Our people

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Floris van de Bult 

Co-head of Global Employment

"I love to be a part of change and through my profession I contribute my bit to societal changes."

Give a brief overview of your role at the firm now when you joined and your background before joining.

I joined Clifford Chance in January 2015 as a Counsel. In 2016, I was promoted to Partner and Head of the Amsterdam Employment & Pensions group. Since May 2019, I am also the Co-Head of the Global Employment Practice and I have been on various firm committees. Before joining the firm, I was a Counsel in the Employment practice of another Magic Circle firm in Amsterdam - where I spent the first 11 years of my career.

Why did you become a lawyer – what prompted and sustained your pursuit?

Becoming a lawyer is a sheer coincidence.

At university, I had no interest in Employment laws; I studied Civil Law with a focus on Corporate, Securities and Banking laws. I did internships in the corporate practices of two large firms. I enjoyed the dynamics of the international M&A practice so when I finished university in 2013, I was happy to accept an offer from my previous firm's corporate department, focusing on M&A, Private Equity transactions and IPOs.

After two years, I changed departments to obtain Dutch Bar Rules' mandatory litigation experience and joined the Employment practice. As a Corporate lawyer I had gained a better insight in the Employment practice and its diverse and dynamic nature. My work as an Employment lawyer exceeded every expectation and I decided to further specialise as an Employment lawyer.

I find I find Employment laws the most interesting and challenging area of law as Employment laws and practices are closest to societal developments, are constantly changing and have a direct impact on people's lives; for example, societal developments such as #Metoo, scrutiny on (financial sector) pay, Diversity & Inclusion, ESG and whistleblowing almost immediately resulted in changes in Employment laws and the advice we deliver to our clients. Employment lawyers themselves need to be the most versatile of all lawyers: they need to deliver high quality advice on complex Employment matters, represent clients in court, and supporting the Corporate and Finance practices on Employment issues in M&A and Finance transactions. This variety can be challenging but it also makes the job the best there is!      

What motivates you in your role?

Various aspects: Employment laws being closest to societal changes, the nature of the work as an employment lawyer being the most diverse, and the fact that I work with highly intelligent and inspiring people: colleagues, clients, counter parties. That gives me energy and drive to continue growing the practice with a brilliant group of colleagues.


What was your biggest assumption before becoming a lawyer?

That law firms are formal, conservative, and reluctant to change. I have found that at Clifford Chance is the complete opposite. We live and breathe an informal and innovative culture, which is demonstrated by how we work together as colleagues around the world, with clients and how we have fostered change and innovation throughout the years.

How would you describe the culture and atmosphere at Clifford Chance?

The culture at Clifford Chance is informal and open. I have observed that people are down to earth, collaborative and they focus on high performance through hard work. We ensure to deliver the best result to our clients wherever they are. For example, when we as Partners and colleagues meet at the Annual Partner Meetings or at the practice-wide international offsites, there is so much energy and joy, which is comparable to meeting with long-time friends. Everybody's aim is to get the best result for the client, whilst having fun with each other.

What are the key skills you have developed here which have been invaluable to your career?

I would describe my key skills based on the feedback I get from my colleagues.

People often tell me that I inspire them to get the best out of themselves, that I give them the freedom to develop their skills whilst continuing to support them – and I would like to believe it.

Over the period, I have learnt to develop strong relationship with my clients in an organic way. For me, the biggest asset is people and the way I connect with them. It is also an invaluable part of my career. I have learned to build, grow and lead teams to build strong relationships with some of the key clients of the firm.

What do you like most about your job?

I love to be a part of change and through my profession I contribute my bit to societal changes. As an employment lawyer, I get to interact with some of the brightest minds and that keeps me ahead of in my profession through the wisdom I gain while interaction with them.

What do you value most about the people and the firm?

Clifford Chance is a happy place to be associated with. I can see that the firm has a collaborative culture. Regardless of where the client is based, we work in collaborative teams to provide the client with the best result, whilst also having a lot of fun.

What is your key advice for anyone considering a career at Clifford Chance?

The best way to learn about Clifford Chance is to do your internship and get to know the firm better. It will also help you understand the culture of the firm. After the internship you will know if this is the right firm for you. If you do exceedingly well during your internship – it will be a big plus.  

What's the best piece of advice you've received since joining?

I was encouraged to set ambitious goals from my mentors. I was fortunate enough to have been mentors who backed me and gave me the freedom to develop myself and take initiatives. They gave me fair and bold feedback and focus that helped me develop and grow in my career. I would advise each one of you to find a good mentor and discuss about your growth strategy with them. Never be afraid to fail as that will happen and nurture you more. I have had multiple failures in my life an di have learnt a lot from my mistakes.

What is the most exciting deal/matter/project you have worked on recently?

I cannot be specific with the details. But I have to say that it has been an exciting journey for me, and I have got some very diverse, exciting, and sometimes ground-breaking. As an Employment lawyer, I must address that most of the matters I deal is confidential and – preferably – never end up in the newspapers. Every matter I have handled in my career varies from complex fraud cases, dismissals of CEOs (of both listed and non-listed companies), intricate remuneration structures and sensitive #Metoo allegations.

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