IN-HOUSE LAWYER: HOW TO SUCCEED AS A ‘START-UP’ LAW FIRM

“The in-house lawyer has a single corporate client. However, under this umbrella there exists a very diverse plurality of departments, projects, etc. He or she is constantly in the process of adapting and learning about the needs of his or her internal ‘clients’.” This is how Almudena Ponce de León, founding partner of TKL Abogados, summarizes the daily work of an in-house lawyer. “There is a significant difference between providing legal advice to the members of the board of a company about the vicissitudes of an international expansion project, and helping the marketing department to implement in a given territory a campaign or commercial policy that is already being developed in other regions.”

The variety of issues that Ponce de León has had to face, as well as her partner Samuel Rivero, is not the only advantage Ponce de León finds about having been involved in the legal advisory of large multinationals such as Burger King, The Walt Disney Company and UPS. Their previous experience allows them, in her judgement, to know firsthand the vision of the world that the in-house lawyer has, and the needs that can arise. According to Ponce de León, “in-house plays a key role because the in-house lawyer knows the business and can convey this knowledge to the external lawyers.”

Nevertheless, the founding partner of TKL Abogados recognizes that not everything is advantageous: “Founding a law firm and getting it to consolidate its customer base requires adding a commercial aspect to the mere execution of legal work and the development of know-how.”

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