The current head of Osborne Clarke’s EU law practice has been appointed to serve as a judge at the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union, one of the EU’s highest courts.
Steven Verschuur will take up his six-year mandate at the General Court, which serves as a court of first instance for EU law matters, in September. His appointment was announced on Wednesday.
Verschuur, an expert in state aid, competition, merger control and trade, joined Osborne Clarke in 2019 from HVG Law, after stints at Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Norton Rose Fulbright, according to his LinkedIn profile.
In an interview with Law.com International, Verschuur said his background in private practice would be an asset to his future work as a judge. Pointing out that he had worked with complainants “on both sides”, he said: “I have a pretty good sense for when either side – whether it’s businesses or regulators – go a step too far or when they have genuine concerns.”
He added: “I’m not the type of lawyer who always believes that the government is wrong and always believes that the companies are right.”
Osborne Clarke said in a statement that a successor for Verschuur has already been found, with the appointment to be announced “in due term”.
“His appointment to one of Europe’s highest courts is a wonderful achievement and a testament to the contribution that Steven has made to the development of our international competition team,” Simon Neill and Thomas Funke, co-heads of Osborne Clarke’s international competition practice said in a statement.
The majority of judges at the European Court of Justice do not have Big Law or private practice backgrounds. With a few notable exceptions – which include the current president, Marc van der Woude, who worked at NautaDutilh, Willkie Farr & Gallagher as well as Stibbe before joining the court—most judges at the General Court worked in academia or as national judges prior to their appointment, a person close to the matter said.
A second private practice lawyer was also appointed to the General Court on Wednesday—Hungarian lawyer Tihamér Tóth, of counsel in Dentons’ Budapest office and the co-head of its competition and antitrust practice group.