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Willem Heemskerk

Attorney-at-law • Partner

Willem Heemskerk has been with Pels Rijcken since 1992 and is one of the most experienced litigators in the Netherlands. He handles complex civil law disputes for mainly large national and international companies. His areas of expertise include liability, damage & insurance, professional liability, attachment, collection and enforcement, and media law. Willem acts as counsel both in adjudication as well as arbitral proceedings. 

He is regarded as a leading expert in Dutch civil procedural law; he has many publications to his name, was the Vice President of the Dutch State Advisory Committee on procedural law, and regularly serves as expert in foreign proceedings. For many years, Willem is ranked in Band 1 for Dispute Resolution in the Chambers Global and Europe Guide and in the Hall of Fame for Dispute Resolution: Commercial Litigation in The Legal 500 Guide. In late 2018, Willem was recognised as the “Best Litigator in the Netherlands” in an election organised by the VIA.


  • "Willem Heemskerk is an impressive senior leader – he exudes a calm image but knows when to fight." - The Legal 500, 2024
  • "Willem Heemskerk is one of the best for litigation. He wins cases because of his knowledge and strategies, but always with respect for others and he would never undermine them. Therefore he is a very mature lawyer, who handles cases with humour and respect." - The Legal 500, 2024
  • “Willem Heemskerk is very knowledgeable, very responsive and highly motivated to achieve an optimal outcome.” - Chambers Europe, 2024
  • “His main quality is definitely his sharp but amiable approach of things. He is very responsive, always available and makes sure there is a smart team around him.” - Chambers Europe, 2024
  • "Willem is always very well prepared, creative, well organised and a clear and solid adviser." - Chambers Europe, 2023
  • "Willem Heemskerk serves as both counsel and arbitrator and has a high reputation in the Dutch arbitration community. He is strategic, cooperative, pragmatic and pleasant to work with as opposing counsel and arbitrator. This allows him to build very positive and strong relationships with clients and fellow practitioners alike and to always seem in control of matters, no matter how challenging." - The Legal 500, 2023
  • "Willem Heemskerk is a great adversary. He speaks and writes very well." - The Legal 500, 2023
  • "Willem Heemskerk is always well prepared. He moves quickly and you feel supported as a client. He is nuanced and sensible in terms of strategy." - The Legal 500, 2023
  • "Willem Heemskerk is a natural leader and an excellent lawyer in every respect. He listens and always shows that he makes his decisions based on facts." - The Legal 500, 2023