Curiosity and Dutch mercantilism as a legal weapon
TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | PHOTO © HOUTHOFF
For an international corporation doing business in the Netherlands, it could be difficult to find a strong legal partner who is rooted in Dutch law and culture and also understands your specific situations. With branches and allies all over the world, Dutch tier-one law firm Houthoff has everything it takes to help your company get big in the Netherlands.
“Our extraordinary ambition and vibrant curiosity unite us,” managing partner Edward De Bock states, summarising the spirit of his law firm. “All lawyers at Houthoff have a hunger for the unknown. The recruitment of our people is very thorough. Not only do we strive to attract the best legal talent on the market, we also need them to go the extra mile for our clients and dare to think outside the box. This is heavily rooted in our company-DNA and is what clients, worldwide, appreciate.”
This specific profile does not rule out diversity in the workplace though. Quite the contrary, in fact: within its main pillars of expertise – mergers and acquisitions, litigation and real estate – there is plenty of room for variety. Numerous backgrounds, characters and specialities give all the team their unique shape, equipping them to offer a broad spectrum of services to companies in various economic sectors. “Houthoff dates back to long before the Second World War. It arose out of merges with many smaller law firms, with the one between Houthoff and Buruma Maris in 1999 as its magnum opus. To this date, we are the sum of the specialist knowledge and visions of all these firms. That allows us to offer a full service to our highly respected clients, building long-lasting relationships of trust.” While the lion’s share of this clientele consists of internationally operating companies, who are at the top of their respective industries, the firm collaborates with them in a very personal way. No matter the timing, Houthoff always has a team ready for the client’s challenge.
The best allies in the world
Though the firm is 100 per cent Dutch, its arms stretch way beyond the borders of the ‘Low Countries’. Beside their offices in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the firm has branches in Brussels, London and New York and representatives in Houston, Singapore and Tokyo, and all combined, this comes to over 300 lawyers in total. “We grew alongside our clients. The Netherlands may be a relatively small country, but it is influential on a global scale. Many multinationals attend business with the Dutch and its companies, or have offices in the Netherlands. This comes with a multitude of legal issues. With our expertise and know-how of Dutch law, legislation and mentality, we are very suited to tackle these problems and spot opportunities. To guarantee this international clientele the same personal and quality service as we offer in the Netherlands, we have founded hubs in those metropoles where our clients need them the most.”
In addition to their own international connections, Houthoff can count on a wide range of foreign expertise as well. As part of Lex Mundi – the most influential network of independent lawyers in the world – they maintain a direct line with the most powerful law firms in the world. “From each country of the world, only one firm can join Lex Mundi. For the Netherlands, they’ve lent us this honour. Therefore, we can join forces with the most trustworthy and capable allies in the world”
Enthusiastic as youngsters
In combinations with its core value of curiosity and a drive for high quality, having a global foothold allows them to adopt the latest evolutions or even be ahead of them. While many law firms might fear the automation of the sector, Houthoff embraces this reality and invests in the opportunities that come with it. “Supercomputers are not going to replace us. Instead, legal tech is going to help us to provide an even better service than we already do. We already invest a lot in the implementation of blockchain in our notary department as well as in the enhancement of document automation software. Soon, these technologies will allow us to reduce the administrative costs while providing an even better and faster service.”
Yet, regardless of how the wind blows in the fields of technology or internationalisation, the values that give Houthoff its unique face remain strong. “No matter how many years our firm is in business, we are still as curious and enthusiastic as youngsters. This mentality has benefited us and our clients for decades and continues to do so to date. New Houthoff people notice this as well and get stimulated to walk in the footsteps of the previous generations, keeping our spirit strong and eager. Like in every field, success is addictive.”
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