Dechert LLP > Brussels, Belgium > Firm Profile

Dechert LLP

Belgium > Competition: EU and global Tier 3

Dechert LLP handles European clearances for large-scale global mergers, acting for a number of international clients based in Europe, the US, and East Asia, alongside representing major players in the tech sector in behavioural investigations and litigation before European courts. The team is led by Alec Burnside, a ‘renowned expert‘ with a strong record in behavioural investigations, alongside Clemens Graf York von Wartenburg, who has a particular focus on international merger clearances and abuse of dominance cases. Counsel Michael Okkonen is also noted for his merger control work, while Marjolein De Backer has notable expertise across the airline, energy and natural resources, and financial services sectors.

Practice head(s):

Alec Burnside; Mike Cowie; Steven Bizar


‘Good, effective and experienced team.’

‘Alec Burnside is an experienced team leader and a renowned expert in European law.’

‘Consistently reliable, practical, detailed’

‘Alec Burnside has been with us on competition issues since the formation of our company twenty years ago and has been consistently excellent’

‘Excellent skills of the team, dedication to the client, thorough knowledge of the business.’

‘Alec Burnside and Clemens York are excellent lawyers, with great availability, pragmatic solutions, excellent contacts with all in the business (from the commercial, operational executive and corporate teams). They are very close to the files which they handle and show amazing dedication to their clients.’

‘We appreciate in particular the flexibility, availability and fast-paced work that is produced by the team at Dechert LLP.’

‘We fully appreciate their availability and their way of communicating in a manner that is always pleasant, transparent, straightforward and efficient.’

Key clients

American Express Global Travel Business

Crown Holdings, Inc.

Coal Marketing Company

Columna Capital

Fair Trade Advocacy Office

Huhtamaki Oyi

J.P. Morgan


MiddleGround Capital

Nordic Capital

One Equity Partners


Sk hynix

Yelp, Inc.


Work highlights

  • Advised Crown Holding on the merger control aspects of the sale of its European Tinplate business to KPS Capital Partners, LP.
  • Advising Huhtamaki Oyi on cartel damages claims and various strategic projects.  
  • Advising GBT on its equity recapitalisation in relation to the Carlyle led consortium’s acquisition of a stake in GBT from the Certares-led consortium.

Belgium > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 4

Dechert LLP advises domestic and international clients, including public and private companies, on M&A, joint ventures, exits, and corporate governance issues, with notable strengths in cross-border transactions and advice to family offices. The team has sector expertise in pharma and life sciences, and is also active in the TMT and e-commerce spaces. Practice head Eric Deltour has extensive transactional experience across Europe, the US and Asia.

Practice head(s):

Eric Deltour

Other key lawyers:

Geoffroy Fink


‘The team is comprised of very qualified and experienced lawyers who are able to easily familiarize themselves with the deal dynamics and commercial/strategic aspects alongside legal aspects.’

‘They are able to provide full scope assistance handling matters from a wider perspective beyond the level of just giving proper legal advice.’

‘They are attentive to timing requirements and are notably responsive in that respect.’

‘We have specifically worked with Eric Deltour and Geoffroy Fink on many occasions, who acted almost like in-house team players. They are great lawyers and great team players giving the the client a sense of security and confidence throughout the deal. While they have represented us on many occasions, we have also worked with them as our lawyers of the counter party. They can be reasonably amenable to the needs of both sides and are notably pragmatic and constructive in negotiations.’

‘They really know you. Very good emotional intelligence.’

‘Fantastic knowledge and looking for solutions.’


Dechert has maintained a strong presence at the heart of Europe for nearly half a century. We opened an office in Brussels in 1968, becoming one of the first U.S. law firms to establish a base in the European Union’s administrative and regulatory hub.

The city’s pivotal location and its advanced connectivity with other European business centers draw a host of companies from the continent’s most complex and highly regulated industries.

Multinational and domestic undertakings, governmental authorities and institutions rely on our expertise in devising innovative solutions to their most testing challenges and call on us, too, when facing complex litigation or other disputes.

We provide commercial advice, not just legal advice.

Our timely counsel spans industries as diverse as:

  • energy and clean technology
  • mining and metals
  • real estate
  • infrastructure
  • life sciences
  • aviation
  • technology, media & telecommunications
  • banking and financial services
  • chemical
  • food and beverage

Our Brussels lawyers are qualified to represent clients before the European Commission and before European and Belgian regulators, authorities and courts. We are also qualified to practice in numerous EU Member States.

Many of the team serve as honorary professors, scientific scholars or research fellows.

Our advanced linguistic capabilities allow us to provide legal advice in English, French, Dutch or German with equal dexterity. We also work comfortably in a number of other languages.


Office Managing Partner Eric 2 535 5418
Number of lawyers : Approximately 1000 worldwide

Dechert has a multinational identity that is fundamentally diverse. The firm’s commitments to diversity and inclusion are not simply words written on a website – they are guiding principles that all those at Dechert should live by every day. The numbers speak for themselves – 43% of our Policy Committee (the senior management team) are women or diverse partners, 62% of the lawyers promoted to partner in January 2021 are women or diverse, and 77% of the most recent incoming class – Dechert’s future – are women or diverse.

The following are just some of the key measures that Dechert has undertaken to improve diversity and inclusion at the firm.

Affinity Groups
To effect change, affinity groups identify and address diversity and inclusion-related issues, and create new and recurring programming focused on the attainment of professional and business development skills. They offer enhanced mentoring opportunities, retreats and educational workshop for diverse attorneys. Our affinity groups include:

  • Asian Affinity Group
  • Black Lawyers Alliance
  • Dechert’s Family Network
  • Global Women’s Initiative
  • Latino Affinity Group
  • LGBTQ Affinity Group
  • Dechert Heroes (Veterans Affinity Group)

Aspiring Solicitors
Dechert is an Affiliate Partner of Aspiring Solicitors (AS). 2020/2021 marks the fifth successful year of Dechert’s sponsorship of the organization’s national Commercial Awareness Competition, with the winners offered a vacation scheme and opportunity to interview for a training contract at Dechert.

Diversity and Inclusion Week
As part of the firm’s inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Week (July 20-24, 2020), Dechert hosted journalist and filmmaker Afua Hirsch for a provocative conversation about race, identity and belonging, as well as how what we learn (or don’t learn) about our history has an impact on racism and inequality today.

The firm also held fast-paced virtual quizzes focused on diversity, inclusion and world culture, with a charitable donation made to the winning teams’ chosen charities focused on social justice.

Diversity Champions
Recognizing the individuals who serve as role models for the inclusive, open culture we value, Dechert offers the Diversity Champions award. In 2020, our people submitted 100 nominations. Four Diversity Champions were recognized at our annual all-hands event, with honorees each awarded a bonus.

Global Women’s Initiative
Members of Dechert’s Global Women’s Initiative (GWI) meet regularly with firm leadership to identify and implement initiatives that promote opportunities for women to advance and lead throughout the firm. Individual offices provide additional formal and informal support for women lawyers.

GWI initiatives include formal and informal mentoring, development training, meetings and events for summer associates, internal and external networking, special interest events, and leadership training. The GWI launched the Sponsorship and Sustained Support (SASS) program for senior women associates to help navigate the path to partnership.

Inclusive Leadership
Commitment to diversity and inclusion stems from the top. Our partners have been participating in quarterly, interactive sessions on inclusive leadership since 2018. Topics include affinity bias, attribution bias, covering, in and out groups, priming, unconscious bias, and inclusive leadership in times of crisis. Interactive sessions include dramatizations that prompt conversations long after the programming ends.

This program continues today, with the February 2021 session focused on actionable allyship. Inclusive leadership training has also been expanded to associates and business service professionals.

TESTIMONIAL: “Dechert consistently provides differentiating legal advice, particularly on large, complex transactions.”

TESTIMONIAL: “The firm did a great job throughout the entire process. They have been proactive and delivered quality advice. As always, a pleasure working with such a great team.”

COMPANY/FIRM: Credit Suisse
TESTIMONIAL: “We continually have the highest degree of confidence in the work product and coverage of the Dechert team, and they are always a pleasure to work with.”

COMPANY/FIRM: Saint-Gobain
TESTIMONIAL: “Saint-Gobain frequently turns to Dechert to defend the company in its most consequential, high-stakes litigation in the United States. Their sophistication, depth of experience, and legal creativity – especially in the area of complex mass tort litigation, is simply unrivalled. When the case is unprecedented and alleged to be perilous, there is no better partner to have in the trenches than Dechert.”