Loeff Claeys Verbeke opens in London

Benelux firm Loeff Claeys Verbeke plans to open a London office by 1 September.

Sietze Hepkema, the firm's spokesperson, said the office, to be based in the City and staffed by two partners and four associates, would be “independent” of six-year alliance partner Allen & Overy.

But Hepkema said there were no plans for the office to practise English law and that the decision to open was not connected to the uncertainty over the future of the alliance between his firm, Allen & Overy, and leading French practice Gide Loyrette Nouel.

He said the reason was “to be closer to where our clients in the Benelux countries are being advised on their various transactions – increasingly this is in London”.

The two partners will be Victor De Seriere, a banking and securities specialist, and Jan Willen van Verstaay, a corporate and mergers and acquisition lawyer.

Three of Loeff's rivals have already established operations in London. De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek was the first in 1990, Stibbe Simont Monahan Duhot opened in 1995 and Nauta Dutilh, the largest Dutch firm, opened in July 1996.

Commenting on the timing of the move, Hepkema said: “We wanted to do it for a long time, but it was difficult to find the right person.”

As reported in The Lawyer, Loeff and Gide are having talks with top German firm Bruckhaus Westrick Heller Lober. These talks could lead to the creation of Loeff's long established vision of a pan-European firm.