Reed Smith opens new office in Brussels

Global law firm Reed Smith has opened an office in Brussels with five partners, one counsel and two associates from five international law firms. All five partners are joining the firm’s Global Corporate Group.

The firm now has five offices across the region and 30 throughout the world.

The new partners focus their practices on competition/antitrust, regulatory and trade work across a range of industries that align with the firm’s five core sectors: energy and natural resources, entertainment and media, financial services, life sciences and health care, and transportation.

The new capabilities in Brussels not only strengthen the firm’s already robust European offering, but when combined with the firm’s established US and Chinese antitrust, regulatory and trade practices, they also bolster Reed Smith’s global reach to serve clients seamlessly in the context of cross-border M&A deals, corporate compliance programs, risk mitigation, litigation, government investigations, commercial and contract negotiations.

The five partners joining the firm are:

• Christian Filippitsch, whose practice focuses on EU competition law and on merger control and regulatory law for multiple industries with a particular emphasis on the energy, transport and automotive industries. He joins from Norton Rose Fulbright, where he was a partner.

• Geert Goeteyn, whose practice centres on EU competition, merger and regulatory law for a wide range of sectors, with a particular focus on aviation and technology. He joins from Shearman & Sterling, where he was a partner.

• Yves Melin, whose practice focuses on trade remedy investigations, customs compliance and investigations, export controls and sanctions, conflict minerals and other import controls, World Trade Organization dispute settlements and data protection. He joins from Steptoe & Johnson, where he was a partner.

• Isabelle Rahman, whose practice focuses on EU competition law and merger control. She joins from Sheppard Mullin, where she was a partner.

• Wim Vandenberghe, whose practice focuses on EU regulatory law counsel and public policy advice across a range of industries, in particular life sciences, energy and technology. He joins from Deloitte Legal, where he was a partner.

In addition, Max Seuster joins as counsel. His practice focuses on EU competition, as well as on merger control and regulatory law. Max arrives from Norton Rose Fulbright. Two associates are also joining the firm; Bérengère Vigneron and Jin Woo Kim join from Steptoe & Johnson. Their practices focus on international trade and customs.

Sandy Thomas, Reed Smith’s global managing partner, says: “As the de facto executive and legislative capital of the European Union, Brussels is a vitally important market for our clients who are seeking to navigate the complex regulatory environment in Europe. Establishing an office in Brussels expands the global reach of our esteemed regulatory and competition practices and further strengthens our capacity to advise clients on highly regulated transactions across the world. We are excited about the lawyers who are joining, because we know this team will elevate Reed Smith’s ability to drive progress for our clients.”

Tamara Box, Reed Smith’s EME managing partner, says: “The opening of our Brussels office is led by client demand. While we have had a very strong presence in continental Europe for many years, the rapidly changing political and economic environment across Europe demanded that we establish an on-the-ground presence in the EU capital. Our new team is highly experienced in engaging EU policymakers on behalf of clients for their global competition, regulatory and trade matters.”

“We are extremely pleased to have this dynamic group of lawyers joining the firm. Their collective reputations and experience in advising clients on EU issues speak for themselves, and their sector experience aligns perfectly  with our key industries focus. Combined with their client-first approach and willingness to take on the challenge of building our presence in an increasingly competitive market, I have no doubt they will quickly be success stories for our firm.”

Rahman says: “Reed Smith is an innovative and collaborative firm with a truly global reach. It encourages cross-practice and cross-office cooperation, enabling the firm to provide commercially driven advice to its clients worldwide. Collectively, my new partners and I have many years of experience working in Brussels advising multinational companies on their EU competition and regulatory matters. Our experience perfectly complements the firm’s well-established European, UK, US and Chinese antitrust practices. Together, we are dedicated to the efficient delivery of high-quality legal advice. ”

Melin adds: “In the current volatile trade environment, clients are increasingly seeking a single adviser who can help them understand the impact of duties and trade measures on their supply chains, mitigate the impact of such measures, and if necessary defend against them. Thanks to its long-standing and fully integrated global footprint, Reed Smith can provide a seamless service throughout the world. We are all very pleased to be joining the firm and further building our practices.”

Reed Smith’s European headcount (including the UK) now comprises 175 partners, over 400 other lawyers and 375 business support staff.
The office opened 6 January. The team will initially be based on Rue Belliard and move to a permanent location later in first quarter of the year.

Delphine Currie, co-chair of Reed Smith’s Global Corporate Group, is leading the integration effort in Brussels.