02 Sep 2020

Cooley hires cybersecurity team from DLA Piper in Brussels

Data privacy co-chair Patrick Van Eecke is switching firms with a three-strong team

Patrick Van Eecke

Patrick Van Eecke: 'Unique, collaborative culture'

Cooley has hired Patrick Van Eecke, the global co-chair of DLA Piper’s data protection and cybersecurity practice, as a partner in its Brussels office. 

He joins Cooley with a three-person team of French, Spanish and Latvian professionals. Van Eecke leaves DLA after nearly eighteen years at the firm, having joined in 2003 from PwC’s associated Belgian law firm, Landwell, where he also held leadership roles.

His practice spans data protection and privacy interests, as well as e-commerce, marketing, advertising and consumer-related legal advice. 

His academic credentials are equally strong, combining practice with teaching engagements as a professor at Antwerp, King’s College London, and Queen Mary University, building on studies at Leuven and Stanford in this area. 

With a broad client base, which has included consultancy work for the European Commission, as well as states and multinationals, including internet service providers, telecoms majors and software developers, Van Eecke is highly regarded in both EU and Belgian circles for this work.

One source praised him for his professionalism and pragmatism, not least in e-commerce advice, adding he is “very proactive”. 

Michael Rhodes, chair of Cooley's global practice in cybersecurity and data protection, said: “Patrick is one of the outstanding European lawyers of his generation, and he has a significant market reputation for deftly working across various European jurisdictions. 

“His skills will be a significant asset to our team and to our clients, particularly as we continue expanding our Brussels office and our capabilities across Europe.” 

Van Eecke will take on new leadership roles at his new firm, acting as the firm’s European data privacy and cyber lead, and vice chair of the global practice, which last hired at this level in 2018 in the US, from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Van Eecke cited the firm’s high standing with technology clients, not least for complex casework, as well as the firm’s “unique, collaborative culture”.

His arrival, at a time when EU data privacy law is in a state of flux, following recent caselaw, will boost the firm’s standing in the competitive Brussels market, having opened there last year.

Joining Van Eecke will be French lawyer Anne-Gabriele Haie, who has strong policy and legal credentials, Spanish lawyer, Enrique Gallego Capdevila, who has European Commission and start-up experience alongside his time spent at DLA Piper, and Latvian professional support lawyer Anrijs Simkus, who has government, EU, and private practice credentials.  

As a mark of its expansion, post-lockdown, Cooley moved into new office space in the Belgian capital, in Spectrum, a state-of-the-art new building, having moved to new London premises last year, and opened in Singapore in January.

While Van Eecke’s arrival is somewhat of a coup for Cooley, it follows a period in which its London office saw Morgan Lewis gaining a nine-strong IP team in June, while experienced EU and UK antitrust partner, Becket McGrath, left for Euclid Law in the same month