1.Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be in (or a customer of) the legal business?
I always wanted to be a Lawyer. Since I was a child I played standing up a court with my friends. I hold a Degree and a Masters in Law from the Lusiada University and an Advanced Management Program from the Nova School of Business and Economics. Since my graduation, in 2003, I work in the legal business as a lawyer, in two law firms, and as in-house lawyer at three big companies with different core business.
2.What do you do for a living right now?
I am the Head of Legal & Compliance at McDonald´s Portugal.
In my current role I am responsible to provide leadership and ensure efficient and effective management of staff resources in the legal department, develop and maintain a structure to support the effective provision of legal advice and legal services that support business decision making, drive legal risk identification and the provision of legal advice that incorporates legislative and regulatory changes, provide legal oversight on major litigation (class actions) and high risk legal matters, review and advise management on legal implications of internal policies and procedures, manage the external law firms which collaborate with the Company.
Apart from that I am also the Compliance Local Leader.
Prior to joining McDonald’s in 2014, I worked for BP (the British multinational oil and gas company) as a Legal Counsel, based in Lisbon, for almost two years and directly to the Global Supply Chain & Technology Team (based in London), for six months.
Previous from that I worked six years as a Legal Counsel in Mundicenter Group, a Portuguese company that manage shopping centers. I also have two experiences in Law Firms, as a Lawyer, for five years.
3.What has been your greatest triumph and your greatest success in the legal services field and what did you learn from each?
My greatest triumph is to serve all my clients. Internally, my colleagues at McDonald’s from different departments and externally our Franchisees that help the Company grow every day.
In life the success is the sum of small efforts, every day we must do our best. So, my greatest success is always the “next meeting”, the “next agreement”.
Personally, in 2015, I received the “Rookie of the Year” Award, which recognizes the best “new-joiner” Counsel of the Year (worldwide) at McDonald’s.
4. Do you think the legal industry is headed in the right direction, the wrong direction – or which direction?
I think it is headed in the right direction. Both Companies and Law Firms understand the importance of our role.
The development of technology and particularly the late 00’s recession helped a lot the legal industry to understand and purge some big problems that affect us.
The budgets are now more realistic and I think everyone values better the important things in the profession and personal life.
5. Who – or what – inspires you – and why?
My family and all the people that really fight for their dreams.
Recently I met a fantastic woman, a self-made woman, which built a “small empire” in D.C. The values and the courage that she shared with me, showed me that the “American dream” is still alive and we always could achieve our goals and ambitions. We’re never too old or too tired to pursuit our dreams.
6. What advice would you give to the younger generation contemplating law as a career?
Make sure that you chose your true passion.
Every year McDonald’s Portugal welcomes a lot of students to participate in the “Summer at McDonald’s”, I always advise them to choose their passion, their dream, and not someone else’s idea of what they should be doing.
We must follow our heart and pursuit our dreams.
I can’t imagine waking up every day and go to a work that I really don’t like or work just for money.
I always remember a famous Ray Kroc quote:
“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”
7. How ready for change do you think the legal industry is?
Devastated by the effect of the late 00´s recession, many Companies and Law Firms have had to make adjustments (downsizing, layoffs and restructuring) on the fly, hoping for the best.
The legal industry grew a lot with the recession and with all the changes that happened worldwide.
Mistakes teach us, through analysis and feedback, about what works, and what doesn’t.
Nowadays, we see the industry discussing and utilizing new methods and approaches.
So, I conclude the legal industry is far more ready for change. However, it is a daily challenge for all of us.
8. Is more – or different – leadership required? In what ways?
The leadership has changed the last few years. From a business perspective we, lawyers, must engage with and enable the Business, make bold moves and take appropriate risks. Nowadays, the Leaders must develop and inspire people and make a positive impact (“can do” attitude).
9. How deep do you think will be the inroads of technology in the industry?
Technology and legal are already today stalwartly interconnected. All the companies put their money in IT systems and rely on electronic devices such as computers, mobile phones, tablets and other gadgets.
Technology in the industry is a fact and for the benefit of all of us.
In ten years, do you see an industry much as it is – or do you see new players, new technology and an altered state?
Things of course continue to change, and new players, new technology and new game-changers will appear.
It is clear that the past twenty years have been a period of significant change in the practice of law, with the introduction of the internet and the development of wireless tech, the industry changed dramatically.
Both economy and technology will assume a key-role for all of us.
The Companies and Law firms that are preparing and planning the days (years) to come, in order to respond to the challenging times ahead, probably will have (more) success.
10. Are consultants and lawyers looking increasingly similar? Should the distinction continue?
There is still a distinction between lawyers and consultants. A lawyer could practice law. On the other hand the consultant can’t do that, he can only advise in legal matters.
For instance, to the Companies (non-law firms) is important to have both of them in order to advise properly. The consultant could give their advice based in his knowledge and experience, but he must rely on lawyers, the acquaintance of the law.
In my opinion, a lawyer could perform a role of a consultant, however a consultant can´t perform a role of a lawyer because he doesn’t have the skills (from a technique point a view).
A good example of that is the General Counsels, Legal Managers and similar roles in the Companies, are preferable carried out by Lawyers (or former lawyers).
11. What are your thoughts on the increasing availability of data to guide client-side procurement of legal services?
We have a long way to go, because few are apprehending it meticulously enough to drive real insight, and clients often don’t have enough data to provide the insight they require.
12. Lawyers have typically regulated to keep non-lawyer investors out but that’s a two-edged sword these days. What are your thoughts?
Non-lawyers probably must dig deeper in order to enter “this world”.
However, I think in the near future, it could be a good challenge to the industry.
13. What’s the one most significant factor that will drive change in your view?
I definitely believe that in the next years, more lawyers will be making the move into more executive-based legal roles and less into working at big law firms. This allows lawyers to leverage their legal skills with strategic business management in a leadership capacity.
14. Are we seeing the demise of the “profession” and the real emergence of the “business” of law?
I don’t think so. There will always be room for lawyers that act with an individual practice and they could be the “keepers” of the profession.
15. What do you consider is the greatest challenge facing the industry?
Technology and the reduction of legal costs.
16. What do you see as the greatest opportunity for the sector looking forward?
Technology. From the Law Firms perspectives, I think online platforms (client oriented) will improve the client experience and will unbundle and productize legal services faster.
For in-house lawyers the challenge is a move to a hybrid role of legal/business advisor in the capacity of being a General Counsel and Senior/Executive Vice President.
17. Do you think law can improve its track record on diversity and inclusion? How?
Nowadays, it is not only about having diversity within a corporation but leveraging that diversity to perform better.
The corporations have a huge role on it. All of them must seek diversity, create inclusion and drive accountability.
A good example of that is the promotion of the free speaking. Leaders in D&I encourage employees to speak out against biases. Law must protect and learn from this.
18. Will the current regulatory framework around law help or hinder it in the future?
Regulation will always be necessary in order to protect the best interests of the clients, so the regulatory framework must follow the “real life”.
19. Who do you think are the greatest influencers on the industry these days?
The most experienced lawyers within law firms and corporations who are driving change. However, people outside the industry influence all of us. We have great leaders around us and they influence the lawyers to perform better.
20. If you had to do it all over again, would you? Or what would you do differently?
I think the wonder of life is not knowing what he next chapter is. I am definitely a ‘yes’ person. So, I would probably do it all over again. However, with so many opportunities to learn new skills or do something different, the idea of a job for life is now a thing of the past.
Nowadays, I really think in the right place. I wake up every day with a smile on my face and this is the more important thing to me.
21. If a law firm was a startup pitching for investors, would you be an investor?
It depends what is the objective of the law firm. I would invest in a law firm that puts the client first.
1. If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Definitely Soccer coach. I´m a UEFA “A” qualified coach and that is my passion.
2. What would you like to be known for?
A trustworthy person.
3. What would surprise everyone if they knew (they may now).
I wrote a book about soccer: “The future of the European Soccer” (in Portuguese “Futebol Europeu. Que Futuro?”).
4. What’s your favorite hobby or activity outside of law?
I like spending time with my family and friends, travel and coach (soccer).
5. What’s your favorite sports team?
There can be only one: Sport Lisboa e Benfica. Benfica is the current Portuguese champion, having won four consecutive league titles (total 36).
6. What’s your favorite city?
There’s too many: Lisbon, London, Munich, New York, D.C.
7. What’s your favorite food?
I am a huge fan of all kinds of Italian food, specially risotto and ravioli.
Filipe is the Head of Legal & Compliance at McDonald´s Portugal, and is responsible for all legal affairs. Locally he manages directly the initiatives in anti-money laundering, anti-corruption, and other regulatory and compliance areas.
He is a Portuguese qualified Lawyer and holds an LL.M. in Business Law from the Lusiada University and an Advanced Management Program from the Nova School of Business and Economics (PT).
He has previously worked as a legal counsel at BP, Mundicenter Group and as a lawyer in two different law firms.
Filipe also is a soccer coach and hold the UEFA “A” Licence, from Scottish Football Association.