Sophie advises national and international clients on various aspects of international employment including business immigration (work permits, single permit, visa and residence of foreign employees), all aspects of individual and collective employment law and social security law. She assists clients with seconding employees to Belgium, structuring simultaneous employment in various countries, starting up activities in Belgium, restructurings and acquisitions. Sophie often works closely with other members of Ius Laboris on transnational projects and queries. Besides, Sophie gives advice on various day-to-day HR issues and general employment law enquiries.
Sophie has a particular interest in global mobility and corporate immigration issues, (prohibited) lease of personnel and flexible work arrangements and dismissal law.
Sophie often speaks at internal and external seminars in Belgium and abroad and is author of various articles. She is co-author of the book "Tewerkstelling buitenlandse werknemers". Within Ius Laboris she chairs the Global Mobility and Immigration Expert Group. Sophie is recommended in the Who’s Who Legal 2018 edition as follows: “Sophie Maes is a national leader with a superb practice. She is also recognised for her international expertise, with sources commenting, “Sophie is the go-to person on global mobility and immigration issues in the context of employment law in Belgium and beyond.” In 2019, the guide mentions "With an impressive ability on restructuring and dismissals work, the "very knowledgeable" Sophie Maes runs a top-notch practice that sees her garner widespread commendation from peers. "There is no better person" in the field in Belgium", comments one interviewee". In 2020, she comes “highly esteemed for her expertise in dismissal law and HR advisory for clients in Belgium and abroad”. In the Who’s Who Legal 2021 edition, Sophie is mentioned as follows: “Sophie Maes is an “outstanding” practitioner, regarded as “a national and global leader” thanks to her “super precise and consistent” work in international immigration and employment law.” This year Sophie enters the Chambers Europe rankings. She is described as follows: “This year Sophie Maes enters the Chambers and Partners rankings after being recognised by market onlookers for her role in international employment matters. A client enthuses: "She is very good and knows all the different legislation of different countries." Maes advises on immigration, work permits and the Posted Workers Directive, as well as restructurings.” Last but not least, Legal 500 EMEA 2021 edition recognizes Claeys & Engels as follows: “Claeys & Engels‘ team has an excellent reputation for its ‘in-depth and solid knowledge of employment law‘. Restructuring and pensions matters are core areas of strength for the ‘solution-minded‘ team, which also advises clients on immigration issues. Chris Engels and the ‘empathic‘ Olivier Wouters jointly lead the group, which includes Sophie Maes.”
Sophie has been a member of the Brussels Bar since 1998. She graduated from the University of Leuven (K.U.Leuven) in 1997, having studied in Leuven and at the University of Rouen (France). She obtained a special degree in labour law from the University of Brussels (ULB) in 1998. Since 2009 she has been a partner at Claeys & Engels.