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Archive for March 24th, 2010

The Geographics of Brussels Competition Law Firms

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I visited today the offices of Altius, one of the top Belgian law firms. I was really amazed. Their offices are located at Tour et Taxis, and I must say this is a truly awesome spot for a law firm: very classy building mixing old and modern art; many restaurants, cafes, travel agencies and other service providers on the site; close to the train station and a mile away from the highway to Brussels international airport.

Against this background, I understand less the comparative advantage of settling on Avenue  Louise, as most business law firms do when they do launch a practice in Brussels:

  • It is more expensive than other areas
  • Heavy trafic jam in the morning and afternoon
  • There’s no metro station to get there (only a tram, which often finds itself struck in the trafic)
  • It is far from the highway entry/exit points
  • Buildings are generally huge towers which all look alike

Of course, there are nice shops in the neighborhood of Avenue Louise. Yet, as a law firm manager, you may actually view this as a counteradvantage, in that it will distract staff and associates during lunch breaks. Moreover, most of those shops sell expensive goods and services (jewelry, luxury suits, etc.). Even if competition lawyers earn a very decent life, I am not sure they purchase luxury shoes every day.

In fact, the only decisive thing about Avenue Louise is that it is near  the bois de la cambre, which makes it a cool place for running lawyers.

A number of other firms (e.g., Stibbe, Howrey, Cleary) have actually decided to settle elsewhere than on Av. Louise.

Below, a few other pictures of Tour et Taxis.

Written by Nicolas Petit

24 March 2010 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized