Loyens & Volkmaars unveils details of tie-up with Loeffs

Dutch firm Loyens & Volkmaars has revealed details of its merger with the Rotterdam office of Loeff Claeys Verbeke – the firm which was split apart by the decision of some of its partners to merge with Allen & Overy.

Bert Westendorp, managing partner of tax specialist Loyens & Volkmaars, is set to become the managing partner of the combined firm.

The new outfit will be called Loyens & Loeff when it merges on 1 January.

Loyens partners Dick Hofland, Hans Galavazi and Machiel Lambooij are leaving to join Freshfield's Amsterdam office.

Westendorp says the departure of the three partners are unrelated to the merger.

Westendorp says: “They had made the decision to leave long before our decision to merge.

“We had a difference about the strategy that our firm should take.

“At the time they were wanting a more deal-oriented practice, with more of an emphasis on M&A and capital markets [-related tax work]. We are a firm which practices the full spectrum of taxation.”

Loyens voted to take Loeff Claeys Verbeke's Rotterdam tax practice after Loeff split into three.

After Loeff's Amsterdam office agreed to merge with Allen & Overy (The Lawyer, 26 July), its Brussels outlet opted to go it alone; Loeff's Luxembourg centre is awaiting bar clearance for an A&O merger.

Freshfields' aggressive poachings are causing unrest in the Dutch market.

One Buruma Houthoff partner says: “I would say it causes some turbulence. It is contrary to the general move [agreed] in the split of Loeff, Loyens and Allen & Overy.

“It was disintegrating already. And on top of the fact that [partners] are being taken, leaving associates hanging on the wire was quite disturbing and disrupting.

“Maybe the most striking aspect of the current restless market for us is that it is very obvious how eager and how nervous [UK firms] are in moving into the market and trying to build in the international context.”

Alan Peck, chief executive of Freshfields, says that the increased tax capability is an essential part of the firm's ambition to become a leading firm in The Netherlands.