Practising what you preach – Everis

If you’re selling advice and solutions, you need to ensure that you practice them internally, says Antonio Gómez Jarillo

As Head of Legal and Tax at Everis, a consulting, IT and outsourcing Spanish multinational, Antonio Gómez Jarillo is very conscious of ensuring that the company follows its own advice. “If we advise the clients on efficiency and tight costs control, and sell them solutions to achieve this, then we expect the same from our own departments,” he says.
Everis offers business and strategy advice, integrated solutions, technological applications and maintenance, and outsourcing services, with offices in 13 countries worldwide.

Finding his way
Gómez Jarillo studied law and then took a post-graduate degree in business law at IE Business School in Madrid. He began his career in 1993 in private practice, as a corporate lawyer in the tax department at Coopers & Lybrand. In 1998, just before the company merged with PriceWaterhouse, he moved to Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), where his immersion into the world of consulting, technology and outsourcing began.
“These sectors are very interesting as they involve a great deal of diversity and innovation, and a variety of industries and clients to interact with,” he says. “As an in-house lawyer, aside from consulting and IT, I also had to properly understand the business of these clients, which can range from governments and public authorities to utilities.”
At Andersen Consulting, he lived through exciting times, including the rebranding into Accenture and the 2001 IPO. He was in charge of legal support for the public and government EMEA business unit, after which he headed the Iberia region, assisting utilities as well as, for example, industry and telecoms related clients, and all data privacy and compliance matters.
Then 2007 saw Gómez Jarillo leave Accenture and make his final move to Everis.

When Gómez Jarillo started, he had a team of seven in-house lawyers and three externals. He now has an in-house team of 28 worldwide, including tax advisers, lawyers and paralegals.
His department provides legal and tax support to other areas within the company, covering all manner of consulting and IT projects, among others, the contracts governing them, business process outsourcing, partnership alliances and public contracts, business development and geographic expansion and diversification initiatives. They also provide all necessary related tax advice for such projects and on a corporate level.
“To provide global support and a more efficient and effective service, we have put in place the role of ‘client manager’,” he explains. “These are lawyers that manage the provision of legal and tax advice to clients, which is then executed by our pool of internal or external lawyers.” They currently have four client managers in Spain for the corporation, and recently appointed two in the Americas for legal and tax support, respectively.

External support
Coordinating between jurisdictions is a huge challenge, says Gómez Jarillo, but relying on certain law firms helps to ease the burden.
First line external advisers in Spain and abroad are Bird & Bird, Baker & McKenzie, Cremades & Calvo Sotelo, Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira, Hogan Lovells, Iberia Abogados, Landwell PwC and Olswang. For Portugal, he relies on Linklaters for commercial and corporate matters, Esquível Advogados for litigation, and both Abreu & Marques and Rui Tavares Advogados for labour issues.
“These firms are chosen for their extensive experience and knowledge in particular disciplines,” he explains, “and they give us the additional cover and support we need during times of increased work load”.
As with other companies, their legal budget has decreased, but he says that for three years they have been managing cost controls across departments. And with their externals, they currently look for alternative fee arrangements covering certain time periods or projects.
“We want measures allowing us to lower costs without decreasing the work we outsource,” explains Gómez Jarillo. So they have come up with different arrangements decreasing actual fees paid to externals but making up for this by providing them with new clients and lines of business.“They are very open to this, as the crisis has shown that everyone needs to look for new, innovative and creative solutions.”

Innovating forwards
Gómez Jarillo and his team are currently involved in an internal project to transform Everis’ business support offerings to internal clients, including providing them with an outsourced ‘internal’ department to help with technical knowledge and sector expertise, while maintaining tight costs efficiency.
“Our business teams constantly have to find new, innovative solutions to offer clients. As the legal and tax department, we have to ensure we do the same, providing more than just legal advice but a value-added service,” he explains.
So he is working on providing the business teams with solutions that cover all legal risks and tax contingencies to best benefit the clients and ultimately better sell Everis’ services. “To do this we need to stay at the top of our game,” he says, to “make sure we always practice internally what we preach to our clients”.