Steptoe & Johnson LLP announced today that Steptoe will acquire the Brussels practice of Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly LLP — a premier group of regulatory specialists with years of experience in solving commercial problems in Europe. This established group of 3 partners, 1 Counsel and three associates augments and complements Steptoe’s U.S. and European Union (EU) regulatory and trade practices by contributing expertise in international trade, competition, financial services (including banking and insurance), and chemical, pesticide, biotechnology and food safety regulations.
Already preeminent in the fields of international trade and regulation, Steptoe is noted for its expertise in antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings, WTO dispute resolution and policy, international trade policy, export controls and sanctions, international tax, environmental regulation, and technology security issues.
“Increasingly, our clients encounter regulatory, trade, and competition issues in the EU,” said Steptoe Chairman Lon Bouknight. “As European regulations expand, actions in such areas as competition, environmental law, food safety, chemical regulation, and privacy protection can adversely affect multinational companies. The Oppenheimer group, led by Jean Russotto, brings a sophisticated understanding of EU law essential to the successful resolution of these important issues on behalf of our clients.”
Mr. Russotto is joined by two partners from Oppenheimer –Phillip Woolfson, an insurance and financial services attorney who concentrates on Community and French law, and James Searles, an international trade and environment lawyer, who started legal practice in Brussels in 1981 and concentrates his practice on EU law and regulatory issues. They join Kees Kuilwijk, a partner specializing in technology issues, who has lead Steptoe’s Brussels office since it opened in 2002.
Mr. Russotto has extensive knowledge of the EU institutions and the complexities of EU decision-making. He is frequently called upon to advise and represent client interests at the highest political levels with regard to national, EU, and international market issues. His EU practice includes customs and the free movement of goods, environmental protection, and the legal issues encountered by EU high technology industries, such as pharmaceuticals and life sciences. Mr. Russotto commenced legal practice in Brussels in 1972, focusing on EU law.
Mr. Woolfson is a leading authority on cross-border insurance regulation under EU and French law. He also brings experience in other financial services areas such as mutual funds, banking, investment services, as well as in competition, and e-commerce. He has practiced both in Paris and Brussels.