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Canto e Castro: “You have to show clients the true risks for each situation”
Head of Legal and Human Resources for Randstad, Mariana do Canto e Castro, shares the challenges of data protection for international companies and the role of legal in company strategy and the need to transform legal concepts into the working reality.
Mariana do Canto e Castro x Leaders League
Mariana do Canto e Castro x Leaders League
LL: How does your team address the challenge of complying with data protection regulations while remaining attractive for prospective clients?
Data protection can really be a challenge especially for multinational companies that work with clients all over the world, including countries where GDPR isn't mandatory. Even in Europe it is sometimes difficult to get the message across. In my opinion you have to show clients the true risks for each situation, so they have a real-life perspective on what the consequence can be in their specific situation. It is necessary to show them the general risks, amount of fines, privacy concepts, etc. There needs to be more than just offering the security theories. We need to do our homework, analyze the client in depth and being able to explain clearly the potential problems that my occur within that reality.
LL: How do you see the evolution of the role of legal departments in companies?
Legal departments have become valuable business partners. If we are brought into the negotiation early on, we can add a lot more value from the onset. Normally our networks are wide and we have contacts on the other side, which can be beneficial. If companies only use legal departments when there is a problem, they are missing the advantages. Involving us on a negotiation that has gone wrong or that involves non-legal or junior professionals on the other side is like signing a pre-failure note. When the problem has already occurred, the challenges are increased for the legal department and often becomes the ideal scapegoat to justify the problem. Including legal as part of the strategy is a mindset that has to be built or rebuilt within each company.
LL: What do you look for in outside counsel?
We look for the same qualities in outside counsel as we do for in-house lawyers. Deep knowledge of the law from a practical perspective is essential. Theories and concepts are the basis of what we do but knowing how they transform and become reality is really the core strength. The understanding that companies are not courts of law or debate arenas for legal concepts and the focus on business life are a must. We all dream of ideal legal structures, but the day-to-day life is different and we need to know how to adapt and move forward within the legal framework. Most times society and business help shape and update the law from a positive evolutionary one. The secret ingredient for great outside counsel is the expertise of the legal specialization that we are consulting.
LL: What is the “Step into my Shoes” program that Randstad has started?
We have developed a new program for managers in the legal department, human resources, quality and social impact areas. I would love to expand it to all levels of the company and all departments. It is common that we all tend to think we know what our colleagues are doing. We think we can evaluate their workload, their challenges, their scheduling issues, all the demands and requests, and the general nature of their work. However, the truth is that we can only really guess what someone else is going through. Spending the day being someone else is a truly different situation. If you have to shadow a person, be by their side every single moment of the day, being asked to turn your entire schedule upside down by means of a single call, chat or email, having to improvise or change the rest of your daily agenda, meeting face to face the same people, challenges and difficulties as someone brings a new light into the subject. From that moment onwards, you have experienced it firsthand. You have felt the same feelings and emotions and gone through the same turmoil. You know the job from the inside and you know what it feels like. That's a 360 perspective that you only get when you are inside the situation. We believe this gives you the kind of compassion and empathy that is necessary among colleagues.
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