Global law firm Reed Smith has opened its fifth European office in Brussels to focus on regulation, trade and antitrust.

Five partners, one counsel and two associates join the new office, with the partners all holding their positions within the firm’s global corporate group.

The new team will concentrate on regulation, trade and antitrust, working across a range of industries including energy, commodities, financial services, transportation and media.

The office opened earlier this month and the team will initially be based on Rue Belliard, moving to a permanent location in the next few months. Delphine Currie, co-chair of Reed Smith’s global corporate group, is leading the integration effort in Brussels.

The five partners joining the company are Christian Filippitsch, Geert Goeteyn, Yves Melin, Isabelle Rahman (pictured) and Wim Vandenberghe. Max Seuster joins as counsel and Bérengère Vigneron and Jin Woo Kim as associates.

Melin, a key trade law hire, joins from Steptoe & Johnson where he was a partner. He will focus on trade remedy investigations, customs compliance and investigations, sanctions and export and import controls. Filippitsch moves from Norton Rose Fulbright where he held a partner role. He will focus on regulatory law, merger control and antitrust. Goeteyn, whose practice centres on EU competition, merger and regulatory law with a focus on aviation and technology, joins from Shearman & Sterling where he was a partner. Rahman moves from Sheppard Mullin where she was a partner. She will focus on EU competition law and merger control. Meanwhile, Vandenberghe, whose practice concentrates on EU regulatory law and public policy advice across energy and technology, joins from Deloitte Legal where he was a partner.

Seuster moves from Norton Rose Fulbright and will focus on EU competition, as well as on merger control and regulatory law. Vigneron and Woo Kim both join from Steptoe & Johnson and their practices concentrate on international trade and customs.

Tamara Box, Reed Smith’s managing partner for Europe and the Middle East, says that the opening of the Brussels office is led by client demand, adding: “While we have had a very strong presence in continental Europe for many years, the rapidly changing political and economic environment across Europe demanded that we establish an on-the-ground presence in the EU capital. Our new team is highly experienced in engaging EU policymakers on behalf of clients for their global competition, regulatory and trade matters.”

Melin says: “In the current volatile trade environment, clients are increasingly seeking a single adviser who can help them understand the impact of duties and trade measures on their supply chains, mitigate the impact of such measures, and if necessary defend against them.”

The European hires follow a raft of new team developments across Asia. After gaining a license to practice trade and commodity law in Singapore in 2016 – a move that Reed Smith Singapore’s managing partner at the time Barry Stimpson said would enable the firm to extend its services in the areas of physical commodities transactions and finance – the firm has made multiple changes to its Asia team. Most recently, in November, GTR reported that Singapore-based partners Stimpson and Jessica Kenworthy had left the company to join rival law firm Squire Patton Boggs, working in its new global commodities and shipping group. Additionally, Reed Smith hired disputes lawyer Peter Glover as a partner focusing on the shipping industry and international trade in Hong Kong in September.