Law Firm Quality Rankings: Chambers Global Dutch Caribbean 2015

Every spring legal publishers present their view on the global market for legal services. In their so called “legal directories”, they provide information for potential buyers of legal services, ranking law firms and their individual attorneys according to their credentials and experience.
International publisher Chambers & Partners published its global ranking of law firms Chambers Global for 2015 on 12 March.
In this ranking Dutch Caribbean law firms Spigt Dutch Caribbean and VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne are the leading go-to firms. These two firms have the desired Band 1 firms status, like last year. 
Ranked firms 
In alphfabetical order within each band, these are the ranked firms in the category of General Business Law: Dutch Caribbean:
Band 1
Spigt Dutch Caribbean
VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne
Band 2
Band 3
SMS Attorneys-at-Law
Soliana Bonapart & Aardenburg
Spigt Dutch Caribbean is described as "well established in the jurisdiction and benefits from the additional expertise of its partner office in Amsterdam. It handles a broad range of general commercial issues for a client base that includes a significant number of Dutch organisations. It has a strong presence in litigation and corporate finance, and is also very proficient advising on stocks, bonds, bankruptcy and M&A."
On VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne Chambers says "This local powerhouse has offices on every island in the Dutch Caribbean and attracts praise for its capacity to handle both local and international mandates. Corporate work is a major strength for the firm, and it is able to handle large transactions for major financial organisations. It also has notable involvement in the energy sector and regularly advises government-owned companies. Its litigation department frequently undertakes insurance and employment-related issues."
Four out of eleven recommended individual lawyers on Curacao are partners of VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne.
Four out of eleven recommended individual Dutch Caribbean lawyers in Chambers Global are partners of VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne. Together with Steffen Hagen, who is individually ranked in Chambers Europe for Intellectual Property, the firm has five leading individuals. No other firm provides more than one individually ranked lawyer, now that Karel Frielink has left Spigt Dutch Caribbean for BZSE Attorneys at Law.
The reviews regarding the Band 2 and 3 firms are as follows:
HBN Law: "This firm is heavily involved in corporate litigation and banking and finance. Other areas of activity include corporate restructuring, note issuances and M&A. The team regularly undertakes casework on behalf of the Curaçao government and has a wealth of experience in the public sector. The practice benefits from the broad-based experience of its diverse European and Caribbean staff, and frequently acts on international mandates."
SMS Attorneys at Law: "This Curacao-based firm offers a wide range of legal services for both local and international clients, with significant expertise in refinancing transactions and employment law. The team is also adept at handling construction matters."
Soliana Bonapart & Aardenburg: "Litigation is a key area of strength for this well-established domestic firm. It also covers employment, construction, real estate and M&A. It is known in the market for its regular work on behalf of the government and its involvement in bankruptcy cases. Other highlights include acting as local counsel on a global dispute in the telecoms sector." 
STvB: "This firm focuses on banking and finance and corporate issues. It maintains a strong international practice acting for a high volume of offshore companies. It assists aviation sector clients with financing deals, and is also well equipped to advise on funds-related issues."
Ranked Lawyers
Chambers & Partners also annually ranks individuals. This year eleven lawyers receive this honorable praise, all of which are based on Curacao. Five of this elite group of lawyers come from Band 1 firms VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne and Spigt Dutch Caribbean, with the first having four recommendations and the latter one. All other firms have one named lawyer.
See below for a full overview of recommended individuals, in alphabetical order within each band:
Band 1
Eric de Vries (HBN Law)
Karel Frielink (BZSE Attorneys at Law)
Frank B M Kunneman (VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne)
J M Randolph van Eps (VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne)
Martijn Welten (Spigt Dutch Caribbean)
Band 2
Michiel Gorsira (VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne)
Focco W Lunsingh Scheurleer (VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne)
Mirto Murray (SMS Attorneys-at-Law)
Willem Van Bokhorst (STvB (formerly Smeets Thesseling van Bokhorst))
Band 3
Thomas Aardenburg (Soliana Bonapart & Aardenburg)
Quincy Carrega (Asjes & Carrega)
All reviews on recommended individuals:
Eric de Vries (HBN Law) is "best known for his capacity to handle contentious proceedings and is described by sources as "an excellent litigator." He also covers transactional issues and is noted for his work in the telecoms sector."
Karel Frielink (BZSE Attorneys at Law Curacao) was first ranked in Chambers Global 2010. He joined BZSE Attorneys at Law at the start of 2015, after leaving Spigt Dutch Caribbean. "He is frequently involved in corporate governance issues and does a lot of work for financial institutions. Commentators suggest that he is "an authority on corporate law" and "one of the most active lawyers around."
Frank Kunneman (VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne) is praised for his wealth of experience in this jurisdiction, "and sources describe him as "very professional and knowledgeable." He also works in risk management and compliance, and is involved in the academic side of law in his capacity as a professor."
Randolph van Eps (VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne) is highlighted as "a sophisticated corporate litigator" and "a good negotiator" by market commentators. He advises top executives and government-owned companies.
Martijn Welten (Spigt Dutch Caribbean) is said to have "an excellent reputation among his peers in the market, and he is active working alongside project developers and handling commercial litigation. "He managed the whole process extremely well and got everyone on the same page," said one interviewee."
Michiel Gorsira has according to Chambers noteworthy expertise in insurance litigation and corporate work. Sources say he is "smart and efficient," and emphasise that "he has long-standing experience in Curaçao."
Focco Lunsingh Scheurleer (VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne) is said to to be a popular choice for international financial services and real estate work. Interviewees describe him as "quick, bright and to the point."
Mirto F. Murray (SMS Attorneys at Law) is singled out for his "broad practice, which encompasses criminal law, business law, and banking and finance. He is particularly noted for his skills as a litigator, and previously held the position of president of the Curaçao Bar Association."
Willem Van Bokhorst (STvB) "covers financial and corporate work, and frequently assists clients with funds and trusts issues."
Quincy Carrega (Asjes & Carrega) is recognised for "his capabilities in corporate law and litigation. Sources are impressed with his work and remark that he "can be very convincing in whatever he brings forward.""
Thomas Aardenburg (Soliana Bonapart & Aardenburg) according to Chambers impresses sources, who say that it is "always a pleasure doing deals with him." He is also renowned as a strong litigator.
For twenty five years this large and reputable legal publishing house has been publishing the leading directories of the legal profession. In their process they select firms based on three steps: submissions put forward by law firms upon request of the publisher; client interviews seeking feedback and lawyer interviews providing peer reviews, both administered by seasoned and objective researchers; and, finally, database research.
The qualities on which rankings are assessed include technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, commitment, and other qualities most valued by the client. 
Individual lawyers are ranked (in their practice-area(s)) on the basis of their legal knowledge and experience, their ability, their effectiveness, and their client-service. 
Law firms and individual lawyers are ranked in bands from 1-6, with 1 being the best. 
For last year’s publication, please click here.
13 March 2015 
Dutch Caribbean Legal Portal

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