Monday, 17 June 2019 16:03

Making the deal happen

María Luisa Vara, legal director at asset management business Azora talks to Iberian Lawyer about the challenges of setting up a ‘high performance’ legal department and the company's approach to selecting external lawyers

María Luisa Vara joined Azora ten years ago and was given the task of creating an in-house legal team – here she discusses what type of legal work the company outsources and how relationships with external lawyers work in practice.

How long have you been with Azora and how has your role changed during that time?

I joined Azora in 2009. I came from the renowned Uría Menéndez law firm, where I spent a large part of my career. In particular, I advise on fund raising, investment and disinvestment operations, asset management and project finance. I have more than 18 years of experience in corporate and real estate practice. When I joined Azora I had to set up the legal department, not only the processes but I also had to build a high-performance legal team from scratch. Building a legal department is not easy, but it is even more challenging consolidating and coordinating it, because the Azora legal team is about making the deal happen, unwinding legal complexity and adding significant value beyond controlling risk. This means there is a lot of pressure and it poses challenges for the team every day. It is easy to say, but not easy to achieve. In addition to coordinating the legal department, I am also responsible with my team for the in-house legal appraisal of projects as well as legal structuring and leading transactions. This includes the drafting, negotiation and closing of contractual documentation, which is my favourite part. In particular I am focus on fund raising, corporate transactions and the hospitality sector. When I joined Azora, I became a member of the executive, management and investment committee and, in 2018, I was appointed secretary of the board of directors at Azora.

Which legal work do you outsource?

We usually work together with external law firms as our ‘day to day’ consists of operations or cases where there is the need for specialist advice. We are usually involved in very sophisticated operations in which we need various specialists. Even if it results in a bigger workload for Azora’s in house legal team, we establish working groups with multi-disciplinary lawyers, even from different external law firms.

Do you have preferred law firms that you choose to work with?

We seek out and create excellent legal teams to handle transactions, with the decision based on individual lawyers rather than relying only on the law firm’s brand.

How do you select the law firms?

We take into account their technical and legal knowledge, their experience in past cases, creativity when seeking legal solutions to complex issues, as well as other skills, such as communications, negotiations, interaction with the counterpart and all other advisers and public bodies, for example. I like accuracy and rigorosity in drafting. Selection is not easy. In my opinion, to make the correct selection, the in-house lawyer requires seniority and a good knowledge of the specific legal sector in which they are involved, as well as a perfect understanding of the operation or case we aim to share with the external lawyer.

How often do you review the performance of external counsel and how does this review work?

I follow the performance of our external counsels on a day to day basis. My role does not consist of outsourcing a specific matter or case and limiting myself to coordinating it. In-house lawyers in Azora are on-board motors of business so, with necessary resources, either internal or external, we work directly on the day to day in each transaction or case. We make a transaction ‘our own’ in terms of generating business or managing legal risks. The legal work has a huge exposure, for good and bad. Thus the performance of the work (internal or external) is ‘on the table’ on a day to day basis.

To read the article in full please download issue N.85 here

IL GoldAwards Save 300x100 2

banner latam awards2019

IL IstitutoInnovacionLegal 300 1

Iberian Lawyer
N.87 • September 09, 2019

IL87 Cover SP IL87 Cover EN

The Latin American Lawyer
N.8 • July 15, 2019

LAL8 20190715 EN
 
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30

This website uses cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the IberianLawyer website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more

I agree

What do I need to know about cookies?

A cookie is a small text file that’s stored on your computer or mobile device when you visit a website. We use them to:

  • Remember your preferences
  • Tailor our sites to your interests.

There are different types of cookies

First party cookies

These are set by the website you’re visiting. And only that website can read them.  In addition, a website might use a separate company to analyse how people are using their site. And this separate company will set their own cookie to do this.

Third party cookies

These are set by someone other than the owner of the website you’re visiting. 

Some IberianLawyer web pages may also contain content from other sites like Vimeo or Flickr, which may set their own cookies. Also, if you Share a link to a IberianLawyer page, the service you share it on (e.g. Facebook) may set a cookie on your browser.

The IberianLawyer has no control over third party cookies.

Advertising cookies

Some websites use advertising networks to show you specially targeted adverts when you visit. These networks may also be able to track your browsing across different sites.

IberianLawyer site do use advertising cookies but they won’t track your browsing outside the IberianLawyer.

Session cookies

These are stored while you’re browsing. They get deleted from your device when you close your browser e.g. Internet Explorer or Safari.

Persistent cookies

These are saved on your computer. So they don’t get deleted when you close your browser.

We use persistent cookies when we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session. For example, we use them to remember your preferences for the next time you visit.

Other tracking technologies

Some sites use things like web beacons, clear GIFs, page tags and web bugs to understand how people are using them and target advertising at people.

They usually take the form of a small, transparent image, which is embedded in a web page or email. They work with cookies and capture data like your IP address, when you viewed the page or email, what device you were using and where you were.

How does the Iberian Lawyer use cookies?

We use different types of cookies for different things, such as:

  • Analysing how you use the IberianLawyer
  • Giving you a better, more personalised experience
  • Recognising when you’ve signed in

Strictly Necessary cookies

These cookies let you use all the different parts of Iberian Lawyer. Without them services that you have asked for cannot be provided.

Some examples of how we use these cookies are:

  • Signing into the IberianLawyer
  • Remembering previous actions such as text entered into a registration form when navigating back to a page in the same session
  • Remembering security settings which restrict access to certain content.

Performance cookies

These help us understand how people are using the IberianLawyer online, so we can make it better. And they let us try out different ideas.
We sometimes get other companies to analyse how people are using the IberianLawyer online. These companies may set their own performance cookies You can opt out of these cookies here.Some examples of how we use these cookies are:

  • To collect information about which web pages visitors go to most often so we can improve the online experience
  • Error management to make sure that the website is working properly
  • Testing designs to help improve the look and feel of the website.
Cookie nameWhat it's for
Google DoubleClick The IberianLawyer uses Google DoubleClick to measure the effectiveness of its online marketing campaigns.Opt-out of DoubleClick cookies
Google Analytics From time to time some IberianLawyer online services, including mobile apps, use Google Analytics. This is a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. Google Analytics sets a cookie in order to evaluate use of those services and compile a report for us.Opt-out of Google Analytics cookies