Commercial and professional services
Legal director | ISS facility services
Team size: Nine
Major legal advisers: Sagardoy, Garrigues, Andersen, JOVS Legal, Belmonte & Nieto.
What are the most significant cases or transactions you and your team have been involved in?
My team and I have been involved in several transactions. The most recent concerns the acquisition of the contracts’ portfolio of multiple service companies in Spain – the cleaning services contracts from Uni2 and Limpiezas Villar for a value of €85m; the technical services contract from Atrian which amounted to €25m. We have also been involved in the sale of our €60m food services business branch to Aramak. Additionally, we have actively participated in the negotiation and signing of large single and integrated service contracts with big Spanish and multinational companies such as Telefónica, Iberdrola, CaixaBank and Amazon, among others.
How do you suggest in-house lawyers build strong relationships with business partners?
First-class legal advice is not enough to build strong relationships with business partners. Driving the business forward and delivering excellent results make the real difference. General counsel should not forget that they owe the meaning of their existence to the organisation, since they cannot exist in isolation. Therefore, they must learn about the business and work towards the realisation of its objectives. Every company has its unique features and acquiring strong knowledge about its operations and functioning requires time and willingness to learn. Developing a sense of belonging to the corporation and becoming a team player is essential to work alongside management, to help design strategies, manage projects and mitigate legal risks that could potentially affect the success of the business. Humbleness, knowledge, and hand-in-hand work with business partners are the three key drivers for in-house counsel to earn a seat at the table where decisions are taken.
How do you feel the pandemic has changed the world of work for in-house counsel and the function of the general counsel?
The pandemic has demonstrated the versatility and resilience of in-house counsel – not only because they have been able to adapt to remote work, but also because of their increased levels of efficiency and productivity. They succeeded in embracing a more collaborative and strategic approach in giving advice, regardless of ever changing laws and regulations. Additionally, Covid-19 has proven that lawyers do not need to be in the office to deliver remarkable results. Still, it is important not to undermine the importance of personal contact with colleagues, necessary to allow strong collaboration and strategic mindset. The role of the general counsel has shifted to assume strategic weight within the organisation. The typical advisory role has expanded beyond its original scope to include ESG, crisis management and technological innovation. It has symbolised a great milestone for the in-house legal function, which has now assumed a higher position at board level and management committees.