DLA Piper signs up De Brauw finance partner

<a class=DLA Piper signs up De Brauw finance partner” />DLA Piper has boosted its Amsterdam offering with the hire of finance and projects partner Gerard Kneppers from Dutch firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek.

Kneppers joins as head of DLA Piper’s Dutch leveraged finance business, working with finance and projects head Bart Joosen. His practice focuses on cross-border acquisition, asset and project finance, advising both lenders and borrowers on deals.

Joosen said: “Gerard is a respected finance lawyer who has, during his career, built up a wealth of relevant transactional experience. We have a growing finance practice and he is the ideal person to contribute to the further expansion of this practice.”

The news comes as Dutch independent Loyens & Loeff claims the title of second-biggest independent law firm in Europe this year after boosting its turnover by 14 per cent to hit e282m (£230m). According to ­Italian legal publication TopLegal French firm Fidal is top, with e288m (£234m), with Loyens closing the gap to e6m (£4m).

Loyens has widened its lead over Spanish firm ­Garrigues to become the continent’s second highest-grossing independent firm. Garrigues is the third biggest, with revenue of e252m (£204m).

Dutch firms have clawed their way into the European top 10 after The Netherlands played host to some of the continent’s biggest corporate deals of 2007. Nauta Dutilh has climbed to seventh in the table with e165m (£134m), while Stibbe, Herbert Smith’s alliance partner in The Netherlands, ;almost hit e100m (£81m) after ­growing by 6.5 per cent.

Earlier this year, Loyens became the first Benelux independent firm to launch a dedicated Islamic finance practice after the hire of Islamic finance specialist Marjorie Sinke as of ­counsel in February. Sinke was running her own consultancy at the time.

Loyens and De Brauw recorded bigger hikes in turnover than their rivals due to lucrative instructions on the biggest deal in Dutch history – Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) e70m (£50m) consortium takeover of ABN Amro. They grew at a rate of 15 per cent, while their rivals managed between five and six per cent.

Stibbe managed to snatch the lead role on SABMiller’s e816m (£583m) bid for Dutch brewer Grolsch from under the nose of regular adviser Lovells in November last year. SABMiller hired the Dutch firm after advice from ABN Amro to go with a local operation. ;De ;Brauw grabbed ;the ;mandate
from Grolsch.