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05 October 2020

Linklaters mourns loss of 'true European' and former regional head Blumberg

Allen & Overy senior partner Wim Dejonghe among array of senior figures paying tribute to Belgian dealmaker

By Ben Rigby

Jean-Pierre Blumberg, Linklaters' former European managing partner, has died aged 63 following a long illness with cancer. 

A leading corporate lawyer, Blumberg headed up Linklaters’ continental European network of offices from 2008 to 2012 before representing the Benelux offices on the partnership board until 2016. He stood twice for senior partner: in 2011 and 2016. 

The magic circle firm described him as “a true European who brought people together, within Linklaters, in the business community and beyond”. Senior partner Charlie Jacobs, who won the 2016 senior partner election, said: “We have lost an absolute legend and friend and inspiration to so many of us at Linklaters and our clients.”

Bernd Meyring, Linklaters’ Belgian managing partner, added: “His leadership and courage never failed to impress us over the past decades. His entrepreneurial mind-set will always inspire us. He was always positive, strong and never gave up. This is how we will remember him."

Over nearly 40 years of practice, Blumberg worked on an array of signature deals including the IPO of Belgian post office group bpost, the sale of Antwerp’s container port to the Singapore Port Authority and the recapitalisation of Benelux bank KBC during the global financial crisis. 

He competed against the likes of Allen & Overy’s (A&O’s) Dirk Meeus and Koen Geens, of Eubelius. One of his clients, Intervest, said it valued Blumberg’s “calm disposition working in all circumstances”, while newspaper Le Vif said he was “a great professional whose courtesy matched intelligence, wisdom and great culture”.

Fellow Belgian, A&O senior partner Wim Dejonghe, described him as “a legend” and said he had fond memories of spending time with Blumberg as a friend, a colleague and a competitor.

Social media tributes cited his generosity, empathy and inclusivity and also noted his love of music – including jazz piano – and his wide interests outside the law, with one client, Jean-Louis Applemans, saying Blumberg enjoyed “a great hinterland, always with a sparkle in his eye”.

Educated at Leuven and Cambridge, Blumberg  taught corporate law for many years at both the Universities of Antwerp and Leuven.

He became a partner in 1990 at legacy firm De Bandt, Van Hecke, Lagae & Loesch, which merged with Linklaters in 2001, and was national managing partner at the magic circle firm prior to becoming European managing partner.

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