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Ownership, commitment and efficiency: corporate lawyer Frederick Torfs on his professional click with Nelissen Grade

A lawyer with a penchant for a hands-on, pragmatic case approach. Meet Frederick Torfs, who joined Nelissen Grade in 2019. With a professional clientele spread across the country, he assists companies from the Leuven and Limburg offices. We met Frederick in the hallways of Nelissen Grade Hasselt for an interview about his career as a lawyer.

Hi Frederick, How did your career in law start?
“I graduated with a master's in law, specialising in corporate law. To get to know the financial world thoroughly, I thought it would be a good idea to start in the banking sector during my studies. After a while, I found that I missed the purely legal aspect. That's when I felt it was time to consider law as my definitive career choice.”

And then you made the switch to the legal profession.
“Yes, that's right! The switch to law was a logical step for me. I had been thinking about changing to a more legal position for some time. By becoming a lawyer, I put that idea into practice.”

How did you end up at Nelissen Grade?
“Initially, I was hoping to start my internship at Nelissen Grade. I applied at the time, but all the internships were already full. About two years later, I plucked up the courage to contact Joris De Roo again. Successfully, because this time there was a place available. So I started immediately!”

That was in January 2019. Did you start in Joris De Roo's team right away?
“Yes. I joined the corporate and business law expertise group. A team of driven lawyers who put efficiency first. That way of working suits me down to the ground. It was immediately obvious that I had found my niche.”

Corporate and business law are very diverse areas of law. What cases do you mainly handle?
“That varies from day to day. From joining the negotiating table in commercial transactions to closing complex agreements. But my preference is mainly for commercial disputes, litigations.”

Then you assist entrepreneurs in disputes with other entrepreneurs, correct?
“Yes, but it covers a much broader scope. As a corporate lawyer, you need to remain vigilant and reflect on every step an entrepreneur takes. What growth curve do companies have in mind? How does this translate to their situation and the estate planning of directors and shareholders? By considering possible future scenarios with them, we offer comprehensive legal advice, both professionally and personally.”

So, as a corporate lawyer, you look beyond the company itself?
“That's right. Directors often regard their company as a child. Running a company is fraught with emotion, so as a lawyer, you need to understand the situation beyond the legal scope. This versatility is one of the things that makes corporate law such a fascinating area.”

What makes Nelissen Grade your professional match?
“Mainly the firm's approach and positioning. Nelissen Grade has a problem-solving approach. We will provide advice in one e-mail or phone call if we can. Plus, lawyers are given the space to approach a case their way. If I have a different view and can substantiate it to Jens Behets or Joris De Roo, they may get on board with it. That ownership motivates me to do my utmost for every case.”

We are meeting you today at the Nelissen Grade office in Hasselt. Do you often work from here?
“I was born and raised in Leuven, and live very close to our office at the Philipssite. But thanks to our growing clientele in Limburg, I regularly find myself at our Hasselt office. We invariably hold meetings with companies and entrepreneurs from Limburg here at the office. That bond is of great importance to us.”

To conclude: how do you relax after hours with your busy work schedule?
“I am an avid football fan, as are many in our team. I play the sport myself, albeit with the veterans. And there, the third half is the most important, of course. (laughs) I am also a big family man and love spending time with my wife and two fantastic children. Those are the most precious moments for me.”

Then all that remains for me is to thank you for the pleasant interview.

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