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Belgium has a new independent law firm following the merger of Huysmans Trenité Van Doorne and De Bauw & Maeyaert
The merged firm launched this month under the name of Altius. With seven partners and a total of 35 lawyers, it has become one of the five largest independent law firms in Belgium. Huysmans' clients include Nokia, Eli Lilly, General Electric, Sheraton, Exel and Dell. It is strong in M&A, banking and finance, employment, commercial litigation, pharmaceuticals, telecoms, IT and energy. It is also the prime Belgian correspondent to a number of UK and US firms. Niche firm De Bauw specialises in intellectual property, telecoms, IT and commercial law. It is one of the prime advisers to telecoms operator Belgacom and also acts for clients such as Microsoft, CMG and Canon. The merged firm plans to stay independent for the time being, but may review its strategy according to demand. De Bauw sought a Belgian merger after the departure last year of two partners to US firm Crowell & Moring (The Lawyer, 6 August 2001), which left it with only two partners and too much work to handle on its own. Commercial partner Her-man De Bauw said of the merger deal: "We discovered very quickly that our respective cultures, type of clients, approach and profitability were very similar. A merger was an obvious decision." Huysmans has also had a turbulent time. It was created by the 1999 merger of Huysmans & Partner with Trenité Van Doorne, then one of the Netherlands' largest firms. But when Trenité Van Doorne split into two last year, Huysmans Trenité was again independent. It has maintained an informal relationship with Van Doorne in Amsterdam but has ceased to work with Rotterdam branch Nolst Trenité, which has merged with Simmons & Simmons (The Lawyer, 15 October 2001). Huysmans partner Philipe Jadoul said: "We'd decided to have a quiet year, but when we met Herman, it was too good to miss."