Slaughter and May best friend NautaDutilh is making an aggressive push in Europe, hiring US firm Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly's Brussels managing partner
Nauta has also accelerated its growth with two partner hires from Belgian firm Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick & Cerfontaine. The hires follow its recent launch in Luxembourg. The loss of Didier De Vliegher's corporate practice will significantly diminish Oppenheimer's corporate capability in the region. De Vliegher joined the US firm from Stibbe in 1993, becoming managing partner in 2000. Oppenheimer told The Lawyer that it is still in discussions with De Vliegher. Liedekerke is losing partners Marc van der Haegen and Anne Fontaine, dealing the firm a further blow following the loss of two competition partners to Ashurst Morris Crisp and its Antwerp office to Baker & McKenzie. The pair's banking and finance practice concentrates on regulatory and secured transactions. The lateral hires will give Nauta 14 partners in Brussels and they are expected to bring around 10 other lawyers with them. Brussels managing partner Benoît Stowel added: "Over the last five years we have had a growth in turnover of 30 per cent each year [in Brussels], so we need to add new people."