Jeroen, what exactly is ADVOC?
“ADVOC is an international network of law firms. It is divided into chapters, of which Europe is the largest with the most members. Each member firm has proven to be immediately ready to provide quality advice and legal services when approached by partner firms. This means that clients operating internationally can rely not only on the support of their own law firm, but also on the knowledge and experience of more than 90 partner firms.”
How did you get involved in ADVOC?
“Boels Zanders was one of the founders of the network in 1990, so as a firm we have always been involved. In 2007, I myself first accompanied a colleague to a meeting, held in Singapore that year. Since then, I have attended a lot of meetings. Often they are organised from within our own chapter but there are also regular meetings involving the whole network. Every time, I find it immensely important and fun to meet again people I have known for so long.”
What do you think is the big advantage of your participation?
“Through ADVOC, we have a global network of lawyers. I know a lot of them personally. This makes a huge difference, especially in our profession, where trust is so incredibly important. I myself have a corporate M&A practice in which I guide companies through mergers and acquisitions. We are often the directing force of a process taking place abroad. If my client’s interests need to be looked after in France or Australia, I know there is a reliable partner to help. And, conversely, if our ADVOC partners need a legal advisor in the Netherlands, they know who we are and what we can do.”
As a lawyer, you are known for your personal touch. You assist companies as a trusted advisor. How do you achieve this?
“In mergers and acquisitions, the stakes are high. As far as I am concerned, the only way to serve clients is with a personal touch. But trust has to be built up over the years. You have to make the effort and invest in long-term relationships with clients. We have a strong team that allows us to fulfil that role. Most clients stay with us for years, I’m quite proud of that.”
What is the most challenging case you have ever dealt with?
“There are a few, but one of my favourites is a case we handled with ADVOC partners from different countries. It involved the sale of a company in the logistics sector, with shareholders in different countries. Law firms from Poland, Denmark, the UK and Spain collaborated with us as part of a lengthy and intensive process to bring the transaction to a successful conclusion. It was a case where ADVOC really proved its worth.”