Growing as a team
In 2010, the dream of nine partners became a reality and BAS Advogados was born, a firm that stands out for its “more democratic” way of working
Created in an unfavorable conjuncture, at the beginning of the economic crisis that affected Portugal, BAS has overcome the difficulties that have come their way and, although they have not grown as intended, they are more solid than ever. With a team of ten partners and 35 lawyers, BAS has invested in various areas and is prepared for the next ten years ahead.
Dália Cardadeiro and Pedro Madeira de Brito, two founding partners, remember the beginning and are proud of what they achieved because the values remain the same. Even the company’s slogan remained: “Legal knowledge with value”.
Iberian Lawyer has made this journey into the past but with an eye on the future.
BAS was founded a decade ago. How did that happen?
We were a group of people who had been working together for some time. Ten years ago we decided to make a slightly different project, which aimed to create a more diversified society in relation to the areas of interest. And also with a different structure between partners and lawyers. We mean more democratic and more transparent, like a real team and interactive logic. We cut with the paradigm of traditional firms where there is great competition and a hierarchical system. In our vision, there are only lawyers. Obviously, we are differentiated by years of experience, which makes us technically more skilled, that’s all. It’s a different experience from the one we were all used to. We wanted to develop a culture that rewards merit, but also the idea of solidarity and help for the execution of common goals. Our whole way of acting reflected that idea and remains the same. Our approach is very much noticed by colleagues who come from other law firms. When trainees come to us, they often tell us that they chose us because of our knowledge of the market and our different approach on things. It’s essential for the success of any organization to create their own culture within the structure. We started with our motto “Legal knowledge with value” and it continues until today, that is, we do not deviate from our posture. Basically, what we mean is that we are a society where it is pleasant to work and where you learn effectively.
When you talk about “diversified society in relation to the areas of interest”, what sectors are you referring to?
We have not strayed from our main area, which is Health, from the very beginning. However, we also focus on other areas such as Education, Energy or Aeronautics. Then, there are cross-cutting matters, such as Data Protection, a current theme in which we invest a lot. Even in Real Estate and Agriculture, incredible as it may seem, we have had a growing demand, both nationally and internationally.
Some of the topics you mention are new in the market. Does that mean you are trying to follow the trends?
Completely. We are following the internal transformations, that is, the way the profession is exercised. We are aware of the trends of the market but, at the same time, we want to expand our traditional areas. Our growth has been very sustainable. Our partner structure, for example, has remained practically unchanged.
In numbers, what does this growth mean?
A decade ago, we started with nine partners and today we’re ten. When we call someone, we usually think exactly about the profile of someone who can stay and grow with us. All the training invested in a colleague is an asset to us, right? We want to continue to grow but always as a team.
How is the overall balance of a decade of work?
We are satisfied with how much we have grown this far but we have not grown as much as we expected. Our goal was not achieved. The explanation for this has to do with the constraints of the market itself. We were born in 2010, we were even told that “we were very brave” because of the economic crisis that affected everyone was beginning. At that time, we still had no idea how deep and lasting that crisis would be. Obviously, we couldn’t grow organically as much as we wanted or expanded further in international partnerships. The situation was not favorable for us. Nevertheless, we grew and managed to get through this phase, that is, we are happy and optimistic for the future. We will continue as we have done so far, with our feet on the ground. Past experience is important for us to understand what we should and should not do.
Has technology changed the way you work?
We were already born with technology rooted in our organization. Ten years ago, we realized that law practice was transforming itself according to the new technologies, even in the logic of cutting costs. It is also very clear that the market will increasingly differenciate a person specialized in the exercise of a given issue, from those that focus on common everyday activity. The new technologies may even replace tasks done by people. But the human factor remains essential in the resolution of any situation.
What are the main goals for the next decade?
There is one area in which we have invested a lot in these ten years and we want to continue on that road, the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP’S). There is now a renewed interest in this subject and we are working to deal with PPP’s projects in other areas outside Health. The great experience we had has been noticed internationally and we have been sought out by other markets, for example, Azerbaijan. In Portuguese speaking countries, we have also been invited to explain our working model. These projects are also very challenging because they involve knowledge in the legal area from financial, labor or banking law. They require multidisciplinary teams and that is how we already work and where we are good.
Dalia has worked as a lawyer since 2003. Before founding BAS, she worked as a lawyer at Vasco Branco Guimarães, Gabriela Ventura e Telmo Correia, between 2003 and 2004 and Barrocas Sarmento Neves, RL, between 2004 and 2009. She is a member of EELA – European Employment Lawyers Association.
PEDRO MADEIRA DE BRITO
Lawyer since 1990, Pedro Madeira de Brito has a long resume, including Chief of Staff of the Assistant Secretary of State to the Minister of Health, between 1992 and 1993. He was also Deputy of the Offices of the Secretary of State for Health Administration and the Assistant Secretary of State to the Minister of Health between 1990 and 1992. He has been a teacher for more than twenty years in areas like Health Law and Labour Law. Before founding BAS ADVOGADOS, he was a partner in Madeira de Brito, Sá e Cunha, Parente Esteves e Filipa Névoa & Associados, between 1994 and 2001.
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