By Matt Richards
Global Competition Review (01 May, 2019, 12:03 PM EDT) US claimant firm Scott+Scott is set to open an office in the Netherlands, as it seeks to address client concerns about the effect of Brexit on competition litigation.
The firm, which specialises in private damages claims that arise from competition law violations, will establish its
Amsterdam office in June. It opened its first European office in London in 2015.
“Scott+Scott is the first transatlantic firm in the Netherlands devoted exclusively to claimant litigation,” managing partner David Scott said.
The firm already represents European companies Hermès, GrandVision and Vodafone in lawsuits against Visa and
Mastercard, following the European Commission’s investigation into the companies’ unlawful interchange fees.
Although the firm already had a London office, in-house counsel at a variety of clients said they were concerned about the uncertainty caused by the UK’s exit from the European Union, Scott said. It is difficult to tell these clients with
100% certainty that Brexit will not affect litigation, he added.
“The perspective that there is some uncertainty was the main driver for many to say: ‘we’d like an option – we’d like something other than the UK’,” he said. Those discussions pushed him to explore a Dutch office more aggressively, he added.
The firm considers the Netherlands to have a robust litigation regime, whose courts are increasingly friendly to private competition damages claims, the firm said in a statement. The new office will allow US clients to contest claims without using Dutch law firms as external counsel, the firm added.
Scott said he fully expects and intends the Amsterdam and London offices to work closely together. That said, the new office already has some cases lined up.
The firm is representing national utilities companies in several gulf states including Oman and Bahrain, which are pursuing follow-on damages claims related to the submarine cables cartel. According to Scott, the new office is a direct response to the needs of these types of companies, as well as various US-based financial entities and pension funds that have increased their exposure to foreign investment in the past 10 years.
Scott declined to say who will lead the new office, but four to six lawyers are expected to be based there within six months of launching. “There has been tremendous interest from the Dutch legal community for joining us, so that office I suspect will grow, I’m hoping in tandem with the UK office,” he said.
Alongside Amsterdam and London, the firm has offices in New York, Connecticut, California, and Ohio, with around 100 lawyers in total.