzekering

Hiscox Europe Underwriting Limited

STIB-MIVB

TVM België

Liberty Mutual Group

Beluga Insurance Solutions

Alta Signa Group

Immoweb Financial Services

Arval

DKV

Euler Hermes

Nationale Nederlanden

Alpha Insurance

Mitsui

Beazley Furlonge

Dispute resolution Tier 2

Lydian's 'committed' team stands out for its 'excellent technical expertise and good strategic thinking'. The 'very responsive' group counts insurance litigation as a core strength of the practice; arbitration, product liability cases, and corporate and commercial litigation are also noted areas of expertise. Hugo Keulers is 'exceptionally professional, service-minded and knows the industry perfectly well'; he shares leadership of the practice with commercial law expert Annick Mottet Haugaard. Counsel Jo Willems is 'extremely able', 'a perfect combination of technical expertise and a practical solution-driven approach'.

Practice head(s):

Hugo Keulers; Annick Mottet Haugaard

Other key lawyers:

Jo Willems

Testimonials

Excellent service. Good insurance knowledge and extremely responsive. Clear and prompt advice‘.

Very pragmatic and practical‘.

Professional, very knowledgeable and service-minded team‘.

Professionals that provide no-nonsense legal advice. Straight to the point problem-solvers‘.

Excellent industry knowledge of the insurance sector, both from the perspective of the insurers and of the policyholders‘.

Hugo Keulers and Jo Willems – very responsive, excellent insurance knowledge‘.

Key clients

CooperSurgical

Nike

Tractebel

Zurich Insurance

Toyota

Employment Tier 2

At Lydian, Alexander Vandenbergen ('a first-class employment lawyer') heads up the practice with Jan Hofkens. Hofkens is 'a very skilled negotiator with regard to handling dismissals and collective agreements matters, backed by his broad knowledge and in-depth understanding of employment law issues'. Recent mandates included large-scale pensions work, dismissals, restructurings and compliance-related matters. Kato Aerts' 'knowledge of international employment law is exceptional'.

Practice head(s):

Jan Hofkens; Alexander Vandenbergen

Other key lawyers:

Kato Aerts

Testimonials

Kato Aerts is very commercial and responsive. Her written work is concise and clear‘.

Professionals that provide no-nonsense legal advice. Straight to the point problem-solvers‘.

Lydian’s lawyers have a very practical approach‘.

Very client-oriented, solution-driven, fast response time‘.

Alexander Vandenbergen has superb industry knowledge‘.

Kato Aerts is an exceptional and ambitious young lawyer. She is extremely responsive, reliable and dedicated‘.

Alexander Vandenbergen has a particular focus on pension schemes. He is one of the most dedicated specialists in this area‘.

Kato Aerts is a skilled lawyer who gives clear and to the point advice‘.

Key clients

Henrad

Essenscia

Sabam

Baloise

UPS

British American Tobacco

Scandinavian Tobacco Group

The Walt Disney Company

Nike

Takeda

Environment Tier 2

The 'very responsive' Wouter Neven heads up the team at Lydian, which stands out for its 'thorough expertise' in contentious and non-contentious environmental matters. The group handles environment-related litigation before the Council of State and the Flemish Council for Permit Disputes. On the non-contentious side, the team has particular strengths in advising on the environmental aspects of real estate transactions, waste management and permits, among other areas. Senior associate Kyoto Van Herreweghe is 'intelligent, fast-thinking, a great strategist and easy-going'. In February 2020, senior associate Mehdy Abbas Khayli moved to the Paris office of Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I..

Practice head(s):

Wouter Neven

Other key lawyers:

Kyoto Van Herreweghe

Testimonials

Lydian’s approach is all about being committed, available, responsive and proactive‘.

Kyoto Van Herreweghe is a very knowledgeable and competent lawyer – strategic thinker and takes a practical approach by involving environmental agencies‘.

Wouter Neven’s calm demeanour makes him easy to work with and makes him effective in persuading people to his point of view‘.

Fraud and white-collar crime Tier 2

Lydian's fraud and white-collar crime team has a strong track record during litigation proceedings and, particularly, with overseeing allegations of employee fraud. Co-led by Brussels-based pair Hugo Keulers and Jan Hofkens, and Antwerp-based Yves Lenders, the practice handles matters featuring privacy claims, whistle-blowing and dismissals for cause. Keulers has expertise in complex insurance and reinsurance disputes, with employment partner Hofkens leading on internal investigations and issues following company restructurings, while Lenders – a trained mediator – handles cases regarding criminal liability of directors and any workplace contractual concerns.

Practice head(s):

Hugo Keulers; Jan Hofkens; Yves Lenders

Intellectual property Tier 2

Lydian covers the gamut of contentious and non-contentious IP work for clients in relation to trade marks, copyright, designs and patents. It is particularly noted for a strong track record in IP litigation, and is also seen as a major player on anti-counterfeiting in the Benelux region. Clients of the practice include entities operating in areas such as luxury goods, insurance and life sciences, among others. In a significant development, Olivia Santantonio was promoted to counsel in January 2020. She is experienced when representing IP rights holders in opposition or cancellation proceedings, as well as matters concerning the invalidity of trade marks. Annick Mottet Haugaard and Bastiaan Bruyndonckx co-head the team, whose recent work included representing Prada during opposition proceedings against Dutch company Interplant Roses over a trade mark application made by the latter.

Practice head(s):

Annick Mottet Haugaard; Bastiaan Bruyndonckx

Other key lawyers:

Olivia Santantonio

Testimonials

‘Long-standing team at Lydian has represented us for years. Good mix of juniors to keep costs minimised, but outstanding partner contact.’

‘Annick Haugaard is a key contact and an expert. Always responsive and commercial with advice.’

Key clients

Omega

Nardi

Coyote Systems

Prada

République Studio

Burberry

Toyota

Pizza Hut

Fédération des Entreprises de Belgique

Breitling

Audermars Piguet

Real estate and construction Tier 2

Lydian's 'strong, deep, diverse' team is 'very approachable'. It demonstrates strong capabilities advising national and international clients on developer and investor-side matters. Department head Wouter Neven is a 'strong strategic thinker' who provides 'commercially and technically excellent, realistic advice'. Counsel Bruno Stroobants is 'attentive to complicated matters and is very willing to work hard'. Senior associate Anne-Victoire Vandekerckhove is 'an accurate, commercially-minded and results-focused lawyer with a can-do attitude'.

Practice head(s):

Wouter Neven

Other key lawyers:

Bruno Stroobants; Anne-Victoire Vandekerckhove

Testimonials

Anne-Victoire Vandekerckhove is very driven and has exceptional communication skills‘.

Wouter Neven displays an excellent ability to effectively manage complex real estate matters‘. 

Wouter Neven is very responsive and I have never had to chase him for work product or responses. His calm demeanour makes him easy to work with and makes him effective in persuading people to his point of view.

Bruno Stroobants is smart, thorough, aggressive, and a great strategist‘.

Wouter Neven is exceptionally strong in his field of expertise‘. 

Bruno Stroobants is very knowledgeable, very responsive and highly commercial‘.

Key clients

Baloise Belgium

BNP Paribas Fortis

Logistics Capital Partners

Leasinvest Real Estate

Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 3

Lydian's 'very commercial and efficient' team is strong in trade and export finance, asset-based lending, asset finance and project finance. The client roster includes international and domestic financial institutions, investment funds and companies drawn from a broad range of sectors. Debt and equity capital markets matters are another cornerstone area of expertise for the practice. The 'very experienced and responsive' Tom Geudens heads up the department. Counsel Caroline Hoste, senior associate Dries Leirs and associate Achille Lemey are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Tom Geudens

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Hoste; Dries Leirs; Achille Lemey

Testimonials

Tom Geudens is very responsive and user-friendly‘.

Timely, good quality advice delivered in a sharp and easily digestible format‘.

It is the responsiveness, the “user-friendly” nature of the advice and the quality of work product which makes Lydian stand out. Tom Geudens heads the team and is very ably supported by Caroline Hoste, Dries Leirs and Achille Lemey, all of whom seem to embody Tom’s qualities in terms of striving to always deliver a top-notch service. Always a pleasure to work with‘.

They are very proactive and deliver great service. Deadlines are consistently met comfortably and advice is clear and concise‘.

Tom Geudens is excellent. He is technically strong and a good communicator. He has surrounded himself with excellent associates‘.

Key clients

Deutsche Bank

Commerzbank

Argenta Bank

White Rock Insurance

AIG Europe

Zurich Insurance

Belfius Bank

Société Générale

Crédit Agricole

Ethias

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 3

Lydian's practice mainly focuses on mid and upper mid-market M&A and private equity transactions, with its other work covering joint ventures, governance (and other corporate) advice and equity capital markets transactions. Under the leadership of group head Peter De Ryck, the firm has become a key source of referral work from US, UK and European law firms. It also generates mandates on a standalone basis from strategic investors, portfolio companies, corporate finance houses and private equity firms, among other clients. Counsel Florence Colpaert is another key individual in the team, which has undergone significant expansion at associate level. Patrick della Faille joined Faber Inter.

Practice head(s):

Peter De Ryck

Other key lawyers:

Florence Calpaert

Testimonials

Small team, with a strong and dedicated focus on delivering the service. Strong involvement and knowledge of the transaction from senior partner, at all stages of the transaction.

Lydian is an excellent law firm. Key contact in the corporate team is Peter De Ryck. Peter is an excellent lawyer, who takes a very practical and client-friendly approach. His commercial thinking makes any advice outstanding!

You have the expertise of a top law firm and the rates of a smaller one, which is of course to the benefit of the client.

Florence has an in-depth knowledge of corporate law and has a hands-on and pragmatic approach.

I work on a regular basis with Peter De Ryck (partner) and Florence Colpaert (senior counsel). Qualities : they think along, easily accessible, technically competent, solution-driven…

Peter de Ryck is a go-to partner for Belgian corporate work, functions as an extension of international law firms in Belgium, outstanding.

The practice has a very strong domestic footprint and can bring advice in all areas of law. Lawyers are responsive and efficient.

Key clients

Dana

Hitachi

House of HR

JP Morgan

LabCorp

Naxicap Partners

Novelis

Orange Belgium

Proximus

Technicolor

Hartree

Bell Food

Valsoft

European Dental Group

Vivalto

La Financière Patrimoniale d’Investissement (LFPI)

Waterland Private Equity

Yale University

Industry focus: IT and telecoms Tier 3

Clients appreciate Lydian's telecoms, media and technology team for its 'speed of giving dedicated advice in an informal way' on transactional, advisory and contentious matters across the sector. Practice head Bastiaan Bruyndonckx is 'to-the-point, pragmatic, and a specialist in drafting and negotiating IT contracts', as well as in data protection and cybersecurity matters. The group continues to receive referrals from foreign firms and also benefits from its ability to work with the IP, corporate, commercial and employment teams.

Practice head(s):

Bastiaan Bruyndonckx

Testimonials

Bastaan Bruyndonckx is to-the-point, pragmatic, and a specialist in drafting and negotiating IT contracts.’

‘Very pleasant, open, dedicated and flexible communication. Clear advice without making it unnecessarily complicated.’

A big plus is the speed of giving dedicated advice in an informal way.’

Lydian is a smaller practice with the same level of experience as the big law firms. This is reflected in the level of fees which are of course to the benefit of the clients.’

Bastiaan Bruyndonckx has a strong knowledge of our business and, of course, of the IT and telecoms domain. He is always on standby for his clients and easy to reach. He is very responsive, hands-on and very pragmatic.’

Key clients

Orange

MetaSwitch

Telekom Deutschland

Plivo Inc.

Ctac

Plume Design

PSA Antwerp

Proximus

Industry focus: Transport Tier 3

Lydian's port and logistics department comprises corporate, commercial, insurance and real estate experts, meaning it is well equipped to advise on logistics outsourcings, transport-related accidents and associated damages cases, alongside new infrastructure projects and developments. Yves Lenders heads the practice – which counts Lineas Group as its foremost client – with notable experience in litigation and contracts accompanying his general focus on the railway sector.

Practice head(s):

Yves Lenders

Key clients

Lineas

De Lijn

STIB-MIVB

Water-link OV

Insolvency and restructuring Tier 3

Lydian is best known for advising on corporate restructurings and domestic and cross-border workforce reorganisations, as well as the recovery of assets from distressed companies. Practice head Yves Lenders handles both transactional and litigation matters, specifically advising directors and shareholders on insolvency-related liabilities.

Practice head(s):

Yves Lenders

Key clients

CASA International

Dessange International

Schletter GmbH

Orica NL

The firm: Lydian is a full-service Belgian business law firm with an Anglo-Saxon approach to practising law. Through a fine blend of transactional law expertise and litigation skills, we deliver straight to-the-point solutions that add true value.

We listen to what is important and provide practical and personalised advice in a constantly changing world. That requires fresh thinking and tech savviness combined with proven experience. We believe that when knowledge travels, opportunities arise. We think client-focused, act fast and speak frankly in a language that you understand. We make sense, not nonsense. Expect accessible personalities, open minds and a pragmatic bullet point approach.

From our offices in Brussels, Antwerp and Hasselt, we work as an extension of your team. Our lawyers cherish a close client-lawyer relationship, while their sophisticated approach outperforms the service of many competitors. Lydian believes in integrity, authenticity and consistency.

Our mission is to find solutions through excellent legal insight and strong business instinct. That is how we exceed expectations, deliver consistent results and forge long-term relationships with industry leaders.

Areas of practice: Lydian advises on a broad range of Belgian business law matters, including corporate matters, commercial matters, intellectual property (IP) law, information and communication technology (ICT), information governance and data protection (privacy) law, dispute resolution, employment, real estate, regulatory matters and tax.

The firm’s lawyers have specialised expertise in the fields of finance, insolvency and restructuring, energy, public sector, insurance and reinsurance, life sciences and healthcare, outsourcing, ports and logistics, pensions, real estate development, investments and telecommunications, media and technology (TMT).

For more information, visit www.lydian.be

Department Name Email Telephone
Commercial and litigation Annick Mottet Haugaard
Commercial and litigation Hugo Keulers
Commercial and litigation Yves Lenders
Commercial and litigation Sandra Lodewijckx
Commercial and litigation Bastiaan Bruyndonckx
Commercial and litigation Jo Willems
Corporate Peter De Ryck
Dispute resolution Hugo Keulers
Dispute resolution Annick Mottet Haugaard
Dispute resolution Yves Lenders
Dispute resolution Jo Willems
Employment, pensions and benefits Jan Hofkens
Employment, pensions and benefits Alexander Vandenbergen
Employment, pensions and benefits Isabel Plets
Employment, pensions and benefits Jurgen De Vreese
Finance Tom Geudens
Intellectual property (IP) Annick Mottet Haugaard
Information and communication technology (ICT) Bastiaan Bruyndonckx
Information governance and data protection Bastiaan Bruyndonckx
Information governance and data protection Annick Mottet Haugaard
Information governance and data protection Isabel Plets
Insurance Hugo Keulers
Insurance Sandra Lodewijckx
Ports and logistics Yves Lenders
Real estate, environment and regulatory Wouter Neven
Real estate, environment and regulatory Jens Debièvre
Tax Geert De Neef
Photo Name Position Profile
Mrs Kato Aerts  photo Mrs Kato Aerts Kato Aerts is a Counsel in our Employment, Pensions and Benefits practice.
Mrs Eveline Ankaert  photo Mrs Eveline Ankaert Dr. Eveline Ankaert is a counsel in our Employment, Pensions & Benefits practice and…
Mr Bastiaan Bruyndonckx  photo Mr Bastiaan Bruyndonckx Bastiaan has a particular focus on: information governance data protection and privacy…
Mr Maxime Colle  photo Mr Maxime Colle Maxime has a particular focus on: corporate M&A   corporate law  …
Mrs Florence Colpaert  photo Mrs Florence Colpaert Florence is a Counsel in the Corporate and M&A practice.
Mr Geert De Neef  photo Mr Geert De Neef Geert has a particular focus on all tax aspects of: M&A and …
Mr Marijn De Ruysscher photo Mr Marijn De Ruysscher Marijn De Ruysscher is a counsel in our Commercial and Dispute Resolution practices and our Insurance &…
Mr Peter De Ryck  photo Mr Peter De Ryck Peter has a particular focus on: corporate law mergers and acquisitions private…
Mr Jurgen De Vreese  photo Mr Jurgen De Vreese Jurgen is a counsel in the Employment, Pensions & Benefits practice.
 Jens Debièvre  photo Jens Debièvre Jens has a particular focus on economic public law. Jens advises government…
Mrs Lore Derdeyn  photo Mrs Lore Derdeyn Lore Derdeyn is a Counsel in our Regulatory practice and our Public Sector industry department.
 Héloïse Fostier  photo Héloïse Fostier Héloïse is a counsel in our Commercial and Dispute Resolution practice and our Insurance &…
Mr Tom Geudens  photo Mr Tom Geudens Tom has a particular focus on: Asset based lending Asset finance Acquisition…
Mrs Iris Hemelaer  photo Mrs Iris Hemelaer Iris is a counsel in the Real Estate, Environment & Regulatory practice
Mr Jan Hofkens  photo Mr Jan Hofkens Jan is a Partner in Lydian’s Employment, Pensions & Benefits practice. He…
Mrs Caroline Hoste photo Mrs Caroline Hoste Caroline is a counsel in the Corporate & Finance practice and a…
Mr Hugo Keulers  photo Mr Hugo Keulers Hugo is a partner in the Commercial and Dispute Resolution practices and…
Mr Yves Lenders  photo Mr Yves Lenders Yves is a partner in the Commercial & Litigation practice, where he…
Mrs Sandra Lodewijckx  photo Mrs Sandra Lodewijckx Sandra is a partner in the Commercial and Dispute Resolution practices and…
Mrs Annick Mottet Haugaard  photo Mrs Annick Mottet Haugaard Annick is a partner in the Commercial & Litigation practice and heads…
Mr Wouter Neven  photo Mr Wouter Neven Wouter is a partner in the Real Estate, Environment & Regulatory practice,…
Mrs Isabel Plets photo Mrs Isabel Plets Isabel Plets is Of Counsel in the Employment, Pensions & Benefits practice.
Mrs Olivia Santantonio photo Mrs Olivia Santantonio Olivia Santantonio is a counsel in Lydian’s IP practice and our Data…
Mr Bruno Stroobants  photo Mr Bruno Stroobants Bruno is a counsel in the Real Estate, Environment & Regulatory practice.
Mr Alexander Vandenbergen  photo Mr Alexander Vandenbergen Alexander is a partner in the Employment, Pensions & Benefits practice and…
Mr Jo Willems  photo Mr Jo Willems Jo is a Counsel in the Commercial & Litigation practice.
Number of lawyers : 85
Dutch
English
French
German
Spanish
Other offices : Antwerp
Other offices : Hasselt

Jan Hofkens, Partner

The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence.

What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capability?

In a law firm, it is all about teamwork and people. You can only deliver high quality services to your clients when you have a strong team of experienced and talented lawyers around you. I am very proud of the team of 18 employment lawyers that we have created over the years, which is known for is hard and qualitative work, but where we also have a lot of fun. This team allows us to tackle the most complex employment issues and handle very demanding projects within tight timeframes. I consider this as one of the greatest achievements in my career.

What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?

We consider ourselves as business partners to our clients. We are not only there to give the correct legal input (this is the Olympic minimum), but we go the extra mile and always try to translate the complex legal framework into practical and useful solutions. We take into account the clients specific needs, the company culture, the industrial relations and the client’s business goals. Straight and to-the-point advice is the hallmark of Lydian, and we try to prove this every day.

I am often more a sounding board for my clients, discussing the tactical approach in a file and the way forward. We invest a lot in long-term relationships with clients, which allows us to put the client’s questions always in a broader perspective.

Moreover, we consider employment law not as a niche on its own, but embedded in the broader legal landscape. There are always connections with other areas, such as corporate law, commercial contracts, criminal law, etc. Being part of a full service law firm allows our team of employment lawyers to include these aspects in the advice to our clients, which ultimately results in better and more complete advice.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The legal profession is challenging and not always easy, but you can learn fast if you are open to new challenges. As employment lawyers, you are dealing with one of the most (if not the most) important assets of a company, and involved in the core business of the client. It allows you to get involved in various types of companies in different industries, which broadens your experience and views. Be open for these experiences, and, last but not least, enjoy!

Can you give me a practical example of how helped a client add value to the business?

Good social relations are crucial for a company to deliver better business results. I dare to say that we contribute to these social relations in our daily advisory, especially when we are involved in difficult

restructuring projects. Getting the project done within a tight timeframe, at the budgeted cost and without (too much) industrial nuisance, is of great value to our clients.

For some international clients, we set up a customized alliance of law firms to service their international needs in various countries. This is always done with the help of our good friends, and our strong relations with law firms in other countries which are crucial to make this a success. We have developed IT tools and platforms to facilitate such alliances, which streamlines the work for the client, making our services more transparent and contributes to knowledge sharing and quality improvement. Ultimately this results in more efficiency and lower legal spend. Being able to propose and implement such an approach to international needs, strengthens the long-term relation with the client, and results in better performance of legal services.

Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for clients over the next 12 months?

The covid-19 pandemic had of course a tremendous impact on our clients and their business. For heavily impacted industry sectors, we expect a wave of restructurings and downsizings. The large and expensive social plans will often be replaced by recovery plans for companies in distress.

In addition, covid-19 has made us reflects about the workplace of the future and HR 2.0. New forms of organization will be a hot topic, such as telework and remote working. New legislation has been introduced to cope with challenges on wellbeing at the workplace.

Finally, the #metoo end #ustoo movements, and its impact on the legal landscape, will remain a hot topic. We already see more focus on company’s policies and risk assessments in the context of due diligence and transactions. A safe work environment, with respect of the employer’s duty of care, will be an important topic. It also triggers issues such as investing in life-long training and education, wellbeing at the workplace, diversity in the workforce, new forms of employment beyond the traditional borders of employer subordination, etc. New concepts will have to be developed to structure the more flexible employment relation for a younger generation with different expectations, approach, attitude and work ethics. We help our clients to think out of the box and design the workforce of the future.

Wouter Neven, Partner

The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence.

What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capability?

In the fast-paced and competitive world of real estate in which our clients have to do business, they need confidence, pragmatism and speed. We succeed in delivering this with high-quality services to our clients thanks to a strong, motivated and well-oiled team of experienced and talented lawyers. I am very proud of the great team of more than 20 highly motivated real estate lawyers that we have built up over the years. The team hangs together tremendously and is known in the market for its hard work and high-quality work, but we also enjoy it a lot. The client feels this fantastic atmosphere and can appreciate it enormously. This team enables us to tackle the most complex real estate issues and handle very demanding projects within tight deadlines. I consider this to be one of the greatest achievements of my career.

What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?

We consider ourselves business partners for our customers. Not only are we there to provide the right legal input (this is the Olympic minimum), but we always go the extra mile and try to translate the complex legal framework into practical and usable solutions. We take into account the specific needs of the client, the corporate culture, the market and the client’s business objectives. Direct and to-the-point advice is Lydian’s trademark, and we try to prove it every day.

I am also very often a sounding board for my clients, discussing the tactical approach in a case and the way forward. We invest a lot in long-term relationships with clients, so we can always put the client’s questions in a broader perspective.

We also often offer our clients business opportunities. When we see these, we contact our clients and bring them into contact with other players. They appreciate this enormously.

We will put the interests of our clients first in every advice and also take a position. Clients don’t expect long advice where they don’t know how to proceed at the end of it. We really help them choose and always dare to take a position, which customers greatly appreciate.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The legal profession is challenging and not always easy, but you can learn quickly if you are open to new challenges. The real estate world is a hard world where everything goes very fast. At the same time, you can live and work at 200km/hour together with your clients. Be open to these experiences and, last but not least, enjoy them!

But do make room and certainly time for the friendships that also exist in this world. The real estate world consists of many fascinating people and you can work with them and/or be friends in a fantastic experience.

Can you give me a practical example of how helped a client add value to the business?

In the real estate world, being able to respond quickly to opportunities is crucial. Anticipating (preferably before competitors do) is also crucial for a real estate company to achieve better operating results. I dare to say that in our daily advice we contribute to the quick discovery and/or secureness of these opportunities.

For some international clients, we set up a customized alliance of law firms to service their international needs in various countries. This is always done with the help of our good friends, and our strong relations with law firms in other countries which are crucial to make this a success. We have developed IT tools and platforms to facilitate such alliances, which streamlines the work for the client, making our services more transparent and contributing to knowledge sharing and quality improvement. Ultimately this results in more efficiency and lower legal spend. Being able to propose and implement such an approach to international needs, strengthens the long-term relation with the client, and results in better performance of legal services.

Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for clients over the next 12 months?

The challenge for the next 12 months is a potential financial and economic crisis. The corona virus has turned the world completely upside down. The question is how financing and transactions will evolve even further

Not only the owners but also the users of commercial real estate are hit hard by this crisis.

Everyone will have to do their part. This will be a huge challenge for the real estate world and the business world in general.

Alexander Vandenbergen, Partner

What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capability?

In 2001 I started a new law firm, called Lydian. The aim was to create a full-service Belgian independent law firm operating in an international context. Today, 20 years later, we have realized our dream and more than that: Lydian has become one of the leading Belgian independent full service law firms.

Moreover, the employment pensions & benefits team is recognized as a top player in the market. I am very proud of the team of 17 employment and pensions & benefits lawyers that we have created over the years, which is known for is hard and qualitative work, but where we also have a lot of fun. This team allows us to tackle the most complex employment and pensions & benefits issues and handle very demanding projects within tight timeframes. I consider this as one of the greatest achievements in my career.

What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?

We consider ourselves as business partners to our clients. We are not only there to give the correct legal input (this is the Olympic minimum), but we go the extra mile and always try to translate the complex legal framework into practical and useful solutions. We take into account the clients specific needs, the company culture, the industrial relations and the client’s business goals. Straight and to-the-point advice is the hallmark of Lydian, and we try to prove this every day.

I am often more a sounding board for my clients, discussing the tactical approach in a file and the way forward. We invest a lot in long-term relationships with clients, which allows us to put the client’s questions always in a broader perspective.

Moreover, we consider employment and pensions & benefits law not as a niche on its own, but embedded in the broader legal landscape. There are always connections with other areas, such as corporate law, tax law, insurance law, commercial contracts, criminal law, etc. Being part of a full service law firm with a specific focus on the financial services industry allows our team of employment and pensions & benefits lawyers to include these aspects in the advice to our clients, which ultimately results in better and more complete advice.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t wait until you’re 50 before thinking about realizing your dreams.

The legal profession is challenging and not always easy, but you can learn fast if you take matters in your own hands and are open to new challenges.

Can you give me a practical example of how helped a client add value to the business?

Good social relations are crucial for a company to deliver better business results. I dare to say that we contribute to these social relations in our daily advisory, especially when we are involved in difficult restructuring projects. Getting the project done within a tight timeframe, at the budgeted cost and without (too much) industrial nuisance, is of great value to our clients.

For some international clients, we set up a customized alliance of law firms to service their international needs in various countries. This is always done with the help of our good friends, and our strong relations with law firms in other countries which are crucial to make this a success. We have developed IT tools and platforms to facilitate such alliances, which streamlines the work for the client, making our services more transparent and contributes to knowledge sharing and quality improvement. Ultimately this results in more efficiency and lower legal spend. Being able to propose and implement such an approach to international needs, strengthens the long-term relation with the client, and results in better performance of legal services.

Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for clients over the next 12 months?

The war for talent is back: there is a shortage on the labour market, especially for a large number of so-called bottleneck positions. This is a growing challenge for many employers, and will inevitably have an impact on recruitment and the way employers deal with their workforce. It triggers issues such as hiring employees from other countries to get the job done, investing in life-long training and education, wellbeing at the workplace, diversity in the workforce, new forms of employment beyond the traditional borders of employer subordination, etc. New concepts will have to be developed to structure the more flexible employment relation for a younger generation with different expectations, approach, attitude and work ethics. The Corona pandemic has, most certainly accelerated a number of these new ways of working

We help our clients to think out of the box and design the workforce of the future.