Expanding its presence in Europe, Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP has opened an office in Brussels, bringing on two new partners with extensive international trade and regulatory experience.
Sidley’s Brussels office will assist clients with trade, regulatory and competition law issues in the European Union. The new resident partners are Richard Weiner, former Expert Consultant on international trade to the European Commission, and Belgian-qualified lawyer Laurent Ruessmann whose practice focuses on EU trade and customs law. Mr. Weiner previously headed the Brussels trade practice for another firm, where Mr. Ruessmann was also a partner.
They will be joined by Maurits Lugard from Sidley’s Washington, D.C. office. Mr. Lugard earlier spent eight years with the European Commission, including a stint with the Commission’s Legal Service.
“Opening in Brussels is a logical step in our global strategy,” said Thomas A. Cole, Chairman of Sidley’s Executive Committee. “As capital of the world’s largest single market, the regulatory and policy decisions in Brussels affect how our clients do business throughout the world. Our Brussels team will work seamlessly with our lawyers in Asia and the U.S., as well as with our existing offices in London and Geneva.”
Mr. Cole added that the firm plans to expand the Brussels office in coming months with EU competition law capabilities.
“Launching a Brussels office with Richard Weiner and Laurent Ruessmann gives us a unique opportunity to round out our global trade practice,” said Daniel M. Price, who chairs Sidley’s 40-member international trade and dispute resolution group out of Washington. “These two premier professionals bring a rich perspective on European trade and regulatory law and policy. With the additional skills and experience of Maurits Lugard, the office will be of great benefit to our clients.”
As the partners in a Brussels trade practice ranked among the five finest by the European Legal 500, Messrs. Weiner and Ruessmann bring broad experience in trade, regulatory and transactional matters involving European and multinational clients. They represent EU and foreign-based companies in regulatory, trade remedy, market access, and customs matters before EU Member State authorities, the European Commission and the European Courts.
They have also served as counsel to the European Commission’s Legal Service on WTO matters and have represented corporate stakeholders in WTO disputes. Their clients include companies and trade associations in financial services, aviation/aerospace, steel, consumer electronics, cosmetics, agriculture, transportation, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and telecommunications.
Mr. Weiner is one of the few Americans to have served as an Expert Consultant to the European Commission. Mr. Weiner, who has practiced in Brussels since 1989 and is an associate member of the Brussels Bar, is also a member of the California and District of Columbia Bars. He graduated from Harvard College in 1981, from the University of Cambridge in 1982, and from Columbia University Law School in 1985.
Mr. Ruessmann graduated from the University of Michigan in 1980 and from the University of Michigan Law School in 1987. He received a degree in Belgian law from the Université Catholique de Louvain in 1992. He has a specialized qualification in Belgian and European tax and customs law and is a registered CPA. Mr. Ruessmann is a member of the Bars of Brussels and the State of Michigan.
Mr. Lugard graduated from the University of Leiden Law School in 1988, from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in 1991, and received a masters in International Economic Law from the University of Michigan in 1997. He is a member of the New York Bar.