The office builds on Reed Smith’s 15-year presence in continental Europe, having opened its first office in Paris in 2005 and its latest (before Brussels) in Frankfurt in 2015. 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 international 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 new 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.
- Geert Goeteyn, whose practice centres on EU competition, merger control and regulatory law for a wide range of sectors, with a particular focus on aviation and technology.
- Yves Melin, whose practice focuses on trade remedies and investigations, customs compliance and investigations, export controls and sanctions, conflict minerals and other import controls, World Trade Organization dispute settlements and data protection.
- Isabelle Rahman, whose practice focuses on EU competition law and merger control.
- 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.
In addition, Max Seuster joins as counsel. His practice focuses on EU competition, and on merger control and regulatory law. Associates Bérengère Vigneron and Jin Woo Kim, whose practices focus on international trade and customs, are also joining the firm.
Sandy Thomas, Reed Smith’s global managing partner, said: “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, commented: “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 perfectly aligns 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.”
Isabelle Rahman commented: “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. ”
Yves Melin added: “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.
Reed Smith’s Global Corporate Group covers all aspects of corporate and commercial law and spans the firm’s 30 offices. The European corporate practice has undergone significant growth over the past few years with the arrival of: (1) a 50-strong multijurisdictional team from King & Wood Mallesons specialising in corporate, M&A, private equity, capital markets and tax at the start of 2017; (2) a tax team from Winston & Strawn in Paris later that year; and (3) the addition of Florian Hirschmann in Munich in 2018. More recently, life sciences transactional partner Iqbal Hussain joined in London in September 2019, Martin Bünning joined in Frankfurt in December 2019, and Sam Webster joined in London in January 2020.
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.
Reed Smith’s Brussels lawyers
Christian Filippitsch is a competition lawyer with over 20 years of experience. His practice focuses on EU competition law, and on EU and multi-jurisdictional merger control and regulatory law with a particular focus on the energy, transport and automotive industries. He advises clients from strategic planning to closing on mergers, joint ventures, restructurings and public takeovers and on competition compliance issues in distribution systems and other commercial dealings in Europe (such as cooperation agreements, licensing, sales/marketing). Christian also defends clients in cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, state aid cases and in regulatory matters. He has represented international and national clients before the European Commission and before German and Austrian competition authorities in several industrial sectors, including energy (oil, gas and electricity), transport (particularly shipping), automotive, consumer goods and electronics, retail, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, natural resources, chemicals and petrochemicals.
Geert Goeteyn has nearly 25 years of experience as an antitrust lawyer in Brussels and London. His practice focuses on EU competition, merger and regulatory law for a wide range of sectors, including agriculture, automotive, biotechnology, consumer goods, oil, paper and telecommunications. He has a particular focus on aviation and high tech. He advises clients on complex antitrust issues, including merger remedy cases, cartel-related issues (both in the context of European Commission investigations and private damages actions), abuse of dominance cases and state aid. He is qualified to practice law in Belgium as well as in England and Wales.
Yves Melin is an international trade and customs lawyer with 20 years of experience. His practice focuses on trade remedy investigations, customs compliance and litigation, export controls and sanctions, conflict minerals, World Trade Organization dispute settlements, and data protection. He has represented clients before the EU courts in more than 20 disputes relating to international trade and customs laws, including in the landmark cases Ikea Wholesale (Case C-351/04) and XinYi PV (Case T-586/14). He has also represented companies in more than 100 trade remedy proceedings (anti-dumping measures, countervailing measures, and safeguards) across a wide range of industries.
Isabelle Rahman is an EU competition lawyer with 30 years of experience. Her practice focuses on EU competition and merger laws and policies for clients in the airline and travel industries, as well as in the chemical, minerals, consumer products and life sciences sectors. She advises multinational companies, providing strategic counsel on merger control, cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, representing clients throughout the EU investigation process, and coordinating with other foreign proceedings. Isabelle also regularly counsels clients on business compliance issues relating to pricing practices, distribution, licensing and joint ventures.
Wim Vandenberghe is an EU regulatory partner with over 15 years of experience across the spectrum of highly regulated products and industries, focusing in particular on the life sciences, energy, technology and consumer products sectors. He has extensive experience in advising clients on the formation, application and enforcement of EU product regulations. He offers assistance throughout the entire product lifecycle, as well as strategic policy and lobbying services around the European institutions and agencies. His practice also includes advising on regulatory aspects of cross-border M&A deals, compliance programs, litigation, government investigations, and on commercial and contract negotiations.
Max Seuster is an EU competition (antitrust) and regulatory lawyer with more than 10 years of experience. Max focuses on all aspects of EU, German and multi-jurisdictional competition law, including merger control procedures; cartel and abuse of dominance investigations; distribution, licensing, joint venture and cooperation agreements; and competition compliance programmes (including client-tailored trainings and audits). He regularly represents clients in merger proceedings and competition investigations before the EU Commission and the German Bundeskartellamt. His experience includes competition law work for international clients active in the energy, transport (shipping), food, automotive, manufacturing and financial services sectors and EU regulatory work in the energy and medical device sectors.
About Reed Smith
Reed Smith is a dynamic international law firm dedicated to helping clients move their businesses forward. Our belief is that by delivering smarter and more creative legal services, we will not only enrich our clients’ experiences with us, but also support them in achieving their business goals.
Our long-standing relationships, international outlook and collaborative structure, make us the go-to partner for the speedy resolution of complex disputes, transactions and regulatory matters.
For further information, please visit reedsmith.com.