In-House Lawyers and their Current Nature
It is common for companies to wonder “why should I hire an in-house lawyer?” The answer is not an easy one; however, an in-house lawyer is a legal advisor that will be addressing and managing all legal matters of your company 24 hours a day, and acting as your go-to legal advisor. This article will focus on this last aspect.
Law is becoming increasingly human-centered, and this leads the legal advisor to gain a greater importance not only in the legal field, but also in relation to several issues that supplement work in the private sector, such as economics, politics and tax; and above all, it involves having a broader view of what takes place in society, since it is society that is the main driver of all other matters that it revolves around.
In Mexico, orality has existed in law for a few decades. This is the case for agrarian and family law, as well as trade and criminal law in the last decade; but it is criminal law that included the figure of the legal advisor as a stakeholder in proceedings with the shift from the inquisitive to the accusatory system, with obligations that are outlined in article 110 of the National Code of Criminal Procedure, which justifies the emergence of this new procedural role in the following manner: “to offer legal advice or participate in legal matters of criminal procedures in representation of the victim. […] The Legal Advisor shall represent the victim under the same conditions of those of the defense attorney.”
The above supports what I mentioned at the beginning of this article, where lawyers or Juris Doctors – especially those hired by a company – can no longer be content with being just Law School graduates: they need to strive to stay up-to-date on many subjects, since everything indicates that they will soon be criminally liable in case they provide inadequate legal counsel, which can only lead to continuous training.
Each company lawyer needs to start his career in the company with a clear view of the mission and vision of the position that he will fill, which should be in line with the mission and vision of the company to which they provide their services; and their general duties should be, among others:
A. To know and apply the laws in effect as well as regulations, rules and internal procedures with the purpose of representing it on any legal or administrative act in a way that guarantees the protection of its interests and a good operability.
B. To represent and provide legal advice to the company in relation to agreements, covenants, contracts and any lawsuit filed by or against it.
C. To ensure good relations between workers and executives through the application of laws, regulations and internal guidelines, in addition to labor laws.
Far from being a hindrance to lawyers, the above is a challenge for each of us, which will prevent us from becoming obsolete in the face of changes – not only in the law, but also when it comes to constant social changes. It is because of this that, more than ever, we have to abide by our commandment:
“STUDY: Law is ever-changing; if you do not follow after it, you will be less of a lawyer with each passing day.”
Therefore, it is obvious that any company of any type and size should have an in-house legal advisor depending on its size, or they may opt to hire the services of a law firm that specializes in corporate law, that is sure to render its services with the same care and respect as an in-house lawyer. There are many options out there; you are sure to find the best one for your company.
By Nelly Vega.