Home News Wemmeke Wisman: "Eager to learn, competitive, and a great sense of duty."

Wemmeke Wisman: "Eager to learn, competitive, and a great sense of duty."

6 March 2024

The Chambers Global Guide 2024 has been announced. Six lawyers from Pels Rijcken have been included because they are leading in their work according to their clients and relations. We asked them to look both back and ahead. Read the story of Wemmeke Wisman Dispute Resolution.

A nice place in a ranking. What does that mean to you?
It is quite nice to receive some professional recognition in this way, including the reactions that follow, sometimes from unexpected sources. It is also useful to be able to refer to it in a pitch. But obviously, what I enjoy most about what I do is the work itself.

What was an important development in your work in 2023?
In my practice, I assist public sector clients and companies in matters that sometimes attract considerable public interest. An important development that has been going on for some time and which I feel poses a challenge to the entire legal profession, is that there seems to be an increasingly dwindling understanding of the role and function of the legal profession in the democratic rule of law. At the same time, lawyers are becoming increasingly, and wrongly, equated with their clients. We defend our clients’ position in a way that is both partisan and independent, but that sometimes seems to escape people. In addition, the respect for the democratic rule of law no longer seems to be self-evident for some people. Although that group is relatively small, respect for the rule of law is fundamental. We also have a responsibility as lawyers to look for a way to deal with these two developments.

What legal challenge will affect many of your clients this year?
Both for the corporates, especially the larger ones, and in the public sector, you can see that litigation in specific cases is increasingly the subject of public debate, when every aspect of legal proceedings can become hotly contested. This is how interested third parties try to exert influence, while ultimately it is up to the parties to the proceedings to make substantive and strategic choices. That affects many of our clients. The key challenge for me is to offer legal advice to our clients in this changing social context. This is certainly no easy task.

Name a colleague’s publication that helped you along
I am a loyal reader of Cassatieblog, which is updated continuously with blogs as well as vlogs about the substantive decisions of the Civil Division of the Supreme Court. It offers a little more context than just the decisions themselves.

The reviews are commendable. What motivates you in this?
I think it comes down to a combination of a number of things. I am reasonably eager to learn and have a competitive streak. Together with a considerable sense of duty, this is a recipe for a very varied life in a profession that can sometimes be difficult, but usually great as well, perhaps even for the same reason. The latter, of course, is also because I am surrounded by highly experienced and knowledgeable colleagues with the same kind of drive.

What (new) book will we ever read from your hand?
I previously wanted to become an author of children’s books, but unfortunately I lack the imagination. I attach too much importance to reality. But, I would still like to write a book sometime about the principle of public access in civil proceedings. That field is undergoing rapid development, as the Supreme Court decision of 21 April 2023 (ECLI:NL:HR:2023:658) shows. Public access is a noble cause, but the privacy of the parties also requires protection. Search engines and their current ability to process data on a large scale have led to an interesting, but at the same time intractable field of tension. A new balance needs to be found and that process is still in full swing, also in administrative law, criminal law and tax law.

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