In the build up to the ADVOC Joint Conference in Singapore, John Sze, Deputy Managing Partner of JTJB LLP and co-chair of the ADVOC Joint Conference organising committee, speaks to a number of ADVOC members about the network.

This week, John is in conversation with Jeroen Oehlen from Boels Zanders (The Netherlands) about his experience of working within the ADVOC network.


1. Jeroen, you are the chair of ADVOC’s European Board. How did you get involved in ADVOC?

Boels Zanders is one of the founders of ADVOC, and my own practice has always had a strong international focus. So I became involved in the network quite naturally. In 2007, I visited my first meeting alongside one of my colleagues. It was held in Singapore, so after attending many more meetings in the years in between, I am excited to visit the country again.

2. How did ADVOC benefit your career?

Thanks to ADVOC, I was fortunate enough to build an extensive network of professionals around the globe. Knowing people personally makes all the difference, especially in our profession, where trust is so important. If the interests of one of my clients have to be served in Australia, China or England, I know that there is a trusted party who can help. It also works the other way around: if one of our ADVOC partners needs a legal advisor in The Netherlands, they know who we are and how we can help.

3. You are a partner and former managing partner in Boels Zanders, a top 25 firm in The Netherlands. How would you describe your firm?

Boels Zanders is a modern, progressive, and extremely service-oriented firm, with a rather large international practice. The Netherlands is a small country with a long tradition in international trade, so many of our clients do business outside the national borders. We offer them a new perspective and the legal power and knowledge to increase their impact, being their advocate in every sense of the word.

4. As a leading lawyer, you are highly valued for your personal approach. How have you built such a successful law practice?

In my practice, which is a corporate/M&A practice, the stakes are high. Trust is not built overnight; it takes years of hard work and investment in the relationship to become a trusted advisor. Thanks to our excellent team, we are able to fulfill this role, and we are proud to say that most of our clients stay with us for many years.

5. What is the most challenging case you have done in your legal career?

There have been many challenging cases, but one of the dearest is a case we did with ADVOC partners from several countries. It dealt with the sale of a logistics firm with shareholders in four different countries. Law firms from Poland, Denmark, Great Brittain, and Spain co-operated with our firm to bring this long and intense trajectory to a successful end.

6. The ADVOC event in Singapore is rapidly approaching. What do you look most forward to?

Singapore will be the first joint meeting since 2019. All chapters will be there, so I am very excited to meet everyone again. There are so many people I have not met face-to-face in years. And I look forward to visiting Asia again, which to me is always a very inspiring and fascinating destination.