Dutch independent firm Houthoff Buruma has launched its own practice in Brussels following the collapse of its joint venture in the city and has hired the managing partner of a local office to strengthen the competition practice
Houthoff has hired well-known litigator Gerard van der Wal as a partner. He joins from the Brussels office of Barents & Krans, which has its main base in the Hague. Van der Wal is understood to be bringing two associates with him to Houthoff. The hire is a direct response to the final collapse of Houthoff's Brussels profit-sharing joint venture with Belgian firm Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirk-patrick & Cerfontaine and German firm Wessing, which has now merged with Taylor Joynson Garrett. French firm Siméon & Associés was part of the original joint venture until it merged with Lovells last autumn. The joint venture was wound down after Houthoff was left with only Liedekerke, which itself suffered two partner-level departures to Ashursts from its competition practice. Houthoff remains close to Liedekerke, but was prompted to launch its own practice in the city. It is headed by EU specialist Weyer VerLoren van Themaat, who has a team of five associates. Commenting on the new hire, Houthoff managing partner Michiel Wesseling said: "Gerard has a very good reputation. We're very proud to have hired him for our office to help build the practice."