WilmerHale Brussels has a collegial team culture geared to providing results in often-demanding proceedings. We have extensive experience in all areas of EU competition law, including mergers before the European Commission, worldwide merger control filings, cartel investigations (in Europe and worldwide), abuse of monopoly power, and State aid cases. We also regularly provide transactional advice, supporting joint ventures and distribution systems.
Our team has helped clients in some of the largest and most complex mergers of recent years, guiding them through EU merger control, including Phase 1 and Phase 2 cases with remedies, and other challenges requiring policy insight, legislative advocacy and government affairs experience. We have handled hundreds of procedures, ranging from cartel defense work to other alleged infringements and complaints. We have successfully represented third parties seeking to oppose mergers or challenge monopolies and exclusionary conduct, both through EC proceedings and litigation. We have assisted clients with State aid procedures.
Our Brussels office is an active part of the firm’s Investigations Group, which in each of the past five years has earned a top-three place in Global Competition Review’s GIR30, an annual ranking of the world’s leading investigations practices.
From Brussels, our lawyers regularly assist clients in EC and European national competition authority cartel investigations, and other regulatory inquiries. The firm’s Brussels lawyers have worked with clients and regulators to successfully resolve numerous competition investigations, including high-profile matters for prominent energy and financial services companies involving probes into issues such as alleged market manipulation and abuse of dominance, and in related EC proceedings and appeals, as well as in litigation in the European and national courts.
We have obtained leniency for many clients and, through litigation, total or partial annulment of various EC cartel decisions. When our clients’ litigation challenges reach the US courts, our Brussels lawyers work closely with the firm’s US-based antitrust litigators to mount an effective strategic defense.
Our Brussels-based litigators are equally at home handling EC complaint procedures or WTO disputes as they are arguing in the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice, the European General Court, or a variety of civil and administrative European national courts, including those in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany.
The team, which is known for appellate and constitutional litigation, has litigated over 150 cases and numerous appeals, including more than ten cases before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice. In addition to many cartel appeals, we have been involved in matters as diverse as data protection, the environment, food and product regulation, freedom of access to information, and State aid.
EU regulatory rules touch on virtually every aspect of commercial dealings for companies across the globe, due to the EU’s influential position leading the development of regulation.
WilmerHale’s Brussels-based lawyers have extensive experience in EU regulation and advocate for our clients’ interests before regulators as the EC develops new rules. Our areas of practice include antitrust and competition; data protection; digital and electronic communications; aviation and aerospace; energy; energy market manipulation (REMIT); climate change, the environment and sustainability; waste and chemicals; financial and other professional services; food, nutrition and cosmetics; product standards and marketing; telecommunications; public procurement and government contracts; and EU-UK trade after Brexit.
Together with colleagues in Germany and the United States, we are particularly active in advising on privacy, data protection and information security. We are also part of the firm’s cross-disciplinary task force guiding clients on developments related to COVID-19, and advising on related State aid issues.
Our Brussels team’s approach in regulatory counseling and advocacy is founded on the strong professional relationships we have built with EC regulators over many years. Clients seek us out for the cooperative, collegial approach we bring to the resolution of complex regulatory challenges, including those with sensitive political dimensions, in which an awareness of how things work in practice is key and strong advocacy is required.
International Trade, Investment and Market Access
Members of our team also work on a broad range of prominent World Trade Organization (WTO) and other trade and investment disputes. We work with the EC’s Directorate General for Trade and other trade and investment authorities around the world on a range of global trade policy challenges, and advise regularly on the consistency of EU and foreign legislation or regulation with WTO and other international rules.
Our Brussels team advises US, UK, EU and Asian multinational companies and/or their Belgian subsidiaries on their corporate and business transactions in Belgium. The team has assisted companies in a wide range of sectors, ranging from consumer goods, consulting services, construction and chemicals, to regulated industries such as financial services, energy, media and telecommunications. The team advises on corporate finance, corporate governance, corporate compliance, corporate restructuring, insolvency and judicial reorganization, and mergers and acquisitions, as well as employment and industrial relations issues.