CMS Derks Star Belgium name partners to set up boutique firm

CMS Derks Star Busmann Hanotiau is to lose its Belgian name partners when the firm’s Brussels-based arbitration and litigation team leaves to set up a new practice in the autumn.

Highly-rated international arbitrator Bernard Hanotiau is leaving to join Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer partner Albert Jan van den Berg, who will relocate from Amsterdam to Brussels to set up the boutique firm (The Lawyer, 21 May). It will be named Hanotiau & van den Berg.
They will be joined by commercial arbitration and litigation partner Pascal Hollander, commercial litigation partner Paul Lefebvre and banking litigation partner Sébastien Ryelandt, all from the CMS member firm.
The team, which plans to open the firm on 1 September, will also take a number of associates with it.
Hollander said: “The idea came from the concern of Albert Jan van den Berg and Bernard Hanotiau that they were faced with more and more problems of conflict of interest, which prevented them from acting as arbitrators. They decided that it would be more effective and interesting to set up an independent firm.
“Our firm is a member of the CMS network, and of course, the bigger a network, alliance or a firm gets, the more you’re faced with the probability of conflicts of interest and of having to turn work down.
“We’re looking forward to establishing a best friend policy with foreign firms, but we want to remain an independent firm.”
The firm’s Brussels managing partner Stanislas van Wassenhove said the firm would build a new litigation capability through lateral hires, but does not see litigation and arbitration as a core area for the firm in the future. The firm’s main priority now is to grow its tax capability.
“It is a pity when people leave, but this means that the firm will correspond more to the main areas of CMS,” said van Wassenhove.
Derks Star Busmann Hanotiau is dropping the Hanotiau name in the Netherlands and a new name will be unveiled for the Brussels office in September. “Our original joint venture with the Netherlands has been overtaken by the development of integration within CMS,” said van Wassenhowe.