Country Head Of Legal
What is your specific role, and what does this entail?
Head of legal for Siemens Healthineers in Brazil, responsible for guiding all business areas in the country in every aspect of the applicable laws.
How is the legal team structured locally and globally?
Globally, the general counsel of Siemens Healthineers (Mr Chase Dearborn) has in his team six direct reports, responsible for the support to the business areas, and six direct reports with responsibility for the Latin America; North America; Western Europe and Western Africa; Central Europe, Middle East and Africa; North-East Asia; and Asia-Pacific regions.
In Brazil, the team of specialists is structured in accordance with the legal field of expertise – commercial, corporate and litigation teams, with direct reports to the head of legal, and labour and tax lawyers, through centralised structures for the Siemens Group in the country.
What are the key challenges and opportunities facing your legal team at the moment?
Our team has a stated mission to support Siemens Healthineers in becoming the enabler of healthcare providers worldwide. Thus, the new trends of the healthcare market, including consolidation, industrialisation and the management of value-based healthcare, are big influencers of our current challenges and opportunities: new business models, IP-based and cross-border negotiations, ADRs as an alternative to increased litigation, data protection, all of this in an efficiency-driven economical scenario.
So, at the same time the in-house legal team is required to grow its knowledge and specialisation in various new fields of law (and, of course, on new aspects of traditional fields), without compromising on well established internal processes implemented within a lean structure. Expertise and cost and time-efficiency must go hand in hand, and the modern general counsel is expected to find the right balance between such demands
Are there unique challenges for your legal team in dealing with multiple jurisdictions or cross-border business? Do you have an international panel?
Although we follow internal rules that are valid for the company globally for the purposes of defining and hiring external firms, we mainly work with a local panel, as our litigation is regionally based.
However, our company works with multiple cross-border businesses in different jurisdictions, leading to the need to understand and cope with the different legislation applicable to commercial law, intellectual property, data protection law, distribution agreements, competition law and other aspects. For this, we count on a well-established internal network of cooperation between colleagues sitting in the different jurisdictions, acting together to solve the common problems of the company.
How significant are legal issues in your company’s international strategy?
The high and ever-growing complexity of regulation on every aspect of economic activities, especially when interacting in a globalised market, makes the legal issues a core part of every business decision. Legal is no longer a mere approval office, but rather a thorough counsel with a unique view of the most varied aspects of the business.
When would you typically enlist external counsel rather than doing the work in-house?
Usually, external counsels are hired in Brazil to act before courts in litigation matters, and to provide support on highly-specialised fields of law (like environmental law) and M&A transactions.
How do you instruct external counsel domestically and internationally?
We always act in alignment with colleagues sitting in other jurisdictions when a transaction involves international hiring of consultants.
Locally, the law firms are expected to have enough knowledge about our market and our company, in order to handle the cases according to our strategies and goals. The instruction for individual cases is done by in-house specialists, who are able to criticise and contribute, on the same high level, with external lawyers.
What are the key elements in making a decision about which external counsel to hire?
The external counsel today must be a partner of the company, sharing the same perspectives and goals, and working towards that vision. Availability and refined expertise today are givens. The focus should remain on building up a long-term relationship that enables trust.
With that in mind, the first step to hiring external counsel is to apply a series of objective criteria to select the local panel. Periodically, partners go through a contest covering aspects such as demonstrated knowledge in specialised fields of law, recognition in the market, infrastructure and personnel necessary to cope with the potential complexity and size of cases, and of course best pricing. After that, external counsel are given a determined period in which to handle individual cases. This is a moment to demonstrate that they are willing to be more than an external consultant, and if they are successful in doing so, the opportunity to stay will be given.
What are your best and worst experiences in hiring external counsel?
Best experience: promoting a market-led contest for selecting a local panel, based on objective, value generating criteria, with full support of procurement specialists. That allowed the company to have a comprehensive team of proven external lawyers covering all areas.
Worst experience: having external partners that did not comply with basic rules after a while. Counsel getting too comfortable can become a serious problem in long-term relationships.
What makes a great in-house counsel?
The in-house counsel, nowadays, is first and foremost a businessman, who can understand the background and consequences of legal decisions on both commercial and financial aspects, driving his own thinking to the best business choice. Second, he is a person who has a proactive approach to his daily work, exploring legal boundaries to actively participate in the creation of innovative ways of doing business. Third, he must be a person who never compromises on unrestricted compliance with rules and legislation, creating an image of seriousness and professionalism. Finally, he demonstrates passion for his job and his role in adding value to the organisation.
- HQ Location: Erlangen, Germany
- Industry/sector: health care
- Year of foundation: 1847
- Number of employees: 45,000
- Company reach: worldwide
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All statements and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual and not the organisation.
Published August 2016