Steptoe & Johnson acquires Oppenheimer’s Brussels base

US firm Steptoe & Johnson has become the first firm to benefit from the dismantling of Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly’s European network.

Steptoe has acquired the Brussels practice of Oppenheimer, which consists of three partners, one counsel and three associates.

Last summer Oppenheimer announced that it was to cut its costs by selling its European offices in Brussels, Geneva and Paris.

The Oppenheimer group is led by Jean Russotto, who is joined by two partners, Phillip Woolfson, an insurance and financial services lawyer who concentrates on EC and French law, and James Searles, an international trade and environment lawyer, who focuses on EU law and regulatory issues. They join Kees Kuilwijk, a partner specialising in technology issues, who has lead Steptoe’s Brussels office since it opened in 2002.

Steptoe will continue its relationship with the Olislaegers De Creus law firm that assisted Oppenheimer with matters that require Belgium law expertise.

Meanwhile, Steptoe has elected Roger Warin as the new chairman of the firm’s executive committee and Douglas Green as the committee’s vice-chair. They will succeed Lon Bouknight and Mike Kail on March 1, 2004.