A more versatile approach – Araoz & Rueda
The current economic and financial crisis is raising issues that many companies may have never before experienced, says Pedro Rueda, partner at Araoz & Rueda in Madrid. While legal advisers need of course to understand their clients business and to be versatile in their response, they also need to know when to bring in specialist help.
‘The preceding years may have seen companies place their strategic focus on growth, but the emphasis for many now is firmly towards getting their own houses in order. Even among those companies with money, many are becoming distracted by their own internal issues.’
Most of the analysis that surrounded mergers and acquisitions entered into in previous years was focused on the benefits of company synergies rather than what may potentially go wrong, or any subsequent liabilities, says Rueda. Many are therefore now feeling the effects and repercussions of difficulties that might have once been discounted.
‘Companies are increasingly looking to restructure and refinance but you cannot afford to offer the client a shallow understanding of what can be incredibly complex issues. In order to be able to present credible solutions, it clearly helps to understand what has brought a client to their current situation.’
In the prevailing business environment, corporate lawyers must operate more like emergency and accident doctors than transactional specialists, he adds.
‘Lawyers need to be able to recognise the signs of the patient and to offer a cure, if not they must at least be able to present a prognosis and where necessary pass them on the specialist required,’ says Rueda. Such a way of practice may, of course, be the current fashion, but for him it is a return to a more traditional approach.
‘Clients like to know that you can understand all of the issues and that you can offer advice that takes into account all eventualities. It demonstrates that you can look beyond merely the next horizon, or the next transaction. That you offer a more versatile approach.’