‘Law firms need to be extremely reliable, ethical and honest’
When dealing with international contracts or projects, Capgemini want to work with international law firms with a presence in Spain, says Álvaro Cadenas Guijarro
Reliability is one of the key attributes Capgemini looks for when selecting external lawyers, says Madrid in-house legal counsel Álvaro Cadenas Guijarro. “We usually try to look for a kind of comfort from a law firm to support our approach, and therefore a law firm must be extremely reliable to give us the necessary confidence in every situation,” he explains. Generally, Capgemini will engage external lawyers in exceptional circumstances, such as when the business must deal with a contentious matter or adapt to the introduction of new legislation. “We use external law firms when we face a case outside the normal course of the business, such as litigation or the implementation of a law that is coming into force,” Cadenas Guijarro says.
A client’s choice of external adviser will depend on the size of the organisation in question, says Cadenas Guijarro. “An in-house lawyer may have different criteria for choosing one law firm or another depending on the kind of, or size of, company the lawyer is working for,” he explains. “Being part of a start-up company or a small or medium-sized company is not the same as working for a large international company when it comes to choosing a law firm.”
Cadenas Guijarro says bigger companies often look for law firms with a wide variety of expertise. “Since I have been with large international companies, the selection of a law firm encompasses those which have a broad range of specialties, and with international recognition,” he says. “Nevertheless, I always look for a close personal relationship, which is based on mutual reliability.” Cadenas Guijarro continues: “When using an external law firm, you enjoy extra confidence that helps you when dealing with your internal business partners within the company.”
However, Cadenas Guijarro says the most important considerations when deciding which law firm to choose are ethics and honesty. “A law firm must have integrity and be honest with my company when we work together,” he says. Cadenas Guijarro adds that, when dealing with international contracts or projects, he tries to work with international law firms with a presence in Spain to ensure “comfort and reliability”. However, he adds that this does not imply criticism of local firms, which “may be as good as an international firm”.
Cadenas Guijarro says that, currently, the Capgemini legal team is immersed in issues created by the implementation of the European Union’s NIS (Network and Information Systems) Directive and its implementation in Spain. The directive includes legal measures to boost the overall level of cybersecurity in the European Union. The legislation aims to support and facilitate strategic cooperation and the exchange of information among member states, and covers sectors such as energy, transport, water, banking, financial markets, healthcare and digital infrastructure. Businesses in such sectors that are identified by member states as “operators of essential services” will have to take appropriate security measures and notify serious incidents to the relevant national authority. “Capgemini is focused on providing cybersecurity services according to the highest standards and we, as in-house lawyers, have to be the strongest business partners in order to help the company carry out these services,” Cadenas Guijarro says.
Lawyers have critical role
He adds that other new legislation that has added to his team’s workload in recent months is the general data protection regulation (GDPR) which addresses the issue of data privacy for all individuals within the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA), as well as addressing the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas.
“This has involved a huge effort for all companies around the world, and not only in Europe,” Cadenas Guijarro says. “Since the IT business is more and more global, we, as one of the main IT services providers, are expected to obtain an outstanding performance in this matter and the legal department has a critical role to play here.”
Álvaro Cadenas Guijarro is Madrid in-house legal counsel at Capgemini