Your partner in British Dutch Business

COMPANY NAME - Leeman Verheijden Huntjens Advocaten

NAME - Madelon van Breemen

JOB TITLE - Advocaat/Solicitor (Non-practicing) COMPANY TYPE Law Firm

1. What is your core business and your personal unique selling point?

My core business is helping English-speaking small and medium enterprise (SME) clients with their legal issues in the Netherlands and Dutch SMEs with their operations in the UK. As I was brought up in the UK and I am Dutch by birth, I know and understand the culture of both countries. I previously qualified in both jurisdictions, so in the UK and in the Netherlands, and now I focus on Dutch law using my experience when I practiced law in the UK. My work focuses on giving legal advice to SMEs as I greatly enjoy working with them. Despite being smaller in size, substantial risks are still present for SMEs. Further, I have worked as an in-house legal counsel at several international companies and this experience allows me to appreciate how commercial targets interact with legal risk. Due to my extensive experience working with SMEs, I can apply this knowledge within the context of their businesses.

2. What distinguishes your legal advice to SMEs from that of your competitors?

I specialise exclusively in the SME market and know both sides of the North Sea well. As SMEs generally have limited budgets, I always agree on a price upfront to ensure there are no surprises. My time as an in-house counsel has also taught me how to accommodate all aspects of the business whilst providing sound legal advice on, for instance, how finance, operations, and human resources may be affected by expanding business overseas. By considering the fine workings of SMEs and how their processes can be improved, I free up time for business owners to work on their companies and focus on their growth and development. Ultimately, they do not want to be disturbed by the nitty-gritty details of the law, that is my job. They want to survive and thrive as a business.

3. For how long have you been involved in providing legal advice to British-Dutch business? What kind of presence do you have in the Dutch-UK market?

I moved to the Netherlands in 1993 and subsequently requalified. I became interested in the SME market and realised my experience as an in-house legal counsel is very beneficial for SMEs. They need more general and practical advice, although sometimes specific advice is needed too, such as on Brexit related issues. I like to make a difference by addressing the internal processes of the SME from a general contractual perspective and to leave the specialist issues such as Brexit to the specialists. I am very active in a number of networks, especially in the SME market. I really enjoy working personally with SME owners in both countries and getting to know the business and also the priorities of the decisionmakers.

4. Could you elaborate a bit more on your experience with the legal issues faced by SMEs due to COVID-19?

A lot of companies need to re-align not only in complying with the requirements from their government, but also in analysing where turnover is originating from and where this can be increased. Many need to rescale their business and address this issue of which type of product and/or services the market needs during this time. The impacts of COVID-19 will be lasting. Whilst finance and operations are often considered in-depth during rescaling, the legal aspects that accompany COVID-19 measures are often neglected in favour of short-term goals. Preventative measures such as ensuring that legal processes are in alignment with the new financial and operational process are far less costly than waiting until things go wrong. These risks are often long-term in nature, but when they emerge the legal costs and/or damages far exceed the investment in sound legal advice upfront.

5. What is typical for your business when you work together with clients?

I review the legal processes through which the SME conducts business. For example, I will consider with the client aspects such as how is an offer sent, and what does it contain? How do you get from an initial offer to a final payment from a legal perspective? What risks does the client take by making an offer? Some deals have a high legal risk and other than the higher profit margin, this risk is generally covered by adding legal guarantees or safeguards into the contract, which I formulate by working collaboratively with the client.

6. How can your company help SMEs with rescaling for COVID-19?

By visiting their office, either in person or online, and going through the operational and financial processes from a legal point of view. I will help SMEs identify and minimise the legal risks without substantially affecting the way the company does its business. When there is an unexpected legal problem that needs to be addressed, the company will not only be affected financially by way of the legal fees and/or damages etc, but it may also affect their position in the market, which could affect their turnover and cause a big headache. Other side effects include that crucial employees will need to spend time on assisting the legal work by collecting evidence and this takes the focus away from developing and growing the business. Ultimately, cash is king and by identifying and minimising legal risk together with me, my clients will not need to spend additional cash due to unnecessary legal risks.

To find out more about how Madelon van Breemen can help your SME in the Dutch or British market or more about LVH Advocaten, please use the details below:

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Telephone: +31 620600834