Legal500

Aviation

2021: "Led by Annabelle Lepièce, CMS' department stands out as 'the leading practice for aviation state aid matters at EU level'. The 'insightful and well-connected' team has expertise in acting for airlines and airports, with competition law-related investigations forming a notable part of the group's workload. Feedback from clients: ‘Annabelle Lepièce stands out for her expertise in aviation state aid matters – advising airlines and airports on groundbreaking developments. She is well respected by the European Commission and in the aviation industry‘. Key clients : Airport Council International (ACI), Cluj Napoca Airport, SOWAER, Brussels Airlines, Lyon Airport, Marseille Airport, Aeroports de Catalunya, Montpellier Airport, Belairbus, Qatar Airways, French Airports Association, Luxair. Work highlights: Assisting SOWAER with the notification to the European Commission of an aid scheme, a deferral of the payment of concession fees owed by the Walloon Charleroi and Liège airports to support the operators during the COVID-19 pandemic. - Representing Béziers Airport in an investigation brought by the European Commission concerning alleged aid granted to Ryanair regarding marketing contracts exchanged between the client and Ryanair. - Acts for Luxair in a broad range of competition law matters."

2020: "State aid and competition law matters form the backbone of CMS' practice. The 'open-minded and customer oriented' team is very well known for acting for an established client base of airports and airlines. Department head Annabelle Lepièce is 'a true professional'. Feedback from clients: 'The team goes above and beyond to assist the client' - 'Annabelle Lepièce’s knowledge of the aeronautical and airport industry is very precise and useful' - 'Annabelle Lepièce is very creative, a problem solver, and prompt to answer'."

2019: "The 'dynamic and very responsive' team at CMS has notable strength in handling state aid and competition law matters for a client base of airlines and airports. Recent work includes representing Tahiti Airport in a dispute with another airline regarding the application of a start-up aid scheme. The group also assisted Sowaer, a company which owns airport infrastructure in the Wallonia region, with issues pertaining to the European Commission's investigation into alleged aid granted to Ryanair by the region and Charleroi Airport. Annabelle Lepièce is the key name, and associate Hanne Baeyens is also recommended."

2018: “CMS advises airports and airlines on a range of state aid and competition law issues. Recent work includes advising Montpellier Airport on the European Commission’s investigation into alleged aid granted to Ryanair. Swissport is another key client, for which the team has been handling litigation concerning the granting of licences to provide ground handling services, along with a stream of corporate and commercial issues. The ‘proactive and creative’ Annabelle Lepièce leads the team, which includes experienced associate Hanne Baeyens.”

Banking, finance and capital markets

2021: "CMS' banking and finance practice houses 'a very strong legal team', which is 'very experienced in all types of finance transactions'; 'they have a practical perspective and give valuable advice'. Key areas of expertise for the group include derivatives, structured finance transactions, real estate finance and commodities and asset finance. Regulatory work is another cornerstone of the work undertaken by the group. The department is jointly led by the 'efficient' Bruno Duquesne, associate partner Benoît Vandervelde ('responsive and user-friendly') and the 'flexible' Arnaud Van Oekel. Testimonials: ‘Great knowledge of the financing business‘. - ‘Arnaud Van Oekel is reachable, deal- and client-oriented, responsive and has deep knowledge of the market‘. - ‘CMS’ team is always eager to help, friendly and polite. They are client-oriented, focused and always take into account clients’ needs‘. Key clients: ING Belgium, Helaba, Commerzbank, Novelis, BlackRock. Work highlights: Assisted US-based aluminium producer Novelis with a multi-billion dollar financing for the acquisition of Aleris. - Advised Investcorp on its acquisition of the Coca-Cola company’s headquarters in Belgium."

2020: CMS has a varied banking and finance practice, which sees it assist lenders and borrowers with structured finance transactions, real estate finance, leveraged finance, factoring and securitisations, commodities and asset finance, and derivatives. The firm's strong transactional capabilities are complemented by its regulatory expertise. It is particularly strong in advising the financial arms of automotive companies on leasing, insurance and credit distribution. Other drivers of regulatory work include the implementation of MiFID II and Brexit planning. Debt capital markets transactions and private placements are also key workstreams for the team, which is jointly led by Bruno Duquesne, recently promoted associate partner Benoît Vandervelde and Arnaud Van Oekel. In 2018, Vandervelde acted for Banc Sabadell as a lender on a syndicated €1.5bn facilities agreement arranged by ING Belgium and KBC to Belgian company Ravago. Feedback from clients: ‘I am always happy to work with CMS. They are real professionals with exceptionally efficient approach to time and costs. They are able to deal with the most complex transactions. They are proactive and react promptly to changes in the structure and background of any transaction they work on‘ -  ‘Arnaud is deal- and client-oriented, and always finds the most efficient way to resolve any issue. He is great at co-ordinating the work of associates from multiple offices of the firm. He also has deep knowledge of the market and examines the context of every transaction and the specifics of each client’s business very carefully‘ - ‘CMS is very deal-oriented and work time and cost-efficiently on the most complex transactions. Its team has deep experience of all kinds of financial transactions and are flexible in negotiations‘ - ‘Arnaud Van Oekel is an exceptionally qualified lawyer. He is a real professional in finance transactions and able to address the most non-standard questions‘ -‘The firm provides quick and in-depth advice. Benoît Vandervelde is very pragmatic and knowledgeable – a pleasure to work with‘.

2019: "CMS assists financial institutions and corporates with a broad cross-section of banking and capital markets transactions, as well as regulatory matters. Its wide-ranging banking work spans real estate finance, acquisition finance, and factoring and securitisation transactions. In 2018, Arnaud Van Oekel and counsel Benoît Vandervelde were the lead advisers to Getronics on the €700m financing of its acquisition of Pomeroy. Its team is also experienced in debt capital markets transactions and private placements. Regulatory work is another driver of activity for the team; recent mandates have concerned issues such as payment services, the implementation of MiFID II and Brexit. Bruno Duquesne is another name to note in the team. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, Aareal Bank, Helaba and NH Hotels."

2018: “CMS is particularly active in real estate and acquisition finance and is also noted for its capital markets expertise. In recent work, counsel Benoît Vandervelde advised Deutsche Bank on the €100m bonds issuance by SPGE. Arnaud Van Oekel and Bruno Duquesne are the key partners.”

2017: “CMS often represents major banks and investors but also works for large companies such as biotech firm Curetis, which was advised regarding its IPO on Euronext Amsterdam and Brussels. Bruno Duquesne and Benoît Vandervelde are department co-heads along with Arnaud Van Oekel, who has ‘excellent negotiation skills’.”

2016: “CMS is ‘superb in financing’, where it acts as counsel for major banks and investors – representing Degroof Bank and Octo Finances in a Belgo-French bond issuance was a case in point. Arnaud Van Oekel and Bruno Duquesne head the practice, which includes recently promoted counsel Benoît Vandervelde, who ‘rapidly grasps a complex transaction’.”

2015: “CMS ‘compares extremely well’ with other firms in banking and finance [...] The team assisted Synlab Holding with the restatement of a EUR 740m syndicated credit facility. Arnaud Van Oekel co-heads the practice with Bruno Duquesne."

2014: “Property finance expert Bruno Duquesne advised Aareal as lender and arranger on the refinancing of the Belair construction project."

2013: “CMS provides ‘a good quality of service in banking law’. The team recently advised the Delhaize Group, Belgium’s largest food retailer, on Euronext Brussels and NYSE listings. Bruno Duquesne has expertise in property and structured finance."

2012: “CMS DeBacker demonstrates business acumen, industry knowledge and the ability to negotiate multi-party agreements. The team recently advised longstanding client Crédit Agricole on financing its acquisition of Centea Bank from KBC. Bruno Duquesne is a key contact, noted for his ‘ability to find solutions without deteriorating his client’s position’."

2011: “CMS DeBacker’s client base includes Crédit Agricole and Keytrade Bank, for whom the team acted on the acquisition of the Belgian private banking and internet activities of Kaupthing. It also assisted in a rare real estate acquisition financing for Westimmo in a €70m deal, and undertakes a broad diet of transactional work for ING, Bank of America and Commerzbank."

Competition

2021: CMS' team is experienced in handling the full range of transactional and behavioural work, and has notable expertise in issues concerning the pharmaceutical, aviation and electronic communications sectors. State aid work is one of the many strong suits of the practice; Annabelle Lepièce is representing the Belgian state in various state aid investigations and proceedings, and related tax matters. Illustrative of her broad practice, she also represented Medi-Market in its complaint before the BCA over alleged competition infringements by the Belgian Order of pharmacists. Dirk Van Liedekerke has expertise in the interplay between EU/Belgian competition law and telecoms law. Key clients: Proximus, Boulanger, Medi-Market, Thalys International, FIFA, Brussels Region, Luxair, KBC, STIB. Work highlights: Assisted French group Boulanger with the acquisition of Krëfel group, the domestic and electrical appliances retailer active in both Belgium (74 stores) and Luxembourg (11 stores). - Assisting and representing Proximus in the different ongoing (competition law) investigations regarding the RAN-sharing mobile network agreement that it has concluded with Orange Belgium. - Representing FIFA in the Doyen Sports/Seraing cases (both in the Brussels and Liège courts) on the legality of the FIFA prohibition on third party ownership in the context of the sportive sanctions that have been imposed on football club Seraing. The FIFA rules concerned were challenged under EU competition and free movement rules, and the case also involved several aspects of complaints filed with the European Commission. The Brussels Court of Appeal rejected all claims brought against FIFA on 12 December 2019."

2020: "CMS' domestic Belgian competition law practice complements its broader European competition law offering, making it a strong choice for advice on areas such as state aid and merger control. It is also highly active in Belgian investigations into abuses of dominance and cartels, as well as follow-on damages actions. Dirk Van Liedekerke is highly reputed for his work in the technology, media and communications arena. He was one of the key team members acting for Norkring in several sets of court proceedings against VRT and Broadcast Partners over access to its broadcast infrastructure for the transmission of VRT’s FM radio signals. He is also advising Proximus as a third party complainant on Telenet's proposed acquisition of sole control of De Vijver Media. Elsewhere, the practice stands out for its strengths in the air transport and railway sectors, with Annabelle Lepièce being the key contact in these areas. Its workload also spans various other industries.  Feedback from clients: 'The team is a business-enabler and capable of intervening in a very short time. Advice provided by the team is valuable and straight to the point‘."

2019: "Led by Annabelle Lepièce, CMS' team covers all areas of competition law, with a particularly notable focus on the contentious aspects of public and private enforcement. The firm has enhanced its profile in the Belgian market since it merged with Nabarro and Olswang in 2017 - and added Dirk Van Liedekerke as a result of the combination - with these developments enabling it to become better positioned to attract work from clients in the TMT space. The firm's expanding presence in the Belgian market has also enabled it to successfully pitch to advise Belgian bank KBC on all competition matters in Belgium and other territories elsewhere in Europe. Elsewhere, the firm has been notably active in assisting the Belgian government with competition cases involving an interplay between state aid and tax. Also on the state aid front, Lepièce and associate Hanne Baeyens are advising the Walloon Region on the compatibility with European rules of subsidies (cofinanced with European structural funds) for several projects in Belgium, such as the construction of an eco-district in Liège, among others. Senior associate Romain Alderweireldt and associate Kim Gillade are also notable individuals."

2018: “CMS’ merger with Olswang boosted its competition practice through the arrival of Dirk Van Liedekerke, whose experience covers an expansive range of merger clearance, investigations, compliance issues and litigation. Annabelle Lepièce is also a key contact and has ‘a practical and pragmatic approach’. Recent work includes advising AMP, as a subsidiary of Lagardère Travel Retail, on its acquisition by bpost.”

2017: “Annabelle Lepièce is the primary contact at CMS, which is instructed by private and public sector clients in cartel investigations, merger control, state aid and abuse of dominance cases. Lepièce is representing Delhaize Group in litigation against MasterCard concerning interchange fees on card payments.”

2016: “CMS’ workload includes state aid (including matters for the Belgian competition authorities), abuse of dominance complaints and cartel investigations. Annabelle Lepièce successfully advised Swissport Belgium on the Belgian Competition Authority’s investigation into cargo-handling services offered to airlines at Brussels Airport.”

2011: "CMS DeBacker’s Annabelle Lepièce handles cases before the Belgian Competition Council, and against the European Commission. Clients include the Walloon and Brussels regional governments.”

Corporate and M&A

2021: "CMS combines its cross-departmental strengths, Belgian law expertise and international reach to handle all aspects of headline mid-market M&A. Vincent Dirckx leads the corporate and M&A team, which is also sought out for advice on fundraisings, multijurisdictional group reorganisations and corporate governance issues, among other matters. Dirckx led the advice to Korys (Colruyt's investment vehicle) on an investment round, as well as its investment in Urbantz. Stéphane Collin has expertise in intra-group mergers and splits, and post-merger integration. Virginie Frémat and Jean-François Goffin are also recommended. Key clients: French Group Boulanger, Korys, Toshiba TEC Corporation, Auchan, Innovation Fund, NJJ Holding, Group Monnoyeur, SNCF Logistics, Stanley Security Group, D’Ieteren, Dupont Nutrition and Bioscience, Celyad. Work highlights: Acted for French Group Boulanger on the acquisition of Krëfel group in both Belgium (74 stores) and Luxembourg (11 stores). - Assisted Celyad with a broad range of corporate finance matters, including debt-equity swap deals on the US market and with warrant issuings. - Advising the group D’Ieteren on the restructuring of its activities of vehicle distribution and retail business." 

2020: "The corporate and M&A team at CMS attracts praise for its 'understanding of the needs of the client' and applies a 'pragmatic approach'; the group also leverages its European network, which is 'very useful' in cross-border transactions. It has been particularly active in the start-up and scale-up space and recently assisted Magic Leap, the US-based world leader in spatial computing systems, with the acquisition of Belgian start-up Mimesys. The practice is led by Vincent Dirckx, who handles a broad range of cross-border and domestic transactions, and includes Arnaud Van Oekel in Brussels and recently promoted partner Virginie Frémat in Antwerp, who has particular insurance sector expertise. Feedback from clients: ‘Very pragmatic approach. Very correct and sympathetic people to work with.‘ - ‘Ability to work on cases of different sizes by adapting rates without hampering the quality of the work. They succeeded in adapting the size and seniority of the teams by empowering more junior lawyers while keeping strong guidance from seniors.‘ - ‘Virginie Frémat and associate Xenia Vandenabeele both have a lot of knowledge, are open people and very trustworthy. They continue to be involved to see ‘how it goes’ after closing a matter.‘  - ‘Virginie Frémat has a broad knowledge of several legal domains (technical M&A skills, litigation, insurance, real estate) and she always thinks out of the box in complex situations.‘ - ‘As a young lawyer, it is clear that associate Xenia Vandenabeele can be described as a high potential. She really delivered added value in the deals we worked on together"."

2019: "The corporate and M&A practice at CMS, headed up by Vincent Dirckx, has the capability to handle transactions for both domestic and international clients. It recently assisted MoneyGram International with the movement of operations to Belgium from the UK, as well as with opening new branches across the EU. The group is also instructed by Johnson & Johnson, which it  advised on the divestment of several businesses through asset transactions. In another work highlight, the team advised Centrica on its acquisition of Restore."

2018: “‘Good all-round firm’ CMS has a highly regarded corporate department, which is ‘very committed’ and ‘very responsive’. Recent highlights include advising Burger King on the potential acquisition of Belgium fast food chain Quick, and assisting ABN Amro Lease with a cross-border merger with Dutch entity ABN Amro Lease NV. Key practitioners include practice head Vincent Dirckx, ‘outstanding lawyer’ Arnaud Van Oekel, Stéphane Collin and senior associate David Prync.

2017: “CMS has ‘significant experience’ in the corporate and M&A space, where Lampiris, LafargeHolcim and Burger King are key clients. Vincent Dirckx heads the practice, which advised Delhaize on all Belgian aspects of its cross-border merger with Royal Ahold.”

2016: “CMS is ‘quick on the ball’ in corporate and M&A-related matters. The team advised steel manufacturer NLMK on a major business reorganisation and assisted Burger King with setting up a Belgian joint venture. The ‘up-and-coming’ Arnaud Van Oekel is noted and Vincent Dirckx heads the practice.”

2015: "CMS acted for MetLife regarding the sale of its Belgian branch by [to] Nord Europe Assurances. Another highlight was advising German insurer Talanx on Belgian law in connection with the merger with its Belgian subsidiary HDI Gerling. Vincent Dirckx heads the practice, which also includes the recommended Stéphane Collin.”

2014: “Vincent Dirckx heads the practice at CMS, which advises a diverse client base across a range of local and cross-border corporate matters including public and private M&A. Arnaud Van Oekel advised synlab Holding on the acquisition of Laboratoire Dr. Collard. Other clients include Delhaize Group and Orchestra-Prémaman.”

2013: “Vincent Dirckx heads CMS’ ‘business-minded team’, which provides ‘practical solutions’ and ‘great responsiveness’. Recently promoted partner Arnaud Van Oekel advised Orchestra-Kazibao on its takeover of distressed Belgian baby products retailer Prémaman, including the consequent integration and reorganisation. The ‘always solution-oriented’ Cedric Guyot is also recommended.”

2012: “One of the most qualified and outstanding firms in the market’, CMS DeBacker acted on several high-profile M&A mandates in 2011 including advising Delhaize on the €935m takeover of Delta Maxi, and assisting Crédit Agricole on its €527m acquisition of Centea. The ‘business-driven’ Vincent Dirckx leads the team, and Carl Leermakers and Stéphane Collin are also recommended.”

2011: “The new team head at CMS DeBacker, Vincent Dirckx, has applied energy to his team’s work, winning instructions from Delhaize Group, Belgium’s largest food retailer, and local restructuring for Fujifilm, courier services provider Link2Biz and American Express. Cedric Guyot is recommended.”

Dispute resolution

2021: "CMS' 'pragmatic and business-oriented' team has a strong track record in IP litigation and it is also highly active in commercial and competition litigation. In a notable highlight, the group represented MediCare-Market in proceedings against the Order of Pharmacists over alleged infringements of competition law; the Belgian Competition Authority ruled that the Order had infringed competition law by means of restrictive practices. Renaud Dupont, who is well-known for his expertise in IP matters, leads the department. Key clients: Proximus, Delvaux, Amazon, FIFA, MediCare-Market, AIG, Leonidas, The City of Brussels."

2020: "At CMS, the team is acting for Facebook in ongoing proceedings brought by the Belgian Data Protection Authority regarding alleged infringements of privacy protection rules concerning the use of cookies and pixels; the case is currently before the Court of Justice of the European Union. Competition litigation has also been prominent in the group's recent caseload. IP expert Renaud Dupont heads up the department."

2019: "The 'solutions-oriented' team at CMS represents Facebook in proceedings brought by the Belgian Data Protection Authority regarding alleged infringements of privacy protection rules concerning the use of pixels and cookies. Renaud Dupont, who is highly regarded for his IP expertise, is the key figure."

2018: “Among CMS’ recent caseload, counsel Marie Canivet successfully represented Medicare-Market in a case brought by Ordre des Pharmaciens, the Association Pharmaceutique Belge and several pharmacies challenging its economic model. IP specialist Renaud Dupont heads the department.”

2017: “CMS has a specialist arbitration team, which is led by counsel Marie Canivet, and also fields sector-focused litigators, whose expertise spans industries such as media, insurance and retail. Overall department head Renaud Dupont represented AMP in litigation over the termination of a parcel delivery agreement with Mondial Relay.”

2016: “Renaud Dupont’s team at CMS combines expertise in business law with knowledge of insurance, competition and IP. Alexis Hallemans represented Dutch company HDD Group in a trade mark infringement case against a Belgian fitness chain.”

2015: “CMS’ recent mandates span corporate, commercial, insurance, IP and public procurement. The firm is currently representing Protteram in its dispute with Carlsberg Import arising from the termination of a distribution contract. Renaud Dupont heads the team.

2014: “Renaud Dupont heads the team at CMS, which represented global brewer AB InBev in a dispute between its brand Jupiler and competitor Maes regarding the use of blue labelling. It is also advising food retailer Delhaize Group in a damages claim against MasterCard relating to its transaction fees, which were ruled illegal by the EC (on appeal).”

2013: “CMS’ practice is ‘really pleasant to work with’, and provides ‘great responsiveness and practical solutions.’ It covers the spectrum of commercial disputes with particular strength in IP litigation, for which Renaud Dupont is the name to note. Jean-François Goffin has extensive experience in shareholders’ disputes, ‘hands-on lawyer’ Tom Heremans is an ‘experienced’ litigator, and the ‘solution-oriented’ Cedric Guyot is also recommended.”

2012: “CMS DeBacker covers all types of business law disputes, but also has a strong reputation for IP litigation, where Jean-François Goffin and Renaud Dupont recently represented Meura, a producer of processing equipment for breweries, in patent litigation against an international beer brewer.”

2011: “CMS DeBacker’s Cedric Guyot and Jean-François Goffin have been busy with IP-related trademark litigation, commercial agency and distribution claims, commercial arbitrations, as well as extensive shareholder litigation and financial misselling actions. Clients include BNP Paribas.”

Employment

2021: "At CMS, the 'very practical' group is advising the Belgian branch of Qatar Airways on the airline's planned global reorganisation, involving the dismissal of employees from Brussels Airport and Liège Airport. Pensions work has been another notable area of activity for the team. The key contacts are the 'outstanding' Gaël Chuffart, Sophie Berg and Elke Duden ('a steady rock'). Feedback from clients: ‘Elke Duden is always available with advice and energy‘. - ‘Dedicated and supportive‘. Key clients: Deliveroo, Qatar Airways, ExxonMobil.

2020: The 'pragmatic' team at CMS has been kept busy with pensions work, restructuring matters, employee status issues, employee transfers and transactional mandates, among other areas. Gaël Chuffart, Sophie Berg and pensions expert Elke Duden are the names to note. Feedback from clients: ‘Sophie Berg is very good – understands our business and is willing to go the extra mile to support us‘.

2019: "Gaël Chuffart heads the department at CMS, where the team is assisting Deliveroo with employee status matters. Toyota is another key client. Sophie Berg provides ‘practical and commercially sound advice’. In 2018 Elke Duden joined from Linklaters and Jef Degrauwe retired."

2018: “‘Top choice for sensitive files’, CMS’ group impresses with its ‘quick responses and solutions’. Practice head Gaël Chuffart, who is ‘authoritative and knowledgeable’, advised Toyota on a restructuring involving several dismissals. The newly promoted Sophie Berg provides ‘commercial and spot-on advice’ and Jef Degrauwe is also recommended.”

2017: “Practice head Gaël Chuffart ‘leads by example’ at CMS, which assists with domestic and cross-border corporate reorganisations and collective dismissals, as well as giving day-to-day advice on contracts and salaries, among other matters. Sophie Berg, who made associate partner, specialises in domestic and cross-border transfers of personnel. Jef Degrauwe is another key individual.”

2016: “CMS focuses on collective dismissals and closures, transfer of personnel, harmonisation of work conditions, employment housekeeping, and strategic HR advice. Gaël Chuffart heads the department, which recently advised US company Alltech on the closure of a production site for animal feed supplements.”

2015: “CMS advises on national and international transfers, strategic human resources advice, and collective dismissals and closures. The team assisted Lagardère Belgium’s press distribution subsidiary AMP during the closure of a division. Gaël Chuffart now heads the practice.

2014: "CMS’ broad practice has been kept busy with restructurings, collective dismissals and site closures, including advising DP World on the restructuring of its Belgian operations. Practice head Michaël De Leersnyder has a wealth of experience in employment and social security law. Jef Degrauwe and senior associate Sophie Berg are also recommended."

2013: "CMS shows ‘deep and global knowledge’ of human resources and is praised for its responsiveness and flexibility. ‘Expert in the field’ Michaël De Leersnyder advised AMP on business reorganisation, including the collective dismissal of more than 10% of its employees and negotiations with the authorities to obtain authorisation to lower the early retirement age. Associate partner Gaël Chuffart is ‘professional, reliable and pragmatic’."

2012: "Practice head Michaël De Leersnyder and managing partner Stanislas van Wassenhove are the key figures in CMS DeBacker’s ‘very good’ employment team; both have a strong focus on collective labour law. Also recommended, Jef Degrauwe advised Crédit Agricole on employment aspects of its acquisition of Centea Bank, a fully owned subsidiary of KBC Group, which involved due diligence and assisting with integration."

2011: "CMS DeBacker’s Stanislas van Wassenhove had a busy year advising senior executives following the global downturn. His colleagues have been no less busy, with numerous reorganisations involving difficult negotiations- (including on lowering retirement ages), as well as temporary measures to avoid unemployment; all of which involved unions, and some dismissals. The team has also been involved in cross-border mergers, with post-merger harmonisation of employment terms. Clients include Lloyds Development Capital."

Fintech

2021: "The CMS fintech group advises financial institutions, payment service providers and insurance companies on all monetary or token regulatory aspects of Belgian and international fintech law. It also has experience with clients seeking to build digital payment frameworks and obtain consumer credit licences – ranging from governmental institutions and corporates to start-up and scale-up level. Benoît Vandervelde, who made partner in January 2020, leads the practice together with Tom De Cordier and Dirk Van Liedekerke. Clients include Inzmo, Novum Bank, Proximus and Xtrade Europe. Key clients: Qover, Keyrock, IbanFirst, Catalyze, Chubb, Ria Envia, Inzmo, Novum Bank, Proximus, Xtrade Europe. Work highlights:  Assisting Qover on all its legal matters, from the development of new insurance products, full digitalisation of the process, licensing and partnership negotiations. - Assisting Keyrock with its regulatory compliance assessment and funding in crypto-currency, as well as drafting of loans in crypto-currencies. - Assisting Chubb with developing an insurance product to be integrated into the Bsit app, a booking system for baby-sitting purposes."

Healthcare & Lifesciences

2021: "At CMS, the healthcare and life sciences practice is most notable for public procurement work, and often provides assistance to hospitals, healthcare providers and biotech companies. Virginie Dor co-leads the team alongside technology specialist Tom De Cordier and senior associate Bruno Fonteyn; the practice also handles regulatory matters relating to new medicines, medical devices, clinical trials, and the production and supply of PPE following the Covid-19 pandemic. Key clients: European Commission – Euriphi, MedTech Europe, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Synlab, Medi-Market, Hospital of Charleroi, Getinge, OraSure, Roche Diagnostics, Yesss Distribution, Carl-Zeiss, Aspen Pharma, Work highlights: Acting as the legal team of a consortium led by MedTech Europe in the framework of the EU-funded pan-European Euriphi project. - Assisting one of the biggest university hospitals in Belgium in its reconstruction project by drafting the specifications and contracts, conducting the competition procedures for project phase awards, and assisting with the management of strategic decisions and negotiations. - Assisting Getinge with the drafting, preparation and submission of its bid for the EU tender launched by the EU Commission for a project value of €1bn."

2020: "CMS' life sciences and healthcare team counts pharmaceuticals, medical device and biotech companies, hospitals, healthcare providers and public authorities on its broad client list.  The practice is particularly strong for public procurement work, a key area of expertise for Virginie Dor. Dor jointly leads the practice with technology expert Tom De Cordier, who frequently advises on data privacy mandates; and senior associate Bruno Fonteyn, who specialises in regulatory matters relating to hospitals, medical equipment, medical experiments and clinical trails."

2019: “The healthcare and life sciences team at CMS acts for hospitals, healthcare providers and public authorities, as well as pharmaceutical companies, with clients including the Hospital of Charleroi, the European Commission, Aspen Pharmacare and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. Virginie Dor, who has particular expertise in public procurement, heads up the practice alongside counsel Bruno Fonteyn. Annabelle Lepièce is a key name to note for competition law."

Information technology and Telecoms

2021: "At CMS, the 'particularly dedicated' IT and telecoms team 'does not leave stones unturned' when covering a wide range of contentious and non-contentious cases. With recent experience of advising new digital and collaborative economy businesses, the practice is also active in strategic technology matters in the automotive sector. Competition and telecoms expert Dirk Van Liedekerke, who counts Facebook and Proximus among his clients, leads the team alongside data privacy and commercial technology expert Tom De Cordier. Feebdack from clients: ‘The CMS team ensures that all relevant aspects of our matters are covered and dealt with in the best manner possible. Generally, we are faced with complex cases that involve not only questions of international jurisdiction but also a variety of other multidisciplinary issues. The composition of the team proposed by CMS for handling specific cases is always set-up in such a manner that it is capable of combining all the required skills.’ - ‘The CMS team with which I work (principally Dirk Van Liedekerke) is particularly dedicated and does not leave stones unturned. It is very creative in developing new layers of arguments each time when this is needed and they are extremely easy to work with.’ Key clients: Airbnb, Arkance, CDC – Arkhineo, Delvaux, DNS Belgium, Facebook, Proximus. Work highlights:
Representing Proximus in different ongoing investigations regarding the RAN-sharing mobile network agreement that it has concluded with Orange Belgium. - Representing Airbnb in preliminary ruling proceedings at the European Court of Justice and obtaining a ruling confirming that Airbnb’s platform services are to be considered as information society services."

2020: "CMS' IT and telecoms practice attracts praise for its 'high-quality, cost effective and timely manner'. The group is instructed by high-profile companies including Facebook, Proximus and new client Spotify, and handles contentious and non-contentious technology, data protection, regulatory and telecoms issues. Competition and telecoms expert Dirk Van Liedekerke leads the team alongside Tom De Cordier, who focuses on commercial technology and data privacy mandates. Feebdack from clients: ‘The CMS team has supported our company for many years and has significant experience in telecoms and provides consistently high quality, timely, cost effective, and ethical yet practical advice.’ - ‘They are essential to our regulatory operations in Belgium.‘ - ‘Tom DeCordier is the lynchpin to the regulatory team that advises our company and provides exceptional advice in a practical and savvy yet highly ethical manner.‘ - ‘The team that Tom DeCordier oversees is consistently responsive on a wide variety of regulatory matters, and does so in a very high quality, cost effective, and timely manner'."

2019: "With 'expertise that covers a wide range of legal areas, including competition, EU regulatory and privacy', CMS' IT and telecoms team is made up of 'excellent' and 'very dedicated' lawyers offering 'top-notch advice'. 'Exceptional lawyer' Dirk Van Liedekerke, who has particular experience in EU and Belgian competition and telecoms law, leads a team that defends Facebook before the Belgian courts against allegations of infringements of EU and national rules on privacy protection through the use of cookies and pixels. The department also assisted Sagi Export with its successful bid for a contract with the Belgian Ministry of Justice for the provision of in-prison telephony and other electronic communications services. Tom De Cordier heads the practice alongside Van Liedekerke and is a key name to note, particularly for data privacy matters."

2018: “CMS’ team ‘has excellent knowledge in Belgian and EU telecom and data privacy matters’ and provides ‘pragmatic advice with the business perspective in mind’. The group has recently been acting for Proximus in appeals against various decisions of the telecoms regulator. Other clients include Facebook, Amazon Web Services and Swift. ‘Excellent’ practice head Tom De Cordier ‘provides comprehensive regulatory and business advice’. Dirk Van Liedekerke specialises in EU law and telecoms. Associates Anne-Michèle Goris and Adrien van den Branden are also recommended.”

2017: “CMS’ combined IT and IP group is ‘strong both technically and legally’, fielding lawyers who ‘know every trick in the book’. The firm represented Mobistar and BASE in proceedings before the Belgian Constitutional Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union. Practice head Tom De Cordier ‘thinks strategically’ and Alexis Hallemans is very responsive. Tom Heremans is another key figure.”

2016: “CMS’ integrated IT and IP team mainly handles matters regarding domain names, internet marketing, e-commerce, and data privacy. A key client is the ‘.eu’ domain name registry EURid, which was represented in arbitration proceedings before the Czech Arbitration Court. Practice head Tom HeremansRenaud Dupont and Alexis Hallemans are the key partners.”

2015: “CMS’ integrated IP/TMT department assists its clients with issues regarding data privacy, e-commerce, internet marketing and domain names. Clients include media companies, software firms and telecoms companies. Practice head Tom HeremansRenaud Dupont and Veerle Raus are the names to note.”

2014: “CMS has enjoyed a steady flow of work in IT for a notable client base. The firm has extensive experience advising on domain name issues, internet marketing, e-commerce, data protection and privacy matters. Tom Heremans and Renaud Dupont are the key partners and counsel Veerle Raus is also recommended.”

2013: “CMS’ IT disputes experts succesfully represented Deckers Snoeck in a case against Business Software Alliance before the Court of Appeal of Antwerp. The team is also acting in various domain name cases, as well as e-commerce and data privacy matters. Tom HeremansVeerle Raus and Renaud Dupont are recommended.”

2012: “CMS DeBacker’s practice has been busy with work relating to domain names, AdWords, internet marketing and e-commerce. The group recently advised domain name registry EURid in a dispute with a Chinese individual who unlawfully registered 10,000 domain names. Practice head Tom HeremansVeerle Raus and Renaud Dupont are recommended.”

2011: “CMS DeBacker’s lawyers have seen IT-related cases in the Belgian appeals and Supreme Court, and significant volumes of first instance cases on domain name infringement against cyber-squatters. The team advised on a competition app for Facebook, and represented a long-standing client over an argument between two leading brewers, as to alleged infringement of an iPhone app. Tom Heremans is recommended.”

Insolvency and restructuring

2021: "At CMS, the 'extremely thorough' insolvency and restructuring department leverages its multi-disciplinary expertise – particularly in employment and insurance law – to assist clients with safety precautions following obtaining ailing company status, and with the management of any related litigation. Practice head Jean-François Goffin specialises in directors' and officers' liability issues, while Virginie Frémat has experience in distressed M&A and restructuring transactions. Feedback from clients: ‘I would recommend the team strongly for the following reasons: they are real experts, who know what they are talking about and have very broad experience in handling these types of cases. Showing up at a court with CMS as your lawyers already gives the client an advantage: the courts know their seriousness and appreciate it. They are extremely thorough when working on a file and don’t overlook anything.’ - ‘Very professional experts and very responsive; they always try to revert to you within 24 hours. Very open and accept a challenge.’ - ‘They are very responsive to queries and have broad in-house coverage of various legal areas, as well as flexibility in working out practical solutions.’ Key clients: Origin Wine, La Grande Récré, DALKIA BIOGAS, Umedia, Educinvest, Mestdagh, Tronox, Big Fish, JML Concept, GE Healthcare, Nutara, MaxiToys. Work highlights: Assisting the Maxi Toys group in Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland on a cross-border restructuring. - Acting for Dalkia Biogas Belgique in a dispute against a bank claiming funds from the takeover of an insolvent company by a joint venture created by Dalkia and a German company."

2020: "CMS has experience assisting companies, directors and financial institutions facing difficulties, as well as companies involved in the insolvencies of business partners. The practice benefits from the ability to field a multidisciplinary team from its full-service offering. Jean-François Goffin leads the team and has particular expertise in director liability issues. Feedback from clients: ‘Pro-active approach and very responsive which is important in critical, difficult times; able to develop various options and scenarios with their respective pros and cons.‘ - ‘Banking and finance associate partner Benoit Vandervelde has a very pragmatic approach to achieve realistic outcomes'."

2019: "CMS’ insolvency and restructuring team has been particularly active in the retail sector. It advised GiFi on the closure of its Belgium stores and bankruptcy of its nine Belgian subsidiaries. The group also assisted Brico following the financial difficulties of one of its biggest franchisors. In another matter, the group is acting for Verdesis in a dispute brought by a bank concerning money lent by the latter to an insolvent company taken over by the client. Jean-François Goffin heads up the practice."

2018: “At CMS, the team has ‘a decisive, practical and business-like’ approach and the ability to ‘consider the continuity of the business at all times’. Practice head Jean-François Goffin recently advised Idempapers on its judicial reorganisation. On the creditor side, Goffin is advising Namur Invest on Promomed’s bankruptcy proceedings.”

2017: “CMS’ court litigation expertise includes shareholder disputes and directors’ liabilities cases arising from distressed situations, judicial reorganisations and debt restructuring. Jean-François Goffin heads the team, which includes Stéphane Collin, Carl Leermakers and senior associate Grégory de Sauvage.”

2016: “Jean-François Goffin heads the department at CMS, which handles pure insolvency and restructuring mandates as well as ‘soft’ restructuring as part of corporate realignment. The team often works in tandem with the firm’s employment practice.”

2015: “CMS’ team attracts a steady flow of restructuring and insolvency matters, and co-operates closely with colleagues in the employment practice. Jean-François Goffin is the key figure in the team, which mainly acts for public bodies and Belgian and international companies.

Insurance

2021: "The 'sharp', 'tenacious' and 'to-the-point' insurance practice at CMS demonstrates 'a modern-day, hands-on mentality and solution-driven approach' to the cross-border advice it provides for clients including insurers, reinsurers and brokers. Matters typically involve warranty and indemnity provisions, data protection or breach fallout, and rental agreements. Department head Virginie Frémat is praised for her 'high level of expertise' when providing coverage advice and drafting new policies to launch on the Belgian market, while associate Julie De Pauw has 'excellent technical and industry knowledge of complex liability cases'. Benoît Vandervelde made partner in January 2020. Feedbcak from clients: ‘CMS is a highly skilled but very approachable and modern law firm. I would say they are more active in engaging in face-to-face contact with their clients than other firms.’ - ‘CMS is a hands-on law firm that always seeks amicable solutions for its cases, rather than engaging in lengthy proceedings.’ - ‘The individuals all show a modern-day, hands-on mentality and solution-driven approach to their cases.’ Key clients: AON, CHUBB, Markel, AIG Cyberedge, Zurich Insurance, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Gothaer, AXA XL, Assurances Crédit Mutuel, North Europe Life Belgium, North Europe Life Luxembourg, Cigna Life Insurance Company. Work highlights:  Advising Toyota regarding a new warranty system and the offering of a warranty on mechanical and electronic parts of vehicles. -  Advised English broker Howden on setting up a structure in Belgium and on obtaining a new Belgian licence as an insurance intermediary. - Advising the Belgian subsidiary of Lloyd’s Insurance Company, set up in the context of Brexit, in connection with the new Belgian status of managing general agent and its impact on the cover holder’s existing position."

2020: "CMS has a deep bench of insurance sector experts across a wide range of disciplines, which is complemented by the firm's international reach, enabling it to provide a full range of cross-border services to insurers, reinsurers and brokers. A team led by Tom De Cordier provides a first response service to AIG and its insured parties in more than 50 countries in relation to the clients 'Cyberedge' data breach insurance product. Also notable is that Virginie Frémat, Benoît Vandervelde and associate Julie De Pauw assisted Price Forbes UK with setting up a Belgian subsidiary company in order for it to carry out insurance mediation activities in the EEA post-Brexit. On the contentious side, Frémat and associate Xenia Vandenabeele are representing AIG (as the insurer of the Vandemoortele group) in a recourse claim. Frémat and Vandervelde were promoted to partner and associate partner respectively in January 2019. Feedback from clients: ‘Special mention for Virginie Frémat and associate Pieter Dieltjens for their thorough file knowledge. We were very satisfied with their input, availability, working against deadlines and good communication‘ -  ‘Virginie Frémat and Benoît Vandervelde provide quick and competent advice, have a pragmatic approach and offer fair pricing‘."

2019: “CMS serves as a one-stop shop to insurers, reinsurers and brokers, and its sizeable geographical footprint makes it a particularly strong choice for cross-border insurance work. The firm covers the market extensively; led by associate partner Virginie Frémat, its team is highly active in defending insurance claims, advising on coverage issues, insurance policy drafting, insurance litigation and arbitration. Another driver of activity has been the advice to various insurers and brokers on establishing operations in the EU to ensure a smooth transition post-Brexit; a recent highlight saw counsel Benoît Vandervelde advise Willis Towers Watson on the establishment of a base in the EU. In another matter, Frémat and Carl Leermakers assisted Jardin Lloyd Thompson with acquiring Belgibo from Exmar Group, which enabled the client to establish a firm presence in continental Europe. Other clients include Samsung, Swissport and North Europe Life Belgium."

Intellectual Property

2021: "At CMS, managing partner Renaud Dupont is a member of the Benelux Trademarks Associations (BMM) and the European Community trademark association (ECTA), as well as chairing the board of directors at the AIPPI (Association Internationale pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle). Dupont co-heads the practice with Tom Heremans, which is noted for its extensive experience of IP disputes. The team also covers a wide ambit of issues relating to trade marks, patents and copyrights. Heremans and senior associate Lisbeth Depypere are assisting Okay Supermarkten with defending IP rights over its shopping cart logo by way of litigation, with other competitors using similar illustrations. Key clients: Colruyt, Amazon, Troostwijk, EURid, Leonidas, Sisley, Glutton, Birkenstock, DPG Media, M7 Group, Jollymex, PPG. Work highlights: 
Represented Amazon in the lawsuit initiated by Christian Louboutin against two US entities of Amazon in relation to the alleged infringement of Louboutin’s red sole trademark by third party vendors on Amazon.com. -  Representing the famous Belgian chocolates producer Leonidas in several proceedings initiated by the French fashion designer Jean Cassegrain/Longchamp for alleged copyright infringement. - Represented FIFA in litigation initiated by a Belgian individual who claims to have invented the Video Assisted Referee system (VAR)."

2020: "Tom Heremans and Renaud Dupont are the key individuals at CMS, which is perhaps best known for its capabilities in domestic and cross-border patent, copyright and trade mark work. Clients from the chemicals, media, technology and consumer goods sectors are prominent in instructions."

2019: "With 'expertise that covers a wide range of legal areas, including competition, EU regulatory and privacy', CMS' IT and telecoms team is made up of 'excellent' and 'very dedicated' lawyers offering 'top-notch advice'. 'Exceptional lawyer' Dirk Van Liedekerke, who has particular experience in EU and Belgian competition and telecoms law, leads a team that defends Facebook before the Belgian courts against allegations of infringements of EU and national rules on privacy protection through the use of cookies and pixels. The department also assisted Sagi Export with its successful bid for a contract with the Belgian Ministry of Justice for the provision of in-prison telephony and other electronic communications services. Tom De Cordier heads the practice alongside Van Liedekerke and is a key name to note, particularly for data privacy matters."

2018: “CMS represents companies in highly regulated sectors, including TMT, chemicals, food and beverage and pharmaceutical. The IP team covers patents, copyrights and trade marks, with ancillary expertise in anti-counterfeiting and customs actions. Tom Heremans heads the department; Renaud Dupont and Tom De Cordier are also active members of the team.”

2017: “The IP attorneys at CMS are ‘on the ball’ and ‘among Belgium’s foremost specialists in the field’. Highlights included advising retailer Colruyt in proceedings against Chiara Boni before the Brussels Court of Appeal regarding the trade mark for its private label, Boni Selection. Practice head Tom Heremans gives ‘hands-on advice’.”

2016: “CMS is known for its ‘deep IP knowledge and good network’. Highlights included representing fashion company Orchestra-Prémaman regarding the alleged use of the tap and arcuate trade marks of Levi Strauss on its jeans. Practice head Tom Heremans is valued for his ‘hands-on approach’, and Alexis Hallemans is ‘a quick thinker’. Tom De Cordier joined from Allen & Overy LLP.”

2015: “CMS successfully represented Proterram in litigation with Carlsberg Import in connection with a dispute about the distribution of La Ramée special beer. Tom Heremans is the head of department."

2014: “CMS’ broad practice represented AMP (a subsidiary of Lagardère Belgium) in a copyright dispute with sports magazine, Photonews. Tom Heremans and Renaud Dupont are the key contacts."

2013: “CMS ‘knows the industry well and responds swiftly’. Renaud Dupont led the team in succesfully defending French watchmaker CMC diffusion against counterfeiting claims brought by Ice Watch. The ‘experienced’ Tom Heremans and the ‘knowledgeable’ Veerle Raus are also recommended, as is senior associate Alexis Hallemans."

2012: “CMS DeBacker recently represented steel producer Duferco in patent litigation against TPS Group and acted for international football associations FIFA and UEFA in various trade mark matters. Tom Heremans is a key contact, and is affiliated with a number of IP bodies such as the Benelux Trademark Association (of which he became president in 2011) and the Belgian Intellectual Property Council. Veerle Raus and Renaud Dupont are also recommended."

2011: “CMS DeBacker’s Tom Heremans and Veerle Raus are recommended figures, with particular strengths in tradebmark and copyright law, especially in ambush marketing and counterfeiting cases, including those in relation to the recent World Cup. It acted for a leading paper towel manufacturer on whether refills of other brands of paper, dispensed from the manufacturer’s dispensers, can count as a trade mark infringement."

Media and entertainment

2021: "The media, telecoms and gambling department at CMS is an attractive option for clients on cross-border disputes and transactional matters given the firm's wide-reaching international network. Its team is jointly led by IP and disputes partner Tom Heremans and Dirk Van Liedekerke, who focuses on electronic communications and EU competition law. Technology specialist Tom De Cordier is a further name to note for data protection and data privacy advice. Other areas of strength include trade mark enforcement and portfolio management, as well as commercial and copyright litigation. Key clients: Amazon, Rossel Group, Sharingbox, DNS Belgium, DPG Media, FIFA and UEFA, Norkring, EURid, Live Entertainment, Proximus, Deliveroo. Work highlights: Representing Facebook in front of the Belgian courts in proceedings brought by the Belgian Data Protection Authority for a series of alleged infringements of EU and national rules on privacy protection. - Representing FIFA in the Doyen Sports/Seraing cases over the legality of the prohibition on third-party ownership, following sanctions imposed upon RFC Seraing. - Representing Amazon in trade mark infringement proceedings against Christian Louboutin, following alleged infringements upon its red sole trade mark by third parties selling shoes on the Amazon.com website."

2020: "The media and entertainment practice at CMS handles local and cross-border transactions and disputes, and benefits from its ability to leverage the firm's international network. The team is jointly led by Tom Heremans, who handles IP and commercial litigation, and Dirk Van Liedekerke, who focuses on electronic communications and EU and Belgian competition law. Tom De Cordier is a name to note for data privacy advice."

2019: "CMS' media and entertainment team acts for client ranging from FIFA and UEFA to M7 Group and Tipik. The group is defending Facebook before the Court of Appeal against allegations of infringement of EU and national rules on privacy protection regarding the use of cookies and pixels brought by the Belgian Privacy Commission. Tom Heremans, who has particular expertise in IP, advertising and marketing, e-commerce and privacy, heads the team alongside competition law specialist Dirk Van Liedekerke."

2018: “CMS has a good track record handling M&A and commercial and IP litigation for sports and media companies; it also benefits from the firm’s extensive European office network in EU-wide matters. Key practitioners in the multi-disciplinary team are Tom Heremans, Tom De Cordier and Renaud Dupont.”

2017: “CMS’ combined IP/TMT team represented telemarketing company Link2Biz before the Belgian competition authorities in a case against Bpost regarding an abuse of dominant market position. Tom Heremans, Tom De Cordier, Alexis Hallemans and Renaud Dupont are the key contacts.”

2016: “The IP/TMT team at CMS handles a large number of matters for clients in the media sector; recently, it acted for TV Vlaanderen and M7 Group against Bhaalu in an IP-related lawsuit. Tom HeremansAlexis Hallemans and Renaud Dupont are the names to note.”

2015: "CMS’ TMT practice represented the Flemish media company Medialaan. Tom HeremansVeerle Raus and Renaud Dupont are the names to note.”

2014: "CMS’ technology, media and telecoms department is a core area for the firm and it receives a steady flow of work from high-profile clients including AB InBev and Diageo. Tom HeremansVeerle Raus and Renaud Dupont are the key partners.”

2013: "CMS remains active across the sector and advises the M7 Group on copyright and media law relating to satellite broadcasting. The key partners are Tom HeremansVeerle Raus and Renaud Dupont.”

2012: "Recent work for CMS DeBacker includes acting for M7 Group in a Court of Appeal case against the collecting societies, relating to a royalties claim for the alleged retransmission of broadcasting signals via the ASTRA satellite. Tom HeremansVeerle Raus and Renaud Dupont are noteworthy practitioners.”

Privacy and Data Protection

2021: "CMS' team 'unites deep subject matter knowledge on data protection matters, pragmatism and agility'. It is providing ongoing advice to McCain on post-GDPR implementation actions across Europe and has recently been assisting the client with a global inter-company data processing agreement. Practice head Tom De Cordier is 'like a rock in any storm, knowledgeable and responsive and with a good business acumen'. Associates Janick Van Daele, Deven Dobbelaere and Thomas Dubuisson are other names to note. Feedback from clients: ‘A team with good energy and capacities and able to step in for each other when needed‘. - ‘Tom De Cordier’s strengths are in-depth knowledge about data protection laws as well as data security measures, commercial awareness, responsiveness, value for money, and excellent liaison skills in handling global data protection matters‘. Key clients: Checkster, Elia, Facebook, McCain, Miraclon, Sotera, Vocalcom, Yondr."

2020: "Multinational data protection compliance matters are a core area of strength for CMS' team. The client roster includes international names in the food, technology, healthcare, energy and financial services sectors. Practice head Tom De Cordier is 'knowledgeable' and 'always fast to respond'. Feedback from clients: 'The privacy and data protection team is strong on the legal points, very responsive and available and reacts quickly with pragmatic solutions‘."

2019: "CMS' 'very experienced and pragmatic' team is perhaps best known for its well-established expertise in multinational data protection compliance work, and is equally adept at handling security breaches, privacy matters, and local data protection issues. Practice head Tom De Cordier is assisting McCain with post-GDPR implementation actions, after advising the same client on GDPR compliance across its European business."

2018: “At CMS, the ‘responsive and pragmatic’ team excels in multinational data protection compliance projects and also handles local data protection work, security breaches and data transfers. Department head Tom De Cordier has ‘in-depth knowledge and business understanding’ and is assisting McCain with GDPR compliance across its European business.”

2017: “Tom De Cordier leads CMS’ team, which handles data security breaches, data protection policy reviews and cross-border data transfers. Recent highlights include advising Randstad on a global GDPR compliance project.”

Real Estate and Construction

2021: "CMS' 'experienced and user-friendly' team has 'deep understanding of real estate, tax and construction', and is 'very good at cutting through the issues and giving solid practical advice'. Practice head Bruno Duquesne is 'clearly very experienced and understands the market'. Pierre-Axel Chabot advises retail sector entities on a wide spectrum of real estate matters. Senior associate Catherine Matton has 'an excellent eye for details and she is a very skilled, fast-thinking lawyer'. Feedbcak from clients: ‘Bruno Duquesne is always calm and collected and gives easy to understand practical advice‘. - ‘Catherine Matton: her attention to detail and grasp on the finer points was impressive‘. - ‘Bruno Duquesne is a very skilled and experienced all-around lawyer who is capable of providing sound legal advice. He is pragmatic and is focused on finding a solution in order for the client to achieve the best deal possible. He thinks from a commercial perspective‘. Key clients: Investcorp, Fidentia Real Estate, NH Hotels, WeWork, Tesla, Honeywell, European Commission, Logicor, Work highlights: Provides ongoing advice to the European Commission in connection with its Loi 130 architectural project in Brussels. - Advised Investcorp on its €88m acquisition of the Brussels headquarters of Coca-Cola via a sale and leaseback transaction. - Advised Eiffage Développement on a hotel development project."

2020: "The 'very experienced' Bruno Duquesne leads CMS' 'ultra-responsive' and 'pragmatic' team, which counts transactional real estate matters, property finance and development projects as core areas of expertise. The 'very available' Pierre-Axel Chabot is noted for his extensive experience in handling instructions from retail sector entities. Feedback from clients: ‘Bruno Duquesne in Brussels offers a commercial attitude paired with professional experience‘. - ‘Pierre-Axel Chabot truly knows and understands real estate from an investor perspective. He is a very tough negotiator‘."

2019: "CMS provides 'a very high level of service', and is noted for its extensive experience in property finance, development projects and transactional real estate matters. The client roster includes Fidentia BelLx Investments, NH Hotels, Siemens and Hard Rock Cafe. Bruno Duquesne leads the team, in which Pierre-Axel Chabot ('a real negotiator') is a key name."

2018: “At CMS, the real estate group’s ‘local experience, connections and insights are invaluable’ and it is also highlighted for offering ‘good value for money’. Transactional real estate and property finance are among the team’s areas of expertise. In addition, its urban planning and environmental law capabilities were strengthened by the arrival of counsel Gregory Verhelst in 2016 from a Belgian firm. Pierre-Axel Chabot is active in the hotels industry. Bruno Duquesne is also recommended.”

2017: “Clients appreciate the ‘accuracy and speed’ of advice provided by CMS, which acted for Unibail-Rodamco on all tax aspects of Project Neo, a planned mixed-use urban regeneration project in Brussels. Practice head Bruno Duquesne is a property finance expert and Pierre-Axel Chabot is also recommended.”

2016: “CMS advises on all areas of real estate and construction law, including transactions, financing, planning and litigation. Recent work includes assisting real estate company Banimmo with a €44m private bond issuance. Practice head Bruno Duquesne is an expert in property finance.”

2015: “CMS advised a consortium made up of Unibail Rodamco, Besix and CFE on all real estate and tax aspects of the consortium’s bid to redevelop the multi-purpose Heysel Exhibition site. Practice head Bruno Duquesne focuses on real estate finance.”

2014: “CMS advised Terrebois, the private equity and real estate investment arm of Unibra, on the acquisition of a real estate company from real estate investment fund Internos. Department head Bruno Duquesne is recognised for his expertise in property finance [...] and Pierre-Axel Chabot is also recommended.”

2013: “CMS’ ‘proactive and knowledgeable’ practice advises on real estate investment, financing, developments and litigation, as well as PPPs, environment and tax matters. Pierre-Axel Chabot has ‘excellent negotiation skills’, and practice head Bruno Duquesne and senior associate Stacey Smits are also recommended.”

2012: “CMS DeBacker’s ‘whole team is very proactive’, and ‘understands its clients’ businesses and imperatives’. The group recently advised KBC and ING on financing a €120m property investment by Banimmo. Pierre-Axel Chabot has ‘excellent industry knowledge and gives concise to-the-point advice’, and practice head Bruno Duquesne is also recommended.”

2011: “CMS DeBacker’s head of practice Bruno Duquesne and the team received instructions from Westimmo, on a €70m financing of the acquisition of a newly developed built-to-suit office building in Brussels. It also assisted the city government of Brussels with a framework for the redevelopment of a derelict industrial area, and has acted for Brussels Harbour. RBS is a lender client. Pierre-Axel Chabot is also recommended.”

Retail

2021: The 'assertive' and 'very pragmatic' team at CMS is 'able to provide expert advice across the entire spectrum of legal issues' thanks to a full-service and multi-disciplinary approach to matters in the retail sector. Practice co-heads Renaud Dupont, who specialises in distribution-related mandates, and IP expert Tom Heremans advise on commercial lease contracts, trade mark and copyright disputes, cross-border restructurings and terminations of franchise agreements. Recent new clients include Hermès, Medi-Market and Maxi Toys. Feedback from clients: ‘The team is really assertive and has good expertise in the legal aspects of our industry. The team is also very pragmatic. We always receive advice that is adapted to our needs, questions and level of detail that we need for each situation. We really appreciate this way of working. The team is really business-oriented.‘ - ‘Retail is a wide-ranging industry and CMS is able to provide expert advice across the entire spectrum of legal issues.‘ Key clients: Amazon, Lagardère Travel Retail, Boulanger Group, Colruyt, Delhaize, Delvaux, Deliveroo, Hermès, Leen Bakker Leonidas, Medi-Market, Mestdagh, Work highlights: Representing Amazon in trade mark infringement proceedings against Christian Louboutin before the Brussels court. -  Assisting the Maxi Toys group in Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland in relation to a cross-border restructuring. - Assisting French group Boulanger on its acquisition of the Krëfel group in both Belgium and Luxembourg, handling all legal aspects of the M&A transaction."

Tax

2021: "CMS' 'responsive' team handles a broad spectrum of direct and indirect taxation matters, and has had an increase in restructuring mandates. The group's expertise also includes tax litigation, VAT and excise duties, among other areas. Olivier Querinjean leads the group, in which senior associate Arnout  Vaninbroukx and associate Lancelot Decaesstecker are other names to note. Key clients: Amazon, Deliveroo, Dexia, EDF Luminus, Eli Lilly, Thalys, Work highlights: Assisting Barc Lab with various international employment tax matters. - Provides ongoing advice to Deliveroo (both the parent company based in the UK and its Belgian subsidiary) on Belgian tax matters. - Advising technology company Kpler on the tax aspects of its restructuring, including the transfer of its head office to Belgium."

2020: "CMS, whose practice is jointly led by Olivier Querinjean and Didier Grégoire, is strong across all areas of direct and indirect taxation. The firm's ability to coordinate resources across disciplines and across the global network ensures that it consistently attracts high-end, strategically significant work. The group has proven expertise assisting clients with matters such as transfer pricing, reporting obligations and international tax structuring. It also provides day-to-day advice on VAT, tax incentives and local taxes, among other areas. Recent highlights included Grégoire assisting Dassault Aviation group with the tax aspects of the reorganisation of its intra-group financing company and real estate assets in Belgium. Tax litigation is another strong suit of the team, as was evidenced when Grégoire and others successfully represented Groupe Partouche in court proceedings over Caskno's international transfer of seat from Belgium to France."

2019: "CMS' team provides day-to-day assistance with matters concerning areas such as VAT and tax incentives. In addition, it has expertise in more strategic issues, such as inter-group restructurings, transfer pricing, reporting obligations and tax litigation; 'what makes the practice unique is that it has everything in-house - you can ask any tax question concerning any country and you will always have a complete answer '. Also notable is that the team 'gives you an answer very quickly, and the answers are very precise'. The firm's strong offering ensures that it generates work from many leading Belgian and international companies, including Deliveroo and Airbus. It also acts for the Belgian government; in a notable mandate, Olivier Querinjean and Annabelle Lepièce are advising Service Public Fédéral Finances (SPF Finance) on an ECJ preliminary ruling procedure, which relates to the recovery of state aid granted by the Belgian government to a multinational company. Further showcasing the strengths of the practice, Didier Grégoire and others acted for Gesmall on the development of its business in Iran and Morocco, which involved handling the related international tax aspects. Grégoire was also the lead adviser to a consortium - consisting of Unibail-Rodamco, Besix and CFE - on all tax issues associated with the development of the Mall of Europe in Belgium."

2018: “CMS has experience in the gamut of taxation matters, covering direct and indirect tax. It regularly advises its multinational clients on the tax aspects of real estate and corporate transactions. Olivier Querinjean and real estate tax expert Didier Grégoire are the names to note.”

2017: “CMS has ‘excellent knowledge of all tax-related issues’, and there are ‘no nasty surprises regarding fees’. Airbus, Toyota and UBS are active clients. Department head Olivier Querinjean is ‘a good communicator’, with key support coming from real estate tax specialist Didier Grégoire.”

2016: “CMS gives high-quality tax advice in relation to mergers, restructurings, transfer pricing, and structured finance. Head of department Olivier Querinjean ‘gets straight to the point’, Didier Grégoire specialises in real estate tax law.”

2015: “CMS’ practice head Olivier Querinjean has substantial experience in the tax aspects of restructurings, mergers, transfer pricing and structured finance, while Didier Grégoire focuses on real estate-related tax issues. The team has been advising Unibail-Rodamco on the NEO Brussels development project.”

2014: “CMS maintains a good practice with a steady flow of tax work, including advising Orchestra-Kazibao on the integration and reorganisation of Prémaman. Practice head Didier Grégoire is an expert in real estate taxation. Olivier Querinjean advises on the tax aspects of M&A, restructurings, transfer pricing, and structured finance.”

2013: “CMS’ ‘very good’ team is led by Didier Grégoire, who specialises in real estate tax matters and is praised for his ‘ability to adapt to the needs of a customer’. The ‘reliable and available’ Olivier Querinjean focuses on tax aspects of M&A, restructurings, structured financings, transfer pricing, and international tax agreements.”

2012: “CMS DeBacker’s tax department does a ‘very good job at anticipating key issues and delivering practical and quick answers’. The team includes Didier Grégoire, who has a particular focus on real estate tax issues, and Lievin De Wulf, who handles international tax advisory, transactional and contentious mandates. De Wulf recently advised Lombard International Assurances, Luxembourg’s largest life insurer, on tax implications of proposed amendments to the EU Savings Directive.”

2011: “CMS DeBacker provides tax services across a wide range of industry sectors. Practice head Didier Grégoire is a recognised real estate tax expert, especially on the VAT treatment of shopping malls, although his work has included cinemas and developers. Lievin De Wulf advised a large Benelux life insurance provider on the impact of the EU savings directive. Cross-border advice on withholding taxes is also a speciality.”