Discover Benelux, Issue 60, December 2018

Page 98

Discover Benelux  |  Discover Flemish Legal Profession  |  Meet the Winners

Dominique De Waele (left) and Thomas Gillis (right).

Behind the scenes of the criminal court TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | PHOTOS: THOMAS GILLIS

Togas, pieces of evidence and a hammer: the theatre of judges, attorneys and criminals never stops tickling people’s curiosity, hence the many books, films and television shows that have been made about it. After several years in the industry, criminal attorney Thomas Gillis considers the courtroom as his natural habitat. We have called him to the stand to testify about the ins and outs of the criminal law. In his younger years, he was a prodigy on the football field: today, Thomas Gillis is a well-respected criminal lawyer 98  |  Issue 60  |  December 2018

in Flanders. “There are quite a few similarities between top sports and law,” Gillis explains. “In both sectors, you have to fight for what you believe in and keep working to the best of your abilities. No matter how talented or experienced you are: the moment you stop giving it your all, you lose. That pressure gets my blood pumping and pushes me to keep improving.”

itive outcome of a case and be motivated to help your client the best way possible. That is the basic principle of advocacy: helping people. If you’re brooding too much about all the ways the case could go south, you will lose your confidence, forfeiting all your chances of winning. A surgeon can’t be afraid to cut either, no matter how delicate the surgery is.”

As a criminal defender, even the smallest error can cost your client several years of freedom. Yet, that does not seem to scare Gillis. “You must always believe in the pos-

Of course, advocacy is no exact science. Each attorney must develop his own personal style according to what he believes to be an effective and moral way

No sweet-talker