Law Firms That Don't Listen, Or Fail To Deliver On Time, Cause Frustration

Author:Iberian Lawyer
Profession:Iberian Lawyer

Thales Portugal wants to use firms that are ethical, innovative and provide good value for money, says general counsel Paulo Lino Martins

Present in Portugal since 1990 France's Thales Group provides technological navigational and training products for the space, aerospace, defence, security and ground transportation industries. The company - which has a presence in 56 countries and employs more than 60,000 people - generated total revenues of €14 billion in 2015. The company is heavily involved in Portugal's passenger transport sector through Thales Portugal as well as having a 65 per cent stake in software development company Edisoft, which serves the aerospace and defence sectors. Paulo Lino Martins, general counsel at Thales Portugal and Edisoft, says MLGTS, PLMJ, Esquivel Advogados and PBBR are the firms the organisation uses in Portugal. "When we require external know-how in important legal issues, first we get support from the corporate area to allow us to fine-tune the issues and the objectives at hand," Lino Martins explains. "Then, we have a consultation call with the law offices that work with us - the Thales panel law firms in Portugal - to discuss the issues, their availability according to our timeframes, their competence for the specific request and the competitiveness of their fees." Lino Martins says the most sought-after qualities in external counsel are "outstanding expertise, innovation and the capacity to work together with the company in the sense that the counsel be engaged with the Thales Group, rather than acting like an external consultant". Ethics, innovation and a good "price-quality ratio" are the characteristics the company values most, he adds. Lino Martins adds that Thales would be deterred from using any law firm that exhibited unethical behaviour, or did not listen to the company's requirements and needs, or was not in line with Thales' core values.

How to add value "Law firms add value in everything that we are not experts in, and that goes beyond our day-to-day operations when assisting us," Lino Martins says. "When an external law firm reminds us of issues that might impact the future of the company's operations in a country by a simple reminder mail, or a new legal framework under discussion that could have a legal and/or financial impact, then that quality is most appreciated." The biggest cause of frustration when using external law firms is an incapacity to listen, or when they fail to deliver their...

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