Van Bael & Bellis Strengthens International Trade Practice in London with New Hires
Van Bael & Bellis (VBB), a prominent EU antitrust and trade firm based in Brussels, is expanding its presence in London by establishing an international trade team. The team will be strengthened with the addition of senior lawyers from Crowell & Moring and Ashurst.
Michelle Linderman, a former partner at Crowell & Moring, will spearhead the formation of the new team at Van Bael & Bellis. Assisting her in this endeavor will be Ross Denton, senior counsel and former head of international trade at Ashurst.
VBB, a renowned firm with a strong reputation in EU antitrust, trade, regulatory law, and commercial disputes, expressed that the addition of the new team members will enhance the expertise and capabilities of its trade teams in Brussels and Geneva.
According to Linderman, there has been remarkable growth in EU and UK sanctions and export control legislation over the past 14 months.
“Working with the team at VBB, Ross and I will be well placed to provide clients with the commercially-focussed, practical and strategic guidance needed in this complex area of law,” Linderman said.
Linderman brings extensive experience to the firm, having spent six years at Crowell in London and previously serving as a partner at Ince & Co. With over 20 years of experience, she has provided valuable guidance to clients on various aspects of UK-specific and cross-border sanctions, the UK Modern Slavery Act, export controls, cybersecurity, and other specialised areas about national and international trade, as well as financial sanctions. Additionally, she possesses expertise in handling complex commercial disputes.
Denton brings a wealth of expertise to the team, specialising in export controls, sanctions, customs, trade remedies, cartels, state aid/subsidy control, and foreign direct investment control.
With nearly three years at Ashurst and over 30 years of practice at Baker McKenzie, Denton has gained extensive knowledge and experience in these areas, making him a valuable addition to the team.
“I am delighted to be joining VBB in London with Michelle, who is a genuine sanctions specialist, and a great lawyer,” Denton said.
After Brexit, the UK has regained its authority to establish and implement its trade policy. However, the London legal market has not fully adapted to meet the demands of clients in this area. Michelle and I are thrilled to be invited to assist VBB, a distinguished European trade firm, in developing its trade practice in the UK, Denton expressed.
VBB's decision to expand in London is a direct response to the increasing demand from its EU and UK clients. They require comprehensive support in navigating parallel enforcement regimes and addressing the mounting regulatory scrutiny stemming from the global shift towards more stringent economic security and environmental policies.
Since its inception in 2020, the firm has positioned itself as a specialised referral destination, catering especially to Asian and US law firms seeking EU guidance for their clients. The establishment of its London office was a strategic response to the impact of Brexit, providing the firm with the ability to offer expertise in UK law through its London arm.
As a result of the addition of Linderman and Denton, VBB decided to relocate its office from Chancery Lane to a more spacious location at Holborn Gate, specifically at 330 High Holborn. The expanded London team specialises in UK and EU competition, international trade, and international dispute resolution, covering various sectors such as digital, energy, steel, mining, shipping, and financial institutions.