Frederiek Baudoncq joined Nelissen Grade around 25 years ago. From the very beginning, he invariably combined his job as a lawyer with academic work at KU Leuven. Frederiek's role as a lawyer has become increasingly prominent over the years, but he remains an academic at heart. Today, he still fulfils a limited tenure at the university, giving two seminars and supervising a few students writing a dissertation.
Inspired by Professor Bernard Tilleman
Frederiek's academic path started during his studies. While writing a company law dissertation at KU Leuven's Faculty of Law, he was supervised by current Pro-Dean Bernard Tilleman, who was still an assistant at the time.
'I was assigned the subject of the discharge of directors. It wasn't my first choice, but I immersed myself in the topic and delivered my 40-page paper. It was a success—after the exams, my supervisor suggested publishing my dissertation in Jura Falconis, the university's legal journal. That's how the ball slowly started rolling.'
Passionate about the legal profession
After his studies, Frederiek started as a criminal lawyer at Nelissen Grade but soon realised he was more interested in civil law and real estate law. He has explored these legal domains to the fullest over the past 25 years and still studies them passionately.
'After choosing civil law, I joined Jan Stijns' team at Nelissen Grade. I learned incredibly quickly and was always looking for new ways to broaden my knowledge. Variation has been the focus throughout my career, thanks to the flexibility and opportunities Nelissen Grade always offers. For example, I have managed to combine my profession as a lawyer with a position at the university for years. I later immersed myself in challenging cassation cases and started working as a deputy judge in the court of first instance in Leuven. That variety makes it really interesting and allows me to approach a case from different perspectives.'
“Nelissen Grade offers the flexibility to develop yourself as a lawyer. Starting as a trainee lawyer, giving seminars at the university, taking additional courses, studying cassation cases—and continuing to grow at the firm in the meantime. The options are incredibly vast.”
Dedicated to the students
Frederiek has a 5% appointment at KU Leuven. He oversees the seminar on contractual clauses, is involved in the closing argument practical and supervises three students in writing their dissertations.
'I want to introduce students to the legal profession in an approachable, concrete way. I do this by presenting them with clauses from practice but also by having them prepare solid conclusions and a good closing argument. At university, the law seems very black and white, but once you get to the bar, the application of law turns out to be challengingly grey: it comes down to gathering useful evidence, meticulously formulating and legally justifying claims, building safeguards, etc. Students have to learn this, but the opportunities are boundless if they show enthusiasm and a healthy drive. Seeing students and trainees taking steps forward gives me great satisfaction.'
“Ultimately, the application of law is like solving a puzzle, with the rules of law forming the sides of the puzzle. The bar internship is the ideal means of becoming aware of this.”