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Wessel Legal Engineer

Working at Loyens & Loeff is appealing because it allows me to combine professional ambitions with my broader scientific interests, a rare combination indeed. As long as I can remember I enjoy thinking about legal systems in their sociopolitical context without sharing the quintessential lawyerly interest in solving legal puzzles. However intellectually appealing that may be, the labor market perspectives for a lawyer with no substantial interest in the application of legal norms to concrete problems have always been grim.

Loyens & Loeff is one of the few continental European law firms that does not merely talk about innovation but actually gets its hands dirty by implementing technological solutions to legal problems. Existing projects include but are not limited to document automation, the application of natural language processing techniques, impact assessments and legal prediction. Increasingly, these fields become part and parcel of legal practice and academia, making Loyens & Loeff the epicenter where scientific techniques meet professional practice. At the same time, the firm looks favorable upon my scholarly inclinations and stimulates me to continue producing academic research. My ongoing research fellowship at the Leuven Centre of Legal Theory and Empirical Jurisprudence bolsters my atypical profile. Here I apply data analysis to a wide variety of topics such as European integration, judicial behavior and even legal argumentation and rhetoric. For example, I recently published a research article on the influence of ideology on competition law decisions of EU judges (link).

Luckily we live in a day and age where legal academia as well as legal practice, as some of the last remnants of the enchanted world, steadily open up to more data driven approaches.