Home News Willem Heemskerk: 'Great drive to find the best solutions for clients'

Willem Heemskerk: 'Great drive to find the best solutions for clients'

22 February 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 colleagues. We asked them to look both back and ahead. Read the story of Willem Heemskerk, Dispute Resolution, here today.

A nice spot on the rankings. What does that mean for you?

Getting a high ranking is incredibly fun. Of course, I don't do this job for the rankings, but because I enjoy it and it energises me on a daily basis. However, if your clients and colleagues let you know in such positive terms and with such nice quotes that they also appreciate that work, it does give additional motivation to continue along the same path, with great enthusiasm.

What was an important development in your work in 2023?

I have been involved as a lawyer in complex (and often international) civil proceedings in the public courts for several decades, but in recent years I have increasingly been working in the national and international arbitration practice, which again expanded substantially in 2023. I think that it's a very fun 'branch of sport' that has many rules of its own but in which I, as an experienced litigator, also know my way around well.

What legal challenge has affected many of your clients this year?

The WAMCA! The Settling of Large-scale Losses or Damage (Class Actions) Act (WAMCA) came into force in 2020, but it is now really starting to be discovered by claimants, resulting in a lot of case law. In large-scale damage cases, I work almost exclusively for defendant companies, and in those cases new questions arise again and again with regard to transitional law, applicability of the WAMCA, admissibility of the claimant, and more.

Name a publication by a colleague that helped you step it up!

My colleague Martijn Scheltema has written an incredibly accessible monograph on "Fulfilment". In proceedings, you often have the question of exactly how obligations are to be met, such as whether a person can pay to someone other than the creditor or whether someone has to accept a payment from someone other than the debtor; one look in Martin's book and you will have the answer.

The reviews are laudatory. What are the driving forces behind this for you?

I think this is the most enjoyable profession I can think of, and still feel a great drive every day to to excel, to devise and achieve the best solutions for clients, but above all to take away their concerns as much as possible. What I notice more and more is that you can use your experience as much as possible: you've dealt with most things one way or another, and that puts you in a better position to come up with an appropriate strategy in the process. And if you have never dealt with something, surely you are still more easily able to make connections and see structures to come to a solution.

What (new) book will we ever read from your hand?

I have already edited a few times, with colleagues, a textbook on civil procedure law, and we will do that again soon. This year, I will also be writing a chapter in a new handbook on large-scale losses or damage, I am very much looking forward to that.

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