Law firm Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría (PPU) has incorporated three new partners and three other area directors at a regional level.
Flexible workspaces must have innovative technologies that help members manage their business
Daniela Buscaglia, head of regional legal affairs Latam at WeWork, tells us about the coworking space company’s latest services, which include consulting on hybrid and flexiwork models, and the importance of including innovative technologies in workspaces.
What lessons you have learned at WeWork over the past four years?
I consider it essential to understand the company, its structure and business. Being able to engage with internal non-lawyer clients, as well as getting to know their interests, needs and objectives that evolve over time and geographically, is a continuous learning experience. Having an all-encompassing vision of the business has allowed me to evaluate risks from a commercial perspective, thus contributing to the value and growth of WeWork LatAm.
It has also been extremely important to familiarize myself with the different leadership styles of this multinational company (highlighting in particular the participation and empowerment of women), with the promotion of several skills that are not highly prized in traditional private practice, as well as working, coordinating and remotely interacting with the team, not only at WeWork LatAm, but also at global level. This has only enriched my experience within the organization, and I recognize that there are spaces and opportunities for development where I can participate and contribute.
Another lesson I learnt is how to adjust professional performance to the dynamism of WeWork, enhancing and valuing skills such as resilience. Having the ability to perform professionally while being available to adapt and apply criteria and standards considering and facing the practical reality of any new circumstance, is undoubtedly an essential tool in the global, interconnected world in which we live. I have had to deal with frustration and uncertainty, think out of the box and be creative, proactive and efficient in finding solutions and making effective decisions.
Today I value myself as an advisor not only from a legal perspective. Having an overview of the company’s business objectives and being involved in defining strategies and making decisions that go beyond the strictly legal, is undoubtedly rewarding. My time at WeWork has been full of challenges and changes, which have certainly contributed to my professional and personal growth.
How does the legal area of the company work?
WeWork Latam’s legal team is composed of more than a dozen lawyers and is headed by the chief legal & corporate development officer who is based in Argentina. The legal division is structured into local teams, which focus on providing continuous legal advice related to day-to-day operations in each of the three markets in the region (Brazil, Mexico and Central and South America), the compliance & data privacy team and, finally, the team that I am fortunate to lead: regional legal affairs.
The latter focuses on legal advice regarding (i) real estate deals in the region, (ii) regional corporate governance, and (iii) regional projects, initiatives and commercial negotiations.
We Work strongly supports the Hub and Spoke model
What is your strategy in terms of litigation and dispute resolution?
Certainly, when any conflict or controversy arises with our counterparties, the approach we take is 100% business oriented with a view to maintaining sustainable commercial and contractual relationships over time. This means that, as WeWork LatAm’s legal arm, we are business partners and are always available to provide the highest levels of support to the various areas of the company in order to resolve any issue early and expeditiously, mitigate its impact, explore innovative alternatives, dialogue and achieve solutions that are timely, satisfactory, and efficient in economic and time terms for all parties involved.
Notwithstanding the above, in complex situations and when it is impossible to find common ground, our internal policy is to always examine and exercise all options for legal remedies and actions available in the different jurisdictions in which we are located, as well as those established in our current contracts.
Do you usually refer litigation to external legal counsel?
During WeWork’s five years in Latin America, the company has relied on the expert advice of a qualified outside legal team present throughout the region to whom, in general terms, we turn for litigation matters. Having an objective point of view, analysis and recommendations issued by expert lawyers in particular areas, has been a significant advantage not only for meeting short-term goals and/or solving day-to-day issues, but also for planning, structuring and building a solid future, with legal backing, in the long term.
The internal legal team, in the corresponding jurisdiction, is in charge (as we are the ones who best know the policy, strategy and expectations of WeWork LatAm) of recruiting external firms, carrying out the assignments, leading and supervising the management and execution of these, all of this in an environment of permanent collaboration and perfect coordination.
Having an overview of the company’s business objectives and being involved in defining strategies is undoubtedly rewarding
How was the post pandemic recovery?
The pandemic affected different sectors and the office market was no stranger to this, due to restrictions placed on mobility. This situation also produced changes in the world of work to where we see employers and companies aspiring to a hybrid model.
During this contingency, WeWork LatAm migrated its service offering from the traditional real-estate sector to real estate as a service, a burgeoning industry in which we are currently leaders, acting as consultants for those companies that do not know or are not clear on how they can implement flexible work models for their companies’ operations.
2020 was a year in which, although our business was ready a decade ago to face the labor changes we are currently experiencing worldwide, we also had to adapt to understand how to protect the health of our members; how to protect our spaces; how to change the work dynamics of both our company and the companies and individuals that occupy our buildings, among others. In 2021 we began to welcome more people and companies back into our buildings, which led us to develop a comprehensive consulting program on the application of hybrid and flexible work models. The year which has just ended, allowed us to stabilize again, returning to normality and prepare for a 2023 that will come with much innovation, growth and expansion for WeWork.
What projects do you have in the pipeline for Latam in the short-term?
We see an encouraging outlook for the future, and realize all types of organizations are interested in the solutions we provide. On the other hand, these days companies increasingly aspire to the hybrid model, where digitalization plays a central role. Digital transformation is having a significant influence on current working models and, in this context, flexible workspaces must have innovative technologies that help members to manage their business in a seamless way.
For example the Hub and Spoke model with which some companies are rethinking their physical locations (facilitating a distributed workforce and so reducing the need to travel, but in a way that preserves connection and company culture), has been a model we have strongly supported via our All Access offer, which is a membership scheme that gives companies the opportunity to offer their employees a workspace in any of WeWork’s more than 770 locations around the world, with the objective of allowing employees to work from the location closest to their homes or most appropriate one for their current circumstance, when and where they need it.
In addition to this, in the coming months WeWork LatAm will be launching a new solution regionally in order to reach more locations on the continent with our offer, reaffirming our leadership as a global platform for flexible workspaces.
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