Redefining the Role of the In-House Counsel: Lawyering to Make a Better World

Emilio Hernandez, Corporate solicitor , Iberdrola

As part of our vocation of service we, the in-house lawyers, have a duty to keep abreast of new legal challenges. Failing to do so in an ever volatile regulatory and economic environment would preclude us from providing the most effective support to our organisations in the achievement of their business objectives. However, this role of “legal companion” may fall short of what it is expected in these unprecedented times, with an increasingly global focus on sustainability, social justice, and governance. The time has come when in-house lawyers must take a quantum leap from “mere” legal aids and watchdogs to creative leaders to adequately address new challenges (such as the use of AI with ethics and emotional intelligence in mind). In-house lawyers must also engage in a myriad of actions in order for daily legal endeavours to be fully and consistently aligned with their organisations´ corporate ethics and ESG values. The purpose and scope of these initiatives will range from promoting DEI (Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion) and carbon footprint reduction goals to taking up pro bono projects to bring benefits to our communities. It is only by accepting this new reality and responsibilities, adjusting to them, and adequately reacting to them that in-house lawyers may contribute to a better world.

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Spain Management Energy June 2024 Vol.17, No. 67, Spring 2024

Emilio Hernandez

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Emilio Hernández. He has a Law Degree with First Class Honours and a Diploma in Legal Sciences from the University Pontificia of Comillas (ICADE). Admitted to the Bar Association of Madrid since 1994 under number 54,371 and as Solicitor of the Law Society of Scotland (ID 42281) in 2013. Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP-I) since March 2016. He has over 25 years of experience as corporate lawyer. He has assumed different senior legal & compliance roles and responsibilities within the Iberdrola Group over the last 20 years, where he is currently in charge of corporate and secretarial matters for some of the Group subsidiaries. Between 2010 and 2013 he worked in the UK in different legal roles, including the office of Legal Director of the Renewables and Offshore business. Prior to joining Iberdrola, he trained and practiced business, financial and corporate law over 9 years in two world class law firms in Madrid. He teaches Corporate Law and Compliance as an assistant professor in various LLMs in some of the top universities in Madrid (including Centro de Estudios Garrigues, the Complutense University and the International University of La Rioja -UniR-, a leading online university in Spain). He collaborates with several institutions with pro bono work, including inter alia projects coordinated by Fundacion Pro Bono and the mentoring program organized by the University Pontificia of Comillas (ICADE), providing guidance and inspiration to law students in their final university years. He speaks fluently Spanish, English, Portuguese, French and Japanese.

Iberdrola

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With more than 180 years of history, Iberdrola is today a global energy leader, the leading wind power producer and one of the largest electricity companies in the world in terms of stock market capitalisation.

Spain Management Energy June 2024 Vol.17, No. 67, Spring 2024

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