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DLA Piper

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Aviation - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

Ilse Van de Mierop and Bob Martens are two of the key names at DLA Piper for non-contentious and contentious aviation sector matters, which are handled by a cross-practice group of regulatory, finance and litigation experts. Key clients include Sabena, Securitas Transport Aviation Security, Aviapartner and the region of Wallonia.

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Banking, finance and capital markets
Banking, finance and capital markets - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's 'responsive and professional' group is 'very strong on delivery' and 'takes care of the client relationship'; 'it thinks with the client, instead of for the client'. It demonstrates strong capabilities in both transactional banking and financial services regulatory work; the firm's offering in relation to the latter was significantly bolstered recently following the arrival of Pierre Berger and a team of five financial services and insurance sector lawyers from Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL. Isabelle Van Biesen and Simon Landuyt were among the other names to move across. Berger's experience covers all areas of banking, financial services, funds and insurance law. On the transactional front, the firm is particularly active in project finance, real estate finance and corporate finance transactions. Recent work includes Johan Mouraux and Sander Buysse acting for the lenders on the financing of the acquisition by South Korean investors of two large office properties in Brussels. In another matter, Mouraux and Buysse are assisting a bidding consortium with the financing aspects of a PPP project, which concerns the construction of eight bridges above the Albert Canal in Belgium. Another highlight involved advising ING Bank on the export financing of dredging works carried out by Belgian dredging specialist Jan De Nul at Puerto Bolivar, a port in Ecuador. On the debt capital markets front, the firm has been involved in virtually all sovereign bond issues by the Kingdom of Belgium since 2010; a recent matter saw Mouraux and others advise the consortium of primary/recognised dealer banks on the first-ever Belgian green government bonds issuance.

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Commercial, corporate and M&A
Commercial, corporate and M&A - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

The 'reactive' corporate practice at DLA Piper attracts praise for being 'very positive and seeking pragmatic solutions'. Recent highlights include advising Takeda Pharmaceutical Company on the cross-border public takeover bid of TiGenix in a matter led by Erwin Simons. A team led by Koen Selleslags also assisted Alychlo with its acquisition of a majority stake in Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht. The 'outstanding and acute lawyer' Caroline Daout heads the practice and was instructed by the UK-based Cushman & Wakefield International on its the acquisition of all shares in Admos SPRL and in Admos Lux.

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Competition: EU and global
Competition: EU and global - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's 'impressively engaged and agile' group undertakes competition work for industry-leading corporates across a wide range of industries, with a notable focus on transport, energy, technology and life sciences. It provides 'an in-depth analysis of the issues raised and really tries to get a good understanding of the commercial issues by speaking with business stakeholders'. The firm's global footprint makes it well placed to advise clients located worldwide on the competition aspects of cross-border M&A, distribution law issues, state aid matters and conduct investigations. Practice head Bertold Bär-Bouyssière is representing longstanding client Merck in various contentious matters, including appeals arising from the landmark UK CMA and EC investigations into reverse payment settlements. Bär-Bouyssière provides 'to-the-point advice and has a good sense of humour'. Other names to note are Daniel Colgan, Bob Martens and associate Daniel Wojtczak. Trade and government affairs partner Jeroen Jansen also supports the competition team.

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Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

DLA Piper is adept at handling disputes from a wide spectrum of industries, including banking, commercial, real estate, IP and white-collar crime litigation. Annelies Verlinden heads the practice, which includes Bob Martens, who has expertise in public sector litigation, and Christian Van Buggenhout, who specialises in corporate, insolvency and restructuring disputes. The client roster includes Aviapartner, National Bank of Belgium and Arco Group.

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EU regulatory: Financial services
EU regulatory: Financial services - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

Pierre Berger's practice at DLA Piper is well known for assisting government entities and prominent financial institutions with investment funds, online payment systems, insurance matters, capital markets, and derivatives work, to name a few areas. Counsel Axelle Van Den Broeck left the firm in March 2018.

Leading individuals

Pierre Berger - DLA Piper

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EU regulatory: Privacy and data protection
EU regulatory: Privacy and data protection - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper

The 'proactive' group at DLA Piper, which¬†is led by Patrick Van Eecke¬†('an expert in the field'), has been very active in handling cross-border data protection projects for prominent clients; for example, Van Eecke is leading the advice to a cloud-based web development platform on data security matters relating to website creation and hosting. Advertising, GDPR and consumer protection are other key areas of activity. Kristof De Vulder¬†and¬†Peter Craddock¬†are other names to note in the team. Clients include Porsche, Uber, and Mondelńďz International.

Leading individuals

Kristof de Vulder - DLA Piper

Patrick Van Eecke - DLA Piper

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EU regulatory: information technology
EU regulatory: information technology - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper

DLA Piper reports an uptick in instructions from the automotive and energy sectors; highlights included advising EDF Luminus on an outsourcing project. Other work includes assisting Prada with implementing its e-commerce platform. Kristof De Vulder and Patrick Van Eecke jointly head the practice.

Leading individuals

Kristof De Vulder - DLA Piper

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Employment - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

The 'very dedicated' Eddy Lievens leads DLA Piper's employment practice, which has been handling collective dismissals, pensions cases, contentious work and health and safety matters.

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Environment - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

DLA Piper handles environmental law issues in all three Belgian regions for a diverse client base, which includes private companies, multinational corporates and Belgian public authorities. Its credentials in the market are also reflected by the fact that it is regularly sought out to advise policymakers and legislators at the European institutions (the European Council, the European Commission and Parliament) on matters arising at the legislative level. Bob Martens and Alec Van Vaerenbergh are acting for the European Commission Directorate-General for Climate Action on the procurement and management of contracts relating to a common auction platform and a single auction monitor for the auctioning of emission allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). In another matter, Martens, Van Vaerenbergh, Lieven Annaert and Thomas Sterckx are acting for the government of the Flemish Region on the development of the Uplace project in the North of Brussels. Martens co-heads the practice with Annelies Verlinden, who recently worked alongside Sterckx to represent the City of Antwerp in legal proceedings before the Council of Permit Disputes over a permit to build two underground car parks at the Gedempte Zuiderdokken. Kim Eric Möric is another key figure in the team, which saw Carole Maczkovics move to DALDEWOLF.

Leading individuals

Bob Martens - DLA Piper

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Fraud and white-collar crime
Fraud and white-collar crime - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper

At DLA Piper, key contact Christian Van Buggenhout leads a team that acts for a broad range of clients in matters involving money laundering, compliance, embezzlement, bribery and tax-related issues, to name a few. Deminor and the National Railway Company of Belgium are among its clients. Regulatory expert Bob Martens and senior associate Catherine Gysels are other names to note.

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Industry focus: Food
Industry focus: Food - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper

DLA Piper¬†is instructed by a range of international food and beverage sector clients including¬†Mondelńďz International, Coca-Cola and Hard Rock Cafe.¬†The team assisted Red Bull with its¬†digital marketing strategy to EU customers, which included advising on data protection considerations. It also acts for¬†SodaStream on a range of matters, including recent assistance with GDPR compliance, analysis of an IP dispute resulting from an advertisement, and the assessment of regulatory and other considerations for the marketing of beer syrup.

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Industry focus: Healthcare and life sciences
Industry focus: Healthcare and life sciences - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's life sciences sector group employs a multi-disciplinary approach, assisting its impressive client roster with a range of instructions including corporate, competition, employment, regulatory and IP-related matters. It counts Pfizer and Merck & Co. among its clients, and assisted the former with the coordination of multi-jurisdictional 'pay for delay' litigation, and recently advised the latter on corporate matters. Bertold Bär-Bouyssière and counsel Jean-Louis Kerrels jointly head up the practice.

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Industry focus: IT and telecoms
Industry focus: IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper

The intellectual property and technology team at DLA Piper has significant experience handling commercial, corporate and regulatory issues, with clients including Vodafone, Cognizant and Tesla. The group is also instructed by SNCB and bpost on the clients' digital transformation projects, including handling the negotiation of significant outsourcing agreements. Practice head Kristof De Vulder is assisting EDF Luminus with its new data centre agreement with a new service provider. In another work highlight, a team, led by Patrick Van Eecke, is advising Adobe on regulatory issues relating to electronic signatures. Ivanka Zdravkova moved to an in-house role.

Leading individuals

Kristof De Vulder - DLA Piper

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Industry focus: Retail
Industry focus: Retail - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper

The retail sector group at DLA Piper attracts praise for its 'knowledge, client focus, availability and reaction speeds'. It handles the full-range of matters from IT and e-commerce issues and real estate transactions to employment and IP matters. The group recently acted for Batiself in a dispute with Selfmatic relating to allegations of trademark infringement.

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Industry focus: Transport
Industry focus: Transport - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's infrastructure, construction and transport sector group benefits from the firm's ability to leverage its full-service Belgian offering, as well as its global network, in a range of litigation and regulatory, employment, finance, restructuring and tax mandates. Litigation and regulatory expert Bob Martens leads the multidisciplinary practice, which counts Flying Group, Aviapartner and Transuniverse Group among its clients.

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Industry focus: energy
Industry focus: energy - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

The energy practice at DLA Piper counts the City of Antwerp, Vleemo and Greek electricity generator Public Power Cooperation among its clients. The group was instructed by Ineos Enterprises Group in a contractual dispute with RWE Generation & Supply and subsequent takeover by Ineos of RWE Generation & Supply through a 100% acquisition of its shares. Bob Martens, who heads up the department alongside Annelies Verlinden, is leading advice to the European Commission on procurement procedures. The team was further bolstered by the arrival of counsel Orestis Omran from Dentons.

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Industry focus: media and entertainment
Industry focus: media and entertainment - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

The media and entertainment department at DLA Piper leverages its international reach to handle domestic and cross-border matters. Patrick Van Eecke, who is known particularly for his e-commerce expertise, heads the group and led a team that advised Medialaan and De Persgroep on a data lake and the companies' joint venture; the practice also advised the same clients on separate GDPR compliance projects. The group also has a dedicated gambling sector team and assists clients, including Unibet, with a range of regulatory matters. European Gaming and Betting Association, Universal International Music and Jagex are among its new clients.

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Insolvency and restructuring
Insolvency and restructuring - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper

The restructuring and insolvency practice at DLA Piper attracts praise for being 'well integrated, coherent and technically very solid'. The group has assisted Sabena as trustees since the company's bankruptcy, including with the disposal of properties and in disputes. The group also has experience acting for creditors and investors, and counts CFE among its clients. Ilse Van de Mierop heads the practice and is regularly appointed to act as receiver, liquidator and provisional administrator in insolvency proceedings. Other key names to note include litigators Christian Van Buggenhout and Joris De Vos.

Leading individuals

Ilse Van de Mierop - DLA Piper

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper

DLA Piper attracts praise for its 'pragmatic and service-oriented approach' to IP matters. The team is known for handling national and international IP cases for clients drawn from a broad range of industries, and has notable expertise in assisting start-ups with IP issues linked to new and disruptive technologies. Recent work for the group includes trade mark infringement cases and design protection matters. Alexis Fierens provides 'an exceptional level of service'.

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Not-for-profit - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper

DLA Piper¬†has a firm commitment to pro bono work, as is evidenced by its ‚ÄėNew Perimeter‚Äô programme, which is intended to provide long-term legal support in emerging markets worldwide. Another initiative involved advising the EU Covenant on Demographic Change on the setup of a recently-launched EU-wide non-profit entity, which currently has more than 180 international members. In addition, the Brussels Life Sciences team has entered into a global agreement to provide free global legal services on a world-wide scale to the European Association for Rare Diseases. Beyond pro bono work, the firm provides extensive support to non-profit organisations that are active in the health, elderly care, housing and education sectors. Key contacts include Annelies Verlinden, Johan Mouraux, Bob Martens, Dirk Caestecker¬†and lead lawyer Evelien De Raeymaecker.

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Real estate and construction
Real estate and construction - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper

DLA Piper¬†handles the gamut of real estate matters, and is widely recognised for its strength in handling logistics, retail, and office projects, among other areas. In a recent highlight, the team assisted Helaba with the financing aspect of the ‚ā¨380m acquisition of the North Light/Pole Star offices by South Korean investors from Belfius Insurance and AG Insurance. Dirk Caestecker¬†heads the practice.¬†Micha√ęl Bollen¬†moved to¬†Laurius¬†in July 2018.

Leading individuals

Dirk Caestecker - DLA Piper

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Tax - ranked: tier 4

DLA Piper

DLA Piper hired Philippe Hinnekens from Laurius in May 2018 to head up its tax practice in Brussels, succeeding the former head Ortwin Carron, who left the firm to practise independently. Hinnekens' arrival is part of a major expansion of the firm's tax offering in Europe, which has seen the firm hire practitioners in other key jurisdictions, such as Italy, France and Austria. The team (which also includes Gregory Komlosi) advises clients on direct and indirect tax issues connected with Belgian and cross-border corporate restructurings, joint ventures real estate transactions, and various other matters. Al Jazeera Media Network, Pfizer and The Institute for European Environmental Policy are among the clients of the practice.

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Legal Developments by:
DLA Piper LLP (US)

  • Sentencing guidelines for corporate manslaughter

    In February 2010 the Sentencing Guidelines Council (the SGC) issued definitive guidelines to courts on imposing appropriate sentences for corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences causing death. The SGC states that fines imposed on companies found guilty of corporate manslaughter should not fall below £500,000, while fines in respect of health and safety offences that are a significant cause of death should be at least £100,000. Crucially, the SGC declined to provide for a fixed link between the imposed fine and the turnover or profitability of the offending company.‚Ä©
    - DLA Piper UK LLP

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