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This content is provided by Shearwaters.

S h e a r w a t e r s
Tel: +31681838825 and +31619210409

Managing Partners: Martijn van Broeckhuijsen and Maarten Vestering
Number of partners: 2
Number of lawyers: 8
Languages: Dutch, English, German


Shearwaters is a highly experienced boutique firm offering expert advice on Dutch corporate employment law to large corporations, financial services clients and high-profile individuals. The firm has a deep bench of seasoned practitioners who handle both contentious and non-contentious matters, with marked success in complex litigation.

Uniqueness – Shearwaters niche:
Shearwaters is the unique boutique firm in the Netherlands. This is because it is the only boutique firm in the Netherlands focusing solely on Dutch corporate employment law in the international business environment with fee-earners who have gained over 75 years of collective (and relevant) experience at the world’s premier law firms BakerMcKenzie and Linklaters. All mandates brought in by the firm sit tightly within this niche.

The firm's international perspective and vast international experience sets Shearwaters apart from all the other boutique firms, which may appear similar at first glance, but which are in fact not similar given the international/global mindset, experience, sound approach and behavior of the fee-earners at Shearwaters that fit its niche like a glove.

Shearwaters is best known for:
1. Being a seasoned team of committed and trusted advisors with a proven track record in advising corporate clients and executives operating internationally;
2. Its further strengths, which are: 
                                                  • fostering personal relationships with companies and
                                                 • being consistent and pragmatic, business oriented, focused
                                                    and well networked;
                                                 • getting things done, cutting through to key issues;
                                                 • providing sound judgement, not just technical expertise.

Areas of recent growth:
Since its launch in 2015 by former Linklaters lawyer Martijn van Broeckhuijsen and ex-BakerMcKenzie lawyer Maarten Vestering, Shearwaters has grown to a team of 8 lawyers which equals or exceeds the employment law capability of most full-service firms in the Netherlands (as ranked by Chambers to date). Not only in size, but perhaps more importantly, in experience and expertise.

What does the firm do?
The firm continues to bring in high-end mandates of Dutch corporate employment law into the international business environment, and the firm’s lawyers are active on the employment side of M&A transactions and executive ‘hiring and firing’.

Everyone at Shearwaters operates from a deep-seated passion to help the firm’s clients, so that the clients can navigate through the complexities of Dutch corporate employment law. The firm does this by providing:
     1. Transactional support;
     2. Strategic advice;
     3. Litigation capabilities.

The lawyers at Shearwaters are a consistent and seasoned team of committed and trusted advisors; they are highly specialised and very experienced in their field having worked at global law firms for a combined period of over 75 years.

They are particularly adept at advising clients on delicate (executive) dismissals, works council consultation processes, executive remuneration, collective redundancies and reorganisations (including negotiations with trade unions on social plans);

What do others say about Shearwaters?
Independent global legal directories Chambers and Partners (Europe) and The Legal 500 (EMEA) Series recognise, recommend and/or rank (the lawyers at) Shearwaters as a leading firm and/or as leading lawyers.

Sources quoted (from 2014-2019) say:

“Martijn van Broeckhuijsen and Maarten Vestering co-head the group; 'both provide advice without allowing the heat of the situation to interfere with timing and decisions".

"Responsive, commercial and knowledgeable."

"An effective negotiator with a high level of clarity in communication."

"Highly experienced and knowledgeable."

"He has a broad practice that encompasses individual dismissals, restructuring processes and the Dutch employment law aspects of significant global M&A transactions."

"Business oriented, pleasant and factual."

"He has that drive."

"A bold presence, exceptional knowledge, and great to work with. He is able to adapt quite easily; you can put him in different situations and he is comfortable."
"Commercial, helpful and prompt."

"Creative in finding solutions".

"An excellent team with a business-oriented rather than a minimalistic legal view, which helps the transaction."

"The lawyers have a good understanding of M&A and how that translates to the Dutch employment situation.”

“Quick turnaround, clear communications and guidance."

"The team was able to package the advice in such a way that we could easily forward it to other departments in our company. There was no legalese and it was very clear. It really understands us and our commercial drivers."

"Provides advice without allowing the heat of the situation to interfere with timing and decisions".

The firm works from Amsterdam's financial district (prime location: Zuidas, comparable to London’s City);

The firm’s clients are internationally operating corporates, financial institutions and (senior) executives.


Recent examples of our work include: advising corporate law/M&A boutiques and international firms on the employment aspects of various M&A transactions and numerous restructurings; advising an international, Norwegian stock-listed, technology corporation on restrictive covenants and individual dismissals for urgent cause; advising a dual-listed Australian-British multinational and one of the world's largest metals and mining corporations on individual dismissals and on employment aspects to their restructuring of its Dutch business activities; advising a well-known European cosmetics brand on Dutch employment law (i.a. on the delicate dismissal of a prominent board member); advising various companies on all aspects of Dutch employment law related to their 'top executives', (e.g. on remuneration issues, (non-compete and other) restrictive covenants, individual dismissals, group dismissals, collective dismissals, etc).

Corporate employment law.

OFFICES: Amsterdam and informal global network of boutique firms
Barbara Strozzilaan 101
1083 HN Amsterdam,
the Netherlands
tel: +31681838825 and +31619210409
[email protected]