Around 100 high-quality submissions have been whittled down to find the 25 women aged under 40 who represent the best and brightest practicing on the continental market. SCROLL DOWN FOR FULL PROFILES

Isabel Aguilar Alonso, Uría Menéndez—Madrid

Almudena Batista Jiménez, Cuatrecasas—Madrid

Noor Davies, White & Case—Paris

Silvia Devulder, EY—Geneva

Maria Dreher, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer―Vienna and Brussels

Maria Carmela Falcone, Chiomenti—Rome

Gemma Freeman, Dentons—Dublin

Anna-Katharina Friese, Hogan Lovells—Hamburg

Paulina Kimla-Kaczorowska, Greenberg Traurig—Warsaw

Oana Millich, Goodwin Procter—Luxembourg

Clarisse Moreno, Jeantet—Paris

Emilie Rogey, White & Case—Paris

Jirina Prochazkova, Deloitte Legal—Prague

Julia Grothaus, Linklaters—Frankfurt

Antonia Hoesch, Hengeler Mueller—Frankfurt

Evelien Jamaels, Crowell & Moring—Brussels

Gil Kiener, Willkie Farr & Gallagher—Paris

Mathilde Saltiel, Latham & Watkins—Paris

Alice Setari, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton—Milan

Josefine Sommer, Sidley Austin—Brussels

Cécile Terret, Addleshaw Goddard—Paris

Stephanie The, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek—Amsterdam

Johanna Weißbach, Pinsent Masons—Munich

Sibel Yilmaz, Baker McKenzie—Brussels and Stockholm

Law firms in Europe continued to promote more women to their top ranks over the past year as partners, practice heads, and managing partners.

While these new female law leaders clearly excel within the existing culture of their firms, many of them are also actively working to move that culture toward greater equity and work-life balance—changes that, they say, are designed to benefit all lawyers, not just women. 

Law.com International has spent months researching and calling for submissions from top law firms about exceptional up-and-coming female lawyers practicing in Continental Europe and Ireland.

Around 100 high-quality submissions have been whittled down to find the 25 women aged under 40 who represent the best and brightest practicing in Europe.

All candidates were judged against the following criteria: the quality of their client base; examples of driving forward the size or reputation of their practice area; the scale, significance, and complexity of their cases; their client feedback and general market reputation; the standing of their mentor; and any other examples of career success and innovation.

Read on to find out more about why these 25 rising stars were selected for this list.


Isabel Aguilar Alonso, Uría Menéndez, Madrid

Isabel Aguilar Alonso, Uría Menéndez—Madrid

  • Year of birth: 1984
  • Position: Partner since 2021
  • Practice area: Financial Regulation and Services
  • Key clients: Amundi, PIMCO, BlackRock, Currencies Direct, Natixis, Citibank, Nationale-Nederlanden.

Any lawyer advising a sector that is heavily regulated has two specialties to master: the sector and the regulation. Isabel Aguilar Alonso showed her prowess at both this year, leading a team that advised on the establishment of an investment firm dedicated to trading in derivatives.

As part of the firm’s Benelux desk, Aguilar Alonso is charged with managing and growing the firm’s financial services contacts in Luxembourg, many of which she acquired during a secondment to a Luxembourg law firm in 2014. 

Having studied business as well as law, she sees parallels in the corporate world of the career challenges for women lawyers. “Discrimination, rather than being deliberate and conscious, is inherited from traditional male power and business models which have been successful in the past. Identifying and resolving such discrimination is more difficult in that context and a challenge for all of us going forward.”


Almudena Batista Jiménez, Cuatrecasas, Madrid

Almudena Batista Jiménez, Cuatrecasas—Madrid

  • Year of birth: 1985
  • Position: Partner since 2021
  • Practice area: Employment
  • Key clients: Bosch, T-Systems ITC Iberia (part of Deutsche Telekom Group), Gucci, Dior, Gewiss

One of the youngest female partners at Cuatrecasas, Almudena Batista Jiménez has become a go-to employment lawyer in Spain in sectors in which there are few specialists, including fashion law, diversity and inclusion, and pensions. Among her more impressive mandates, she successfully defended a major company in court against 57 unfair dismissal procedures with $3.8 million at stake.

She also advised a leading Spanish company with a workforce of over 2,000 on its gender equality plan, navigating a shifting regulatory environment on a project critical to the client’s future prospects. She credits her mother, also a lawyer, for giving her “a passion for the legal profession from a young age,” and counts among her proudest achievements being named an equity partner and serving on her firm’s recruitment committee“a major responsibility” to participate in building “the most valuable asset for our firm and our profession.”  Away from work, Batista Jiménez prioritizes time with her family and two-year-old son—”Every moment spent with him is unique”—and counts as hobbies going to the movies and the theater, trying new restaurants, and scuba diving.


Noor Davies, White & Case—Paris 

Noor Davies, White & Case, Paris
  • Year of birth: 1988
  • Position: Partner since 2019
  • Practice area: International arbitration
  • Key clients: Ministry of Justice of Georgia and Georgian state entities; Iraq Telecom.

A standout within the high-powered White & Case global arbitration group, Davies is a specialist in investment law and investor-state arbitration. She has represented Georgia and Georgian state entities in numerous proceedings over more than 10 years, and her C.V. also includes notable victories both on the state side (Ukraine, Hungary, Uzbekistan) and the investor side (the French energy giant Engie).

Elevated in 2019 as the first Arabic-speaking partner in the group, Davies says her interest in law was sparked by her upbringing in Lebanon, where she was “marked by the profound injustice experienced by people in the region living under dictatorships, oppression, and sectarian regimes plagued with corruption.” Once a fan of frequent travel for work and pleasure, Davies now relishes “the peace and quiet of being at home,” and would advise younger lawyers to “prioritize self-care, in whatever form, even if only for a few minutes a day.”


Silvia Devulder, EY—Geneva

Silvia Devulder, EY, Geneva
  • Year of birth: 1981
  • Position: Practice head, EY Financial Services, since 2019
  • Practice area: Legal, Regulatory, Compliance
  • Key clients: Julius Baer, Credit Suisse, Banque de Commerce et de Placements

Few areas are more challenging for European banks than the transition to the IBOR interest-rate regime, a quantum shift requiring astute advice throughout the business. As the leader of EY’s IBOR transition legal practice in Geneva, Silvia Devulder has accompanied major institutions in Switzerland and throughout the region in an area that is central to her firm’s mission of building safer and better financial markets.

Raised in what was then communist Czechoslovakia, Devulder found her calling at an early age, seeing lawyers as “inspirational and aspirational” figures who represented justice and “hope for our ability to stand up for our rights.” A passionate advocate for women in the profession, she laments the lack of female role models and urges younger lawyers to “look out for inspiring leaders who create a diverse and inclusive environment.”


Maria Dreher, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer―Vienna and Brussels 

Maria Dreher, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Vienna and Brussels
  • Year of birth: 1987
  • Position: Partner since 2021
  • Practice area: Antitrust, competition and trade
  • Key clients: Infineon, London Stock Exchange, Clariant, Johnson & Johnson, Comcast, Coty, KKR, Axel Springer

The future is Maria Dreher’s stock in trade. Head of Freshfields’ Austrian competition practice, dual-based in Vienna and Brussels, she specializes in helping European companies transform from traditional industries to new business models, including in the digital spacean increasing focus of competition authorities around the globe.

Dreher also heads the ESG focus group within her practice area and is a strong advocate of the role that antitrust rules have to play in supporting global progress toward Net Zero. Big goals do not daunt her:  “We are incredibly agile, flexible, and resilient when responding to large-scale challenges as a cohesive team,” she says. Part of her recipe for success is to “always be open to new challenges outside your comfort zone.”  Away from work, Dreher says she enjoys travel, books, spending time with her “happy people,” and “avoiding cooking duties.”


Maria Carmela Falcone, Chiomenti—Rome

Maria Carmela Falcone, Chiomenti, Rome
  • Year of birth: 1985
  • Position: Managing Counsel since 2022
  • Practice area: Public M&A
  • Key clients: Vivendi, Società Cattolica di Assicurazione, Saipem, Iliad Italia 

Public M&A and capital markets can be a pressure cooker, combining fast-changing regulation with the complexity and heat of bringing deals home. Maria Carmela Falcone wins praise from her firm, Chiomenti, as a “key player and upcoming star” for her “supercompetence.”

Her client list includes blue-chips like Vivendi, Saipem and Iliad, and her mentors include Chiomenti co-managing partner Filippo Modulo. Drawn to the law for its intellectual and problem-solving aspects, Falcone relishes handling “highly complex and pressured situations while maintaining a positive work environment.” Her advice to younger lawyers: “Sleep less and enjoy your time as much as you can!”

She took roles on two of the biggest mergers in the Italian market this year: the €1.2 billion tender offer by Generali for Società Cattolica di Assicurazione, and the €2.6 billion hostile offer by Castor Bidco for Cerved Group.


Gemma Freeman, Dentons—Dublin

Gemma Freeman, Dentons, Dublin
  • Year of birth: 1983
  • Position: Counsel since 2021
  • Practice area: Restructuring and Disputes
  • Key clients: Deloitte, KPMG

With involvement in most of the high-profile insolvencies in the Irish market,  Gemma Freeman is one of the leading lawyers in her practice area and a cornerstone of Dentons Ireland’s young insolvency practice. She is currently advising Deloitte, the liquidators of Wirecard UK & Ireland, on that company’s massive bankruptcy.

She also obtained a landmark ruling in Ireland in the bankruptcy of Custom House Capital, an investment firm. Both mandates were transferred to Dentons from other international firms largely on the strength of Freeman’s reputation.

She credits Dentons with providing the institutional support that “has really made the difference” in building her profile.  Away from work, she unwinds by strolling on Dun Laoghaire pier and going out with friends: “After some pretty lengthy lockdowns, it’s the simple things.” Her key advice for younger lawyers: Speak up. “Have faith that you are adding value, and get used to your voice being heard.”


Anna-Katharina Friese, Hogan Lovells—Hamburg

Anna-Katharina Friese, Hogan Lovells, Hamburg
  • Year of birth: 1983
  • Position: Partner since 2022
  • Practice area: Global Regulatory & Intellectual Property, Media and Technology
  • Key clients: Hollister Inc, Hauni Maschinenbau GmbH

Handling complex multinational patent disputes in a wide range of industrial sectors is what Anna-Katharina Friese is known for in the broader legal world. Clients praise her organizational and intellectual skills and her “outstanding” personal commitment. Within Hogan Lovells, Friese is “a true role model” whose “unique, open and direct communications style” makes her “a trusted colleague to confide in for both lawyers and non-lawyers.”

Friese says she first thought the law might be for her because she was impressed with family members who were lawyers—”the way they spoke, the way they told funny stories (I learned in the meantime that not every lawyer is funny, though).” The mother of a two-year-old daughter, Friese credits her success in part to her husband, who shares the work equally at home—“without him, my career would not be possible”—and foresees a day when law firms will offer “even more flexible work arrangements, which makes it easier for our people to combine a career with a good private life.” As diversity champion of the Hamburg office since 2019, Friese works with colleagues across Europe on initiatives for women, the LGBTQ+ community, and the disabled. 


Julia Grothaus, Linklaters—Frankfurt

Julia Grothaus, Linklaters, Frankfurt
  • Year of birth: 1983
  • Position: Partner since 2020
  • Practice area: Dispute Resolution
  • Key clients: Air France KLM, Deutsche Oppenheim, Denso, Engie, E.On, Porsche, Saint-Gobain, Visa

Julia Grothaus is a core member and the youngest partner of Linklaters’ dispute resolution practice, with a blue-chip client list and key roles on some of the highest-profile disputes of the past several years. Recent mandates include defending Air France KLM in a €3 billion cartel damage lawsuit and defending Deutsche Bank against claims brought by the German media group Kirch.

Aside from working on these and other prominent cases, she says her proudest professional achievement was her promotion to partner only three years after her identical triplets were born in 2017. Practice during the pandemic reminded her of the importance of human connection— “the glue that binds us”—and of taking time to step away from the office, real or virtual. Her advice to younger lawyers: “There is no playbook for life. Always do your best and look out for opportunities, but don’t forget to relax a little and cut yourself some slack.”


Antonia Hoesch, Hengeler Mueller—Frankfurt

Antonia Hoesch, Hengeler Mueller, Frankfurt
  • Year of birth: 1983
  • Position: Partner since 2020
  • Practice area: Dispute Resolution
  • Key clients: 1&1 AG, Bank J. Safra Sarasin, Uber, Deutsche Bahn

“Being a lawyer for me is the best of all worlds,” she says Hengeler Mueller’s Antonia Hoesch. “I get to write, I get to explain the law to clients and the facts of a case to judges and tribunals, I get to do international work and I work with great teams.” 

Her clients and colleagues are equally full of praise for her. Handling high-stakes, high-profile disputes as part of the elite German firm’s dispute resolution team has won Hoesch praise for her “calm demeanor, pragmatic approach to complex cases, and reliable guidance.” Her most recent mandates involved helping build Germany’s fourth mobile network, navigating the glare of media scrutiny of her client, and coordinating teams across three jurisdictions in a novel area of the law.

She leads the dispute resolution team’s focus groups on arbitration and ESG/climate change disputes, so new horizons await, and she is hopeful about the progress the profession is making in supporting equal opportunity in careers.  


Evelien Jamaels, Crowell & Moring—Brussels

Evelien Jamaels, Crowell & Moring, Brussels
  • Year of birth: 1989
  • Position: Counsel since 2020
  • Practice area: Labor & Employment and Global Mobility
  • Key clients: Ahold Delhaize, Novosanis/OraSure

Employment law work in Europe has accelerated as companies have coped with the pandemic and focused on diversity and inclusion. Evelien Jamaels’ recent mandates for two Crowell & Moring clients—Novosanis/OraSure, a developer of medical devices, and a major multinational—took in the full range of employment advice, from gender equity reviews to COVID protocols.

In addition to her practice, Jamaels is “one of the most important drivers” within the Brussels office, the firm says, for her deep involvement in well-being and diversity initiatives for staff and clients since joining in 2012.

She is particularly proud of having co-founded Crowell Café, a series of regular informal after-work events “for strong women and the men supporting them,” she says. “Looking out for one another is very important,” she adds. “Even if you’re working for a great firm, having nice colleagues, and doing rewarding work, we cannot take well-being at work for granted.”


Gil Kiener, Willkie Farr & Gallagher—Paris

Gil Kiener, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Paris
  • Year of birth: 1986
  • Position: Partner since 2022
  • Practice area: Corporate & Financial Services 
  • Key clients: IK Partners, Latour Capital, PAI Partners

In a field that is still male-dominated, Gil Kiener is making her mark. Since her arrival at Willkie in 2011 as an intern, her willingness to assume responsibility beyond her seniority level, along with her solid judgment, quiet confidence, and keen negotiation skills, led her to become a trusted advisor to a growing number of private equity professionals of her generation, according to the firm.

A valued mentor, Kiener credits the “caring environment” of Willkie with supporting the women at the firm, but adds that balancing work and parenthood is a universal issue: “It is not a ‘female career progression’ that I would like to address, but ‘the career progression of an involved parent’ irrespective of the sex.”

The past year has been special and challenging for Kiener, who worked on several significant PE deals, including the sale of iad, a French “unicorn” in online real estate sales; took maternity leave; and made partner. 


Paulina Kimla-Kaczorowska, Greenberg Traurig—Warsaw

Paulina Kimla-Kaczorowska, Greenberg Traurig, Warsaw
  • Year of birth: 1986
  • Position: Local Partner since 2022
  • Practice area: Mergers & Acquisitions, Banking & Finance
  • Key clients: Polsat Plus Group, ZE PAK Group, Wise Guys Ventures, City Robotics

The career path from paralegal to partner took Paulina Kimla-Kaczorowska just 12 years—a journey that included earning a Ph.D. in law and developing a long-lasting relationship with one of the biggest capital groups in Europe. Building on that formidable background, she and her team at Greenberg Traurig Warsaw are strengthening the firm’s presence in venture capital and developing its M&A practice in the renewable energy sector. 

At the same time, her firm notes, Kimla-Kaczorowska is an approachable mentor, who is generous with her time and guidance and eager to help junior team members succeed. A collector of professional books who likes to seek out “inspiring art from promising young painters,” she says the pandemic showed her “how resilient we are as a team and a firm. Now I feel much stronger when entering another period of instability, knowing we can adapt fast to various circumstances.”


Oana Millich, Goodwin Procter—Luxembourg

Oana Millich, Goodwin Procter, Luxembourg
  • Year of birth: 1986
  • Position: Counsel since 2022
  • Practice area: Private investment funds
  • Key clients: Cabot Properties, Core Equity, Macquarie, PAI Partners

As a senior member of the team developing Goodwin Procter’s private funds practice in Luxembourg, Oana Millich is at the center of a key part of her firm’s strategy for Europe. Her work allows her to be involved in a wide range of aspects, from fundraising to restructuring, and to accompany many different types of clients, from smaller sponsors setting up their first fund to established houses doing multibillion-dollar deals.

Millich has the support of a strong female mentor in Alexandrine Armstrong-Cerfontaine, head of the Luxembourg practice, and she returns the favor by mentoring junior lawyers in turn. Her annual Funds Academy—two mornings of interactive training on key concepts for clients, prospects, and contacts, led by associates and counsel—routinely draws a crowd of hundreds. To relax away from work, Millich escapes to nature as often as she can and enjoys traveling with her husband and dog in their camper van.


Clarisse Moreno, Jeantet—Paris

Clarisse Moreno, Jeantet, Paris
  • Year of birth: 1983
  • Position: Counsel since 2022
  • Practice area: White-Collar Crime and Commercial Litigation
  • Key clients: ENI Gas & Power France, Fenix International, Farrow & Ball, Canada Goose

Clarisse Moreno is a key member of Jeantet’s teams in two practice areas that are surging in France: white-collar crime and commercial litigation. Moreno recently obtained a substantial settlement for Canada Goose in a counterfeiting case and represented ENI Gas & Power France against former distributors who developed a competing activity.

Outside the firm, Moreno represents individuals involved in heavy criminal matters such as sexual assault cases.

One of her proudest professional moments came during a secondment to the U.S. in 2013, arguing a case before the 11th Court of Appeal and then filing a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. Jeantet describes her as “a brilliant attorney, very serious, dedicated and well-organized.” The mother of two young children, Moreno says the pandemic honed her skills at multitasking: “providing legal analysis in a conference call, a baby on one arm, while folding laundry with the other.” 


Jirina Prochazkova, Deloitte Legal—Prague

Jirina Prochazkova, Deloitte Legal, Prague
  • Year of birth: 1985
  • Position: Local Partner since 2021
  • Practice area: Tax Litigation/Dispute Resolution
  • Key clients: A major European Bank, the Central European leader in e-commerce, and leading Czech and global manufacturers.

Founder and head of the tax litigation team at Deloitte Legal Czech Republic, Jirina Prochazkova is a leader in one of the largest tax advisory practices in the country. In addition to her practice, Prochazkova was one of the creators of a technology app for the prevention of involvement in tax fraud. Her active pro-bono practice includes representing detained foreigners and asylum seekers and working with other firms through the Pro Bono Alliance.

“To me, being a lawyer means social responsibility and obligation to help others,” Prochazkova says. “I learned that from my parents, who were also lawyers.”

She sees more women leaders in the law as essential to combatting the “general perception that a strong leader must be tough and individualistic,” which “limits many women in their career progression just because they bring a different way of leadership or because they are afraid of being themselves and showing their strengths”.


Emilie Rogey, White & Case—Paris

Emilie Rogey, White & Case, Paris
  • Year of birth: 1983
  • Position: Partner since 2019
  • Practice area: Regulatory / Financial Institutions
  • Key clients: JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Edmond de Rothschild, Meta, Groupe Casino

Selected by White & Case to launch a new regulatory practice in Paris in 2019, when she was just 35 and a new partner, Emilie Rogey has built a team and a client list that would be the envy of any partner at any firm—and she is now actively recruiting new associates, the firm says.

Among her recent mandates was advising Aéma Group on the €3.2 billion acquisition of Aviva France, which involved being in a team of over 50 lawyers across practice areas.

Away from the office, Rogey has pursued courses in art history at the prestigious Ecole du Louvre. Still one of very few female partners in her area of expertise on the Paris market, Rogey says a woman needs “self-confidence to project herself as a leader”, since “the majority of leadership roles in law and business are still held by men”. 


Mathilde Saltiel, Latham & Watkins—Paris

Mathilde Saltiel, Latham & Watkins, Paris
  • Year of birth: 1987
  • Position: Partner since 2021
  • Practice area: Antitrust and Competition
  • Key clients: Worldline, Atos, L’Oréal, TDF, Fraikin, EssilorLuxottica, Refresco, PAI Partners, 

Mathilde Saltiel is a fighter—quite literally. To relax away from work, she boxes—“It’s a great outlet”—and advises women in the law to guard against self-censorship: “It’s important to try before you decide you can’t do something.” 

She also punches above her weight in her work. Named a partner at Latham & Watkins at the age of 34, she has built a record of winning complex competition cases, sometimes against seemingly insurmountable odds. The French business magazine Décideurs recently described her as “unstoppable.”

Mentored by Jacques-Philippe Gunther, vice-chair of the firm’s Global Antitrust and Competition practice, Saltiel in turn is a committed mentor of younger lawyers at Latham.

She counts her work in 2020 for Worldline, which acquired Ingenico to create Europe’s leading payment system, as one of her proudest moments: “a tight timeline, public offer constraints, filings in multiple jurisdictions, numerous markets affected, and competition concerns and remedies to negotiate in several countries. All the ingredients for a great professional challenge.”  


Alice Setari, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton—Milan

Alice Setari, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Milan
  • Year of birth: 1982
  • Position: Senior Attorney since 2022
  • Practice area: EU and Italian competition law
  • Key clients: Philips, Google, Haier/Candy, HP Enterprise, Italcementi, Petronas

When a lawyer can persuade a regulator to drop all the charges it was contemplating against a client, that’s a singular achievement. Alice Setari, a key member of Cleary’s high-powered competition team in Milan, helped do just that recently on behalf of Philips in abuse of dominance proceedings before the Italian Competition Authority. Her round-the-clock advice, in Italian and English, was key to Cleary’s victory, according to the firm.

Earning a Ph.D. in European Union law from the University of Milan while practicing, Setari says, was one of her proudest accomplishments and taught her “how important it is to be rigorous in all my legal analysis.” Her advice to younger lawyers: “Be less scared of making mistakes. It is not only unavoidable but indispensable to achieve better outcomes.”

Philips’ in-house head of legal compliance markets and antitrust praises Setari’s “unique skill set” combining in-depth industry knowledge with legal expertise.


Josefine Sommer, Sidley Austin—Brussels

Josefine Sommer, Sidley Austin, Brussels
  • Year of birth: 1985
  • Position: Senior Managing Associate since 2022
  • Practice area: Life Sciences
  • Key clients: Abbott Laboratories and Abbott EPD; Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings; Roche Diagnostics; CSL Behring

“Simply put, Josefine is excellent,” a client’s in-house counsel says. “She epitomizes the uppermost standards of a legal adviser.”

Sommer recently advised a group of companies on the legality of the European Commission’s interpretation of the application of the Mutual Recognition Agreement between Switzerland and the EU. The matter is key for both EU and Swiss medtech companies and their access to the EU market.

A co-founder of several women’s groups in life sciences law, Sommer advises younger lawyers that “finding a supportive partner at home is pivotal to your own career.” She adds, “It’s so hard to fit work and personal life expectations into 24 hours a day. I’d like a 25th hour sometimes.”


Marijke Spooren, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton—Brussels

Marijke Spooren, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Brussels
  • Year of birth: 1988
  • Position: Partner since 2022
  • Practice area: Corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments, and capital markets transactions
  • Key clients: Alpha PE, Bekaert, BlackRock, Carlyle, CVC, D’Ieteren, Silver Point Capital

In an area of the law as high-pressure as it is high-profile, Marijke Spooren is making her name as a skilled, dynamic negotiator with a talent for leading teams on complex deals. In the midst of the pandemic, Spooren advised Silver Point Capital and BlackRock on the €725 million sale of the division of a portfolio company that makes viral vectors—key to the production of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine.

Spooren counts becoming the first female partner in Cleary’s Brussels office at age 34 as one of her proudest professional moments, “an acknowledgment of all the amazing talent that came before me” and “an inspiration for the next generation.” Formerly a “fanatical” runner with marathons to her credit, Spooren temporarily put away her shoes after giving birth to twins last fall. Her love of the law, however, remains: “It’s the perfect combination of stimulating human interaction as well as intellectual challenges.”


Cécile Terret, Addleshaw Goddard—Paris

Cécile Terret, Addleshaw Goddard, Paris
  • Year of birth: 1981
  • Position: Partner since 2021
  • Practice area: Litigation (commercial disputes and global investigations)
  • Key clients: Airbus, Imaweb

Elevated to partner when Addleshaw Goddard opened its Paris office in 2021, Cécile Terret has hit the ground running, helping build the firm’s litigation and investigations practice in France. She counts as one of her proudest moments exonerating a corporate client of any involvement in corruption as part of an “Oil for Food” investigation for the UN. Practicing during the pandemic showed her “that there are other, better ways to work and live together”, but also that “face-to-face training and individual coaching to support the development of younger colleagues is essential.”

In the past year, she advised an electrical equipment distributor in a criminal and regulatory competition authority investigation into the electricity market and advised an employee of Airbus on an internal investigation for allegedly corrupt behavior as part of the company’s multijurisdictional fraud prosecution. She has also been named by the French anticorruption authority as an expert to review their compliance program. Non-working hours find her spending time with her husband and two sons, swimming, surfing in the summer, and reading novels very late at night.


Stephanie The, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek—Amsterdam

Stephanie The, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Amsterdam
  • Year of birth: 1986
  • Position: Partner since 2021
  • Practice area: Competition & Regulation
  • Key clients: British Airways, Amazon, DAF Trucks, EQT, Stonepeak

Described by her firm as “a brilliant lawyer known for her boundless drive and remarkable determination,” Stephanie The has deployed her skills in Brussels and New York in addition to Amsterdam, her current perch.

She is a staunch believer in ‘Healthy mind healthy body’, “perhaps counterintuitively even more so when my workload is high.” For her, the domination of men in the law, especially private practice, is not just a “woman’s problem”. She says: “More diversity simply leads to better performance and more innovation.”

The spearheads De Brauw’s foreign direct investment screening practice, an area of the law that is developing fast. In the past year, she defended British Airways in Dutch and European Union courts on follow-up damage claims of more than €1 billion from an EU cartel judgment and represented DAF as lead counsel in hundreds of follow-on cases from the European Commission’s €3 billion fine on truck manufacturers.


Johanna Weißbach, Pinsent Masons—Munich

Johanna Weißbach, Pinsent Masons, Munich
  • Year of birth: 1984
  • Position: Partner since 2020
  • Practice area: Complex cross-border commercial litigation
  • Key clients: VW, a major European insurer.

With mass claims on the rise in Germany, law firms have been rushing to build out their practices. At Pinsent Masons, Johanna Weißbach has already established a strong reputation over the past 10 years. She stood out this year for her work for VW in the “Dieselgate” emissions scandal, coordinating with the client’s in-house team on document automation tools to produce time and cost efficiencies.

A champion for innovation within Pinsent Masons, Weißbach has taken the lead on ESG, both in promoting litigation capabilities to clients and in helping the firm achieve its internal goals. To her, unwinding from work means “everything which does not involve screens,” and while she notes that diversity and work-life balance are now “a common part of law firms’ strategy and communications,” it is “incumbent on firms to make sure that they are proactive in their actions and avoid simply paying lip-service.”


Sibel Yilmaz, Baker McKenzie—Brussels and Stockholm

Sibel Yilmaz, Baker McKenzie, Brussels and Stockholm
  • Year of birth: 1982
  • Position: Partner since 2021
  • Practice area: Antitrust and Competition
  • Key clients: Embracer, Nordic Capital, Accent Equity, Cevian Capital, Maersk A/S

A Swedish national based in Brussels who divides her time between offices there and in Stockholm, Sibel Yilmaz is a recognized expert in Swedish competition law and procedure.

A nongovernmental adviser to the Swedish Competition Authority since 2016, this year she advised Accent Equity and its portfolio company Tempcon in securing Phase II clearances for two mergers—a significant achievement, given that the authority has cleared just 62 such cases without remedies since its inception in 1993. Yilmaz also advised Embracer, a fast-growing European gaming company, on obtaining clearance for multiple acquisitions.

A self-described “book nerd” who is reading Agatha Christie at the moment, she notes that despite progress, “many law firms continue to have an overtly male culture which ultimately makes it difficult for some lawyers to be themselves, adding: “I think it is very important for law firms to promote and proactively cultivate an inclusive and diverse environment.”