US tech leader Wilson Sonsini to open first European base in Brussels

US firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is set to make its European debut in Brussels after recruiting a team of lawyers from Hunton & Williams and Shearman & Sterling.

The firm, which currently has eight bases in the US and two in China, is set to launch an antitrust and competition practice in Brussels when it opens for business in the Belgian capital next month.

The new office will be led by Hunton Brussels managing partner Michael Rosenthal, who will be joined by competition partner Paul McGeown and a team of three associates and one counsel from the firm. Their departures leave Hunton’s Belgium office with four partners.

Also joining the new base will be Shearman antitrust partner Goetz Drauz, who was formerly deputy director of competition at the European Commission before joining Howrey as a partner in 2006.

Wilson Sonsini CEO Steve Bochner said: “We couldn’t have asked for a finer team to lead our efforts in the EU than Michael, Goetz, and Paul. They are all highly accomplished lawyers whose talents and experience mesh well with the firm’s M&A and antitrust practices.”

Rosenthal, who also chaired Hunton’s antitrust and competition practice, advises clients on all aspects of EU and German competition law. McGeown advises on mergers, industrial partnerships, cartels and unilateral conduct, while Drauz practices EU and German antitrust and competition law.

Recent deals Drauz has acted on include advising Nestle on the 2010 sale of its Alcon eye-care business to Novartis.

Wilson Sonsini’s most recent office launch was Hong Kong in 2010.