Global in-house team of the year
European Investment Fund
The European Investment Fund (EIF) is the specialist provider of risk finance to small and medium-sized enterprises across Europe, whose shareholders include the European Investment Bank and a spread of financial institutions, both public and private. Many multilateral development bodies have been slow to embrace technology – but the EIF legal team is rather different. In 2018 the in-house legal team launched a strategic digital initiative with a view to integrating new solutions into the business and setting up efficiencies within the EIF business function. In short, it aimed to instill a culture of legal innovation.
Based around two streams, the initiative consisted of a contractual automation project and a digital signature project in an environment in which policies and procurement rules make change exceptionally slow. But the legal team’s automation of flagship EIF documentation represented a genuine transformation, cutting draft-sharing time from weeks to a matter of hours, and reducing costs by up to 50 per cent. Secondly, the team pioneered an online collaborative process for its panel firms – another game-changer for service delivery.
The judges were impressed not only with the ferocious concentration on service delivery but also the high level of legal innovation displayed by the team on structured finance transactions and blockchain technology. They said: ‘The EIF is setting the benchmark for in-house ingenuity,’ and called it ‘a really sophisticated approach to service delivery.’
Highly commended: Uber
Uber’s 44-person EMEA legal team has played a crucial role in leading the business to occupy a more compliant, sustainable position across 40 countries, and has contributed enormously to the company’s rehabilitation among users, regulators and cities – which has included winning back its operating licence in London. Other key jurisdictions for the team have been Portugal, Finland, France, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland and Romania – and all this was done with an impressive decrease in external legal spend. The judges praised the Uber team’s imagination and savviness: ‘This is a team that leads from the front.’
Banco Santander - Spain
CBRE Global Investors
Siemens Gamesa, South Europe and Africa
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PLMJ is one of Portugal's largest and most senior law firm with 290 lawyers, including over 55 partners. With 50 years of history and experience, PLMJ stands out as a full-service firm that offers a high degree of specialisation gained from working across industries and countries.
The firm is recognised for its unparalleled quality in advising Portuguese, international and foreign investment clients on a wide range of matters. Through its solid network, PLMJ has established itself as a benchmark for legal services outside Portugal, thanks to its partnerships with local, independent firms in Angola, Mozambique, China, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, East Timor and Cape Verde.