Martijn van Hall is the founder and partner of Van Hall Advocaten (2006), a Dutch boutique employment law firm. Martijn is also an independent mediator. Martijn practices in all areas of employment law with a focus on medium-sized and large domestic and international companies, as well as senior executives. With over 25 years of experience, Martijn is a true out-of-the-box thinker in all aspects of employment law. He is driven and decisive with an amicable personality.
What do clients look for in an effective labour and employment lawyer?
Today, clients demand fast service, practical advice and tangible solutions.
What aspect of your work do you find most satisfying?
I find it most satisfying when I can offer my client a way out of a situation in which he can«t see that way out himself. If necessary, I come up with a creative solution that surprises my client.
You have nearly three decades of experience in labour law. In what ways has the market changed since you first started practising?
Much has changed in the past three decades. Not only the technical side of the profession (from letters and sometimes fax to e-mail), but also contact with the client has changed enormously. Everything has become much less formal. This applies to clothing (no more ties) as well as to contact with clients.
How has your membership of domestic and international employment associations enhanced your practice?
Clients greatly appreciate that I am a member of domestic and international employment associations. The inter-national employment associations are most appreciated. Clients respond to messages on LinkedIn when I visit international conferences. This has improved the image of our firm, generated extra work with existing clients, and brought new clients to the firm.
What are the most common sources of employment disputes and how do you think clients can minimise the risk of them occurring?
Poor communication between employer and employee often leads to problems. Discussing (minor) annoyances at an early stage would make a lot of difference. Earlier (telephone) contact with an employment lawyer would also help. He or she can help to make timely adjustments so that things do not get out of hand.
Why did you decide to set up your own firm?
More freedom in the relationship with the client. I am thinking, among other things, of other forms of tariff agreements. Another factor that played a role for me was that I strive for an informal relationship with my clients, which is simply easier to achieve in a smaller setting.
As founder of Van Hall Advocaten, what are your main priorities for the firm«s development over the next five years?
Coincidentally, we are currently re-evaluating our strategy. In the coming years, we will focus on intensifying commercial skills, marketing and discipline. We will work from business lines, cooperate more with other specialist firms, improve standardisation, automation and digitalisation and improve communication, effective conduct and image. All of this to serve and realise the client«s interests and results even better.
What do you think will be the biggest challenges faced by the next generation of employment lawyers?
That will be competition from other service providers and digitalisation/automation.