Belgium - Data Protection Lawyers & Law Firms - Europe - Chambers and Partners
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Europe Guide

Data Protection — Belgium


CMS - TMT Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Recently formed practice offering market-leading expertise in domestic and European telecoms regulatory matters. Offers additional expertise in media law, acting for publishers and broadcasters on copyright disputes and competition law mandates. Advises a number of multinational companies on data protection compliance and offer experience in privacy-related litigation.

Strengths Clients acknowledge the firm's leading position in telecommunications: "They are really experts in telecoms. They know the market, our competitors and our business very well. They can assist in very complex and sensitive files."

Clients appreciate the team's "quality and pragmatic approach, in-depth knowledge and teamwork."

Another impressed client considers CMS "a reference on the market for data protection," adding: "They are hands-on and the fees are accessible."

Work highlights Represented Proximus in numerous appeals, including an appeal against a fine imposed for alleged lack of transparency for the reference offer for broadband wholesale services.

Advised McCain on pan-European data compliance matters covering human resources, customer and supplier management and online matters.

Notable practitioners

Dirk Van Liedekerke is recognised by clients as a "leading telecoms lawyer" and praised by peers for his "in-depth knowledge of competition regulation and excellent technique and technical approach." He is vastly experienced in domestic and EU regulatory matters and regularly assists major operators and leading players in the TMT sector. He represented Proximus in appeal proceedings against interim measures imposed by the Belgian Competition Authority.

Tom de Cordier advises on cross-border telecoms regulatory matters and data protection. Clients regard him as a "natural contact person for data protection in Belgium" and describe him as "hands-on, pragmatic and solution-orientated." He continues to advise Randstad on global GDPR compliance matters.

Tom Heremans assists broadcasting and publishing clients with copyright and trade mark disputes. M7 Group is among his key clients.

About the Team (content provided by CMS)

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Covington & Burling LLP - TMT Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Regularly instructed on major data protection issues by international blue-chip clients from the technology and life science sectors. Especially well regarded for its regulatory and advisory work concerning companies' compliance to data transfers, investigations and binding corporate rules. Additionally strong in data privacy litigation and regularly handles the privacy aspects of large merger filings.

Strengths One client says: "Covington & Burling are able to provide services well beyond the theoretical aspects of data protection and case law, display great levels of pragmatism and are able to advise in terms of risk."

Another client expresses a similar sentiment: "Instead of just identifying problems and risks, they identify how to minimise these risks. They give answers and recognise that nothing is ever risk-free."

Clients also value the firm's specific knowledge of the life sciences sector and emphasise the team's "deep knowledge, reactivity and ability to provide in-depth insight into multiple aspects of regulation" as key selling points.

Notable practitioners

Henriette Tielemans is widely recognised as a "pre-eminent thought leader" in European data protection. She regularly advises Fortune 500 companies on global data privacy and security issues, binding corporate rules and international data transfer mechanisms. A client says: "Henriette Tielemans from Brussels has been instrumental in reaching our goals with respect to data protection on a global scale. My experience with her has been superb and I could not ask for more. Not only is the level of expertise second to none, but her expertise is equally paired with a keen understanding of our special needs, our business and our direction."

About the Team (content provided by Covington & Burling LLP)

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DLA Piper UK LLP - TMT Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for A top-flight technology team offering expertise in a wide array of matters, including advice relating to outsourcing, privacy compliance and M&A transactions. Popular choice among international financial institutions, technology clients and governmental bodies. Maintains a busy practice in the areas of cloud computing and e-commerce. Leading data protection practice acting for international clients on cross-border compliance projects. New clients include Adobe, Avon and Wix.

Strengths One client highlights the firm's "global footprint" as a major appeal and regards DLA Piper as "without any doubt, the go-to firm in Belgium for IT contracting."

Another client adds: "What impressed me is their pragmatic, business-focused approach. They understand the customer and what is important to the customer."

Others appreciate that the team is up to date with the latest market developments and praise its "in-depth knowledge of the subject matter."

Work highlights Advised Adobe on compliance matters relating to the Adobe Sign digital signature.

Assisted Zoetis with GDPR compliance matters.

Notable practitioners

Kristof De Vulder is described by one client as "the best IT contracting lawyer in Belgium" and praised for his "strategic, hands-on advice and very strong contract negotiation skills." He is regarded as "the guy you want on your side for big outsourcing deals," and offers additional expertise in cloud contracts and procurement. He advised bpost on the outsourcing of its IT infrastructure to two independent service providers.

Patrick Van Eecke focuses on e-commerce and internet law and is recognised for his "benchmark insights into what's happening in the data protection market." He is praised by clients for his "vast knowledge and commercial awareness," as well as his ability to offer "an overall view on privacy matters alongside an understanding of the business aspects." He advised Soda Stream on international data transfer matters alongside GDPR compliance.

About the Team (content provided by DLA Piper UK LLP)

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Fieldfisher - TMT Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Robust practice with a strong international network, recognised for its skills in all aspects of data protection, with a particular focus on privacy, compliance, security law and data transfers. Strong portfolio of clients from the aviation, financial and consultancy sectors. New clients include Euroclear, Brussels Airlines and AGC Glass Europe.

Strengths Sources appreciate the team's ability to translate the law into practical layman's terms.

Work highlights Assisted AGC Glass with an EU-wide data compliance project.

Advised Avaya on its binding corporate rules applications.

Notable practitioners

Olivier Proust is praised by clients for his expertise in binding corporate rules. He recently assisted Hager with a GDPR compliance project.

Tim Van Canneyt specialises in data protection and e-commerce, regularly advising multinational clients on large compliance projects. He recently assisted BICS with the privacy aspects of its proposed acquisition of Telesign.

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Linklaters - TMT Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Integrated team gains a top-tier ranking in data protection for its strong track record advising multinational clients on information governance projects and international data transfers. Offers expertise across the IT spectrum, advising prestigious banks and energy and pharmaceutical companies on outsourcing, IT projects and corporate transactions.

Strengths "Linklaters are outstanding," according to clients, who describe the team as "extremely precise, extremely present with solutions and flexible in their way of working."

One client highlights the firm's ability to provide transnational advice, adding: "Linklaters are one of the best in the market and a reference for GDPR."

Another client appreciates the team's "business-orientated approach:" "They are pragmatic and search for solutions that are tailor-made for our organisation."

Work highlights Assisted Goodyear with a global data protection project relating to GDPR compliance and the processing of HR data.

Advised AGC Automotive Europe on the review of its terms of use and privacy policy for its web portal.

Notable practitioners

Tanguy Van Overstraeten is experienced in handling IT procurement and outsourcing projects and is widely regarded as "one of the best privacy lawyers in Belgium." Described as a "source of a wealth of information and a reference for data protection on an international basis," he is a lawyer whose "intervention can turn around a company and change their way of thinking."

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Stibbe - TMT Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Exceptional IT team acting on high-profile transactions and outsourcing projects. Also experienced handling contentious matters including software disputes and telecoms litigation. Advises an impressive number of high-profile clients on data protection regulation, having recently welcomed Audi and Anheuser-Busch InBev as notable new clients. Areas of focus include telecoms, finance and the public sector.

Strengths Clients value Stibbe's standing in the IT sector: "They are well known in the field and know the ins and outs of the sector. They are very knowledgeable in IT, licence assets and everything from compliance to legal disputes with software providers."

Others add: "I like the responsiveness of the law firm in general. They are prompt to answer requests, even if it's in a short timeframe. I appreciate their pragmatic approach to files. We consider them a business partner – they do not only warn of risks, but find solutions, which makes them business enablers."

"Stibbe has a very deep understanding of the law and legal systems. They are fast and flexible where needed, but rely on a solid foundation of knowledge and experience in the various fields they are active in," according to others.

Work highlights Assisted Barry Callebaut with an SAP software compliance review relating to the concept of indirect use in SAP licensing.

Advised Coca-Cola on the renewal of a EUR90 million outsourcing agreement with Capgemini.

Notable practitioners

Erik Valgaeren is described by one impressed commentator as "a real TMT lawyer who does not just look at matters from an IT or IP perspective, but looks at things horizontally to explain the difference between the digital and analogue world and is at the cutting edge of development." Valgaeren garners additional praise from clients for the "depth of expertise he brings to complex cases." His practice focuses on outsourcing, e-commerce and technology transformation, with an increasing focus on data protection. Nyrstar is among the major listed companies that he has advised on GDPR compliance.

About the Team (content provided by Stibbe)

We are involved in some of the highest-stake telecoms, media and technology cases at a national and international level.

Our experienced TMT practice group is organised through our three Benelux offices, with specialist lawyers providing coordinated and integrated legal advice on cross-border files. Our work includes IT and electronic communication, regulatory and commercial contracting, negotiations and assistance in disputes.

Our multi-disciplinary approach ensures we act on many matters such as ICT disentanglements, regulatory issues, competition and procurement law, privacy and data protection and transactional work. For disputes, we not only work with the ordinary courts, but also with the administrative tribunals and alternative dispute resolution channels.

The team also assists major players in the spectrum of domestic and international media issues – handling a breadth of transactions from broadcasting rights to tax shelters. Due to their experience, media pressure is never a concern.

Furthermore, we advise on complex technology cases in various sectors such as data protection, e-commerce, software compliance issues, and ICT sourcing and contracting.

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time.lex - TMT Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Boutique firm specialising in data protection, IT and privacy matters, with experience advising national and foreign governments on regulatory matters. Frequently represented public sector clients in high-profile IT and privacy-related disputes, recently welcoming the Belgian Ministry of Social Security as a notable new client.

Strengths Clients value the team as "an authority in the domain of data-related issues."

Another client highlights the team's "hands-on approach and pragmatic advice that can be used on the spot," adding: "They are able to adapt easily to incredibly difficult matters and familiarise themselves with new legislation and legal technicalities. They have the ability to understand their client's industry, what their client does and what their client needs."

Work highlights Represented the Belgian Privacy Commission in court proceedings against the Belgian state and the organisers of the Tomorrowland dance festival in relation to their security screening procedure.

Acted for the Belgian Ministry of Social Security on an IT dispute with Capgemini.

Notable practitioners

Jos Dumortier regularly assists public bodies and private companies with IT and data privacy disputes. He also advises on non-contentious IT matters, recently assisting the Government of Qatar with developing a legal road map for e-commerce. Clients regard Dumortier as "the perfect man for the job" when it comes to data privacy matters and draw particular attention to his academic expertise as a key strength.

Frederic Debusseré is described as "responsive, down to earth and very pragmatic." He advises clients on data compliance matters and regularly represents clients in privacy-related litigation proceedings. He has gained increasing visibility having represented the Belgian Privacy Commission in a high-profile dispute with Facebook regarding the use of social plug-ins, cookies and screen pixels to track users.

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Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati - TMT Department

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Chambers Commentary (based on the Chambers research)

What the team is known for Strong technology-focused firm with a extensive list of clients in the technology, pharmaceutical and financial services sectors. Benefits from the firm's strong US data privacy offering, advising clients on global-wide data compliance projects, cybersecurity and DPA investigations. Key clients include Mastercard, Google and Tesla.

Strengths One source considers the team to be "real experts in privacy shield transfers."

Clients also praise the team's "strong skills and responsiveness."

Work highlights Assisted Mastercard with a review of its data processing activities to ensure GDPR compliance.

Advised NetSuite on the privacy aspects of its EUR9.3 billion acquisition by Oracle.

Notable practitioners

Senior privacy counsel Christopher Kuner is vastly experienced in the field of European data privacy and is considered an authority on international data transfers. One impressed commentator calls Kuner "by far the best thought leader in Europe and a reference for privacy and data protection." He has published extensively in the practice area and is editor-in-chief of the journal 'International Data Privacy Law.'

Cedric Burton receives praise for his pragmatic approach and is described as a lawyer who is "sensitive to political issues and honest in his perception of risk." He assisted key client Mastercard with gaining approval of Mastercard Binding Corporate Rules.

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Senior Statesperson

Christopher Kuner

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

From the Chambers Europe guide

Senior privacy counsel Christopher Kuner is vastly experienced in the field of European data privacy and is considered an authority on international data transfers. One impressed commentator calls Kuner "by far the best thought leader in Europe and a reference for privacy and data protection." He has published extensively in the practice area and is editor-in-chief of the journal 'International Data Privacy Law.'

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Henriette Tielemans

Covington & Burling LLP

From the Chambers Europe guide

Henriette Tielemans is widely recognised as a "pre-eminent thought leader" in European data protection. She regularly advises Fortune 500 companies on global data privacy and security issues, binding corporate rules and international data transfer mechanisms. A client says: "Henriette Tielemans from Brussels has been instrumental in reaching our goals with respect to data protection on a global scale. My experience with her has been superb and I could not ask for more. Not only is the level of expertise second to none, but her expertise is equally paired with a keen understanding of our special needs, our business and our direction."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Patrick Van Eecke

DLA Piper UK LLP

From the Chambers Europe guide

Patrick Van Eecke focuses on e-commerce and internet law and is recognised for his "benchmark insights into what's happening in the data protection market." He is praised by clients for his "vast knowledge and commercial awareness," as well as his ability to offer "an overall view on privacy matters alongside an understanding of the business aspects." He advised Soda Stream on international data transfer matters alongside GDPR compliance.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 1

Tanguy Van Overstraeten

Linklaters

From the Chambers Europe guide

Tanguy Van Overstraeten is experienced in handling IT procurement and outsourcing projects and is widely regarded as "one of the best privacy lawyers in Belgium." Described as a "source of a wealth of information and a reference for data protection on an international basis," he is a lawyer whose "intervention can turn around a company and change their way of thinking."

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

time.lex

From the Chambers Europe guide

Jos Dumortier regularly assists public bodies and private companies with IT and data privacy disputes. He also advises on non-contentious IT matters, recently assisting the Government of Qatar with developing a legal road map for e-commerce. Clients regard Dumortier as "the perfect man for the job" when it comes to data privacy matters and draw particular attention to his academic expertise as a key strength.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Sidley Austin LLP

From the Chambers Europe guide

Wim Nauwelaerts of Sidley Austin LLP is valued by clients for his "legal mind and client handling." He focuses on data transfer and privacy matters.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 2

Stibbe

From the Chambers Europe guide

Erik Valgaeren is described by one impressed commentator as "a real TMT lawyer who does not just look at matters from an IT or IP perspective, but looks at things horizontally to explain the difference between the digital and analogue world and is at the cutting edge of development." Valgaeren garners additional praise from clients for the "depth of expertise he brings to complex cases." His practice focuses on outsourcing, e-commerce and technology transformation, with an increasing focus on data protection. Nyrstar is among the major listed companies that he has advised on GDPR compliance.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

CMS

From the Chambers Europe guide

Tom de Cordier advises on cross-border telecoms regulatory matters and data protection. Clients regard him as a "natural contact person for data protection in Belgium" and describe him as "hands-on, pragmatic and solution-orientated." He continues to advise Randstad on global GDPR compliance matters.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Fieldfisher

From the Chambers Europe guide

Olivier Proust is praised by clients for his expertise in binding corporate rules. He recently assisted Hager with a GDPR compliance project.

^ See whole ranking table

Band 3

Fieldfisher

From the Chambers Europe guide

Tim Van Canneyt specialises in data protection and e-commerce, regularly advising multinational clients on large compliance projects. He recently assisted BICS with the privacy aspects of its proposed acquisition of Telesign.

^ See whole ranking table

Up and Coming

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

From the Chambers Europe guide

Cedric Burton receives praise for his pragmatic approach and is described as a lawyer who is "sensitive to political issues and honest in his perception of risk." He assisted key client Mastercard with gaining approval of Mastercard Binding Corporate Rules.

^ See whole ranking table

Up and Coming

Frederic Debusseré

time.lex

From the Chambers Europe guide

Frederic Debusseré is described as "responsive, down to earth and very pragmatic." He advises clients on data compliance matters and regularly represents clients in privacy-related litigation proceedings. He has gained increasing visibility having represented the Belgian Privacy Commission in a high-profile dispute with Facebook regarding the use of social plug-ins, cookies and screen pixels to track users.

^ See whole ranking table

Up and Coming

Allen & Overy LLP

From the Chambers Europe guide

Peter Van Dyck focuses principally on data privacy matters. Promoted to partner in May 2017, he advises domestic and international clients on privacy compliance matters. His work highlights include assisting eBay with the privacy aspects of its acquisition of Kapaza. Clients value his "effective and expert knowledge," adding: "He keeps both feet on the ground and is a pleasure to work with."

^ See whole ranking table

Associates to watch

Van Bael & Bellis

From the Chambers Europe guide

Thibaut D'hulst of Van Bael & Bellis draws praise from clients for being "reactive, approachable and pragmatic." He specialises in data protection, particularly within the pharmaceutical sector, and his recent work highlights include advising AbbVie on the processing of health-related personal data.

^ See whole ranking table