Portugal’s largest retailer, Jerónimo Martins, had three lawyers in 1999, when its current Head of Legal, António Alves, joined. In the decade that followed, he has built the department significantly. He currently has two lawyers reporting to him directly at the Group holding level “and 10 more reporting functionally in Portugal, at operational level, and he coordinates with colleagues in Poland on every major operation.” The quote and facts come from the Iberian Lawyer, Sept./Oct. 2009 at 26.
Once again, the international commonality of legal department concerns proves true. Here is a $10 billion plus company, with more than 53,000 employees, that has made management decisions about decentralized reporting of in-house lawyers, grown headcount as the business has grown, spread internationally, and undoubtedly uses external counsel to supplement its internal staff. This blog may be US-centric but the world of law department management extends everywhere.