Youngest Dutch lawyer: “Learning is always fun when you are challenged”

Tim Groeneweg

At the age of twenty, Tim Groeneweg, Alumnus of Erasmus School of Law, holds the title of the youngest lawyer in the Netherlands. On 19 August, he was sworn in at the Rotterdam District Court and started his career at HVG Law. Tim obtained three bachelors in the previous years: Economics, Law and Tax Law. However, his eagerness to learn developed much earlier, as we can conclude from our interview with Tim.

How do you look back upon your early school years?

“I have always enjoyed learning”, Tim replies. “Learning is always fun when you are challenged”. Tim already sought after this challenge from a young age. “I went to the Leonardo school in Dordrecht. You stay within the same class with your peers while everyone works at their own level”, the lawyer explains. “I was very happy with that sort of education. You are constantly challenged, and you do not have to make new friends every time you skip a grade. That was very comforting!”

Tim went to secondary school when he was nine years old. “I followed the regular curriculum in the first, second and third grade”, he says. “Then I chose the Nature & Technology and Nature & Health paths, along with additional subjects. Eventually, I graduated summa cum laude with five electives.”

Why did you decide to study Economics and Law?

“It was an extremely challenging programme for me”, Tim answers. “And it was very close to my hometown. I did look into other universities, but the Erasmus University was the place to be due to the designed curriculum. Moreover, the Erasmus School of Economics is highly valued. The combination with Law makes it even more challenging.”

“Law regulates society in a way, which makes it interesting. But not everything can be laid down in rules, however hard we try”, Tim explains. His true passion lies within Business Law: “It is fascinating to advise people about this”. Tim says that the lectures of Kid Schwarz – Professor of Business Law – have been a source of inspiration for him.

Why add Tax Law as well?

Tim points to Professor Sigrid Hemels, who inspired him during the first-year course Introduction in Tax Law: “She said, ‘if you like it, you can sign in for the Bachelor’. I must not have been the only double-degree student to find this field of law interesting since it combines law with numbers. It appealed to me, and it has a lot in common with Law. And if you do not like it, you can drop it in a blink of an eye”, Tim concludes.

"I want to finish three studies, but only if it is possible"

Next to his studies, Tim has always been a fanatic korfball player. Additionally, he consciously reserved time to see his friends, and he completed multiple internships, one of which was at HVG Law. Moreover, he was a working student at Erasmus School of Economics for a while: “I taught students there, which I enjoyed very much”.

During his academic career, Tim constantly kept one thing in mind: “I want to finish three studies, but only if it is possible. I do not want to stop exercising or seeing my friends to do so. I would rather drop one study”.

Why did you decide to pursue Law?

Intrigued by Schwarz’s lectures, Tim decided to write to one of the partners of HVG Law in the hope of finding an internship, which got him at the division Corporate M&A. “What I really like is that Corporate M&A is the intersection of all my three studies and interests. You mainly focus on the legal aspects, but it is vital that you understand transactions from a financial-economical and financial law view. That is why I have decided to pursue M&A. The legal side appeals to me; how you can help people doing business”.

When did you know you were the youngest lawyer?

“People frequently told me I was very young”, Tim starts. “Some even asked if I was the youngest lawyer yet. I started looking into it and I noticed many young lawyers were 21 years old when they were sworn in. I emailed the Bar Association, which confirmed I would be the youngest”, Tim laughs. “Eventually, you want to become the best. The youngest and the best. That would be amazing!”

Do you have anything you want to achieve in the future?

Tim particularly values challenges and advancement opportunities in his work. Additionally, he wants to develop in legal matters, especially the negotiations that are a part of this. However, Tim does not exclude a comeback to the university: “I am thinking of maybe doing a PhD. However, I want to start working and finish my professional education first. If that all goes according to plan, I might consider a PhD. I might even become a professor one day”.

What do you want to say to current and future students?

“Enjoy your time as a student. Go for your passion and what you love to do. Pursue that”, Tim stresses.

For now, the twenty-year-old is working at HVG Law. “We have learned a lot at the university, but now it is time to learn new skills on the job that were not taught at school. This is really exciting at the moment.”

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