Landwell's Belgian firm Bogaert & Vandemeulebroeke has taken on a team of three partners and seven associates from domestic law firm Buyle Dieryck Van Looveren Maingain
The new hires give Bogaert pre-eminence in the niche automotive sector and make Landwell Belgian's largest firm numerically with more than 150 lawyers. Buyle Dieryck name partner Wilfried Van Looveren joins the firm as of counsel because at 60, he is too old to fit into Landwell's partnership structure. The PriceWaterhouseCoopers-tied firm has a retirement ceiling of 60. Former Buyle Dieryck partner Olivier Van Fraeyenhoven joins as a partner while the others join as associates. The Landwell firm now has an industry-focused team of 15 lawyers specialising in automotive work for manufacturers and distributors. The team is based in Antwerp, where much of Belgium's automotive manufacturing industry is based. The Buyle Dieryck team brings with it key clients including motor manufacturer Ford. It is understood that Volvo, Jaguar, Mazda and French and Italian manufacturers will also continue to instruct the Buyle Dieryck partners after their move. According to Bogaert senior partner Marc Vandemeulebroeke, the firm will now act for most car manufacturers. Vandemeulebroeke claimed that industry specialisation in this area is driven by increasing client demand. He said: "This is a sector that is changing a lot. Firstly, the distribution network is being reshaped so that there is no separation between manufacture and distribution. The second driver is that the European Union is reviewing the industry's block exemption from competition regulations."