‘When Law Firms Invoice, Honesty Is Highly Valued'

Author:Iberian Lawyer
Profession:Iberian Lawyer

Renault's head of legal in Portugal João Monge de Gouveia says his company is reluctant to instruct lawyers who are often unavailable due to being busy with other cases

The biggest challenge facing an in-house lawyer is allowing their company to run its business without being impeded by the legal department, according to Renault's head of legal in Portugal João Monge de Gouveia. He adds that it is important for lawyers not to be seen as an obstacle to the activities of the business, but rather, they should be viewed as a person who helps the company to continue its operations free from any problems. Consequently, Monge de Gouveia says that the head of legal at Renault Group is a person who works alongside the business team as part of its management. "It is much more challenging to be in a company as the in-house lawyer because our level of involvement is much higher and we work on company's day-to-day operations, watching and helping its growth," he adds. "It is very rewarding." Shortlist of firms French carmaker Renault is the top-selling automotive brand in Portugal, and last November the company announced it would be investing150 million to expand its manufacturing plant in Cacia. The work the company's in-house team refers to external firms includes litigation cases, some labour law issues, administrative issues, as well as a few commercial law cases. Renault has a shortlist of law firms from which they select external advisers depending on the area of need. The company also uses law firms to conduct external audits such as the one being currently planned for the new general data protection regulation (GDPR). As a result of the GDPR, Monge de Gouveia says Renault will be taking the step of consulting a number of law firms in order to ascertain its implications. Selection criteria Monge de Gouveia says that Renault selects external law firms according to their expertise in the specific area in which advice is required. He adds that the key considerations when choosing a legal adviser is their competence in the relevant area, the specific lawyers involved, as well as how they measure against a "quality-price" criteria. "External law firms add value with their expertise," he says. "They have departments that work specifically in particular areas of law and, in particular, they have in-depth knowledge...

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