The crisis meant lawyers and clients perhaps saw a chance to
make money by suing Quirónsalud, says the company's
in-house lawyer Isaac Millán
Quirónsalud, Spain's largest private healthcare
provider with more than 70 medical centres across the country, has
to deal with a considerable amount of contentious matters and
consequently, the company maintains a close relationship with a
number of law firms. Isaac Millán, the company's
in-house legal adviser, says that a significant proportion of
litigation, though not all of it, is passed to external
He adds that time constraints, as well as the need for
specialist support are the main reasons why contentious work is
often handed to law firms. "We have seven in-house lawyers but
always outsource litigation, or at least 75 per cent of it,"
he says. "We outsource litigation because of the amount of
time such cases require and because we rely heavily on the
expertise and experience of external law firms."
Help needed in court
However, the company's in-house lawyers do have some input
into the matters that are outsourced, says Millán.
Preliminary legal work prior to a court case is done by
Quirónsalud's legal team, but then external lawyers
often take over, he explains. "Although we carry out the
preparation in-house, attending court and disputing cases is when
we need to use external law firms," Millán says. He
adds that the company faces between 80 and 90 litigation cases a
year, often brought by unsatisfied patients, and he points out that
this is normal for a company with a significant number of customers
and a large turnover. "That is why it is good to be able to
trust an external lawyer, particularly when the law firm is local
to the area in which the case is being processed,"
Millán says. Last year the company won 92 per cent of the
litigation cases brought against it, he adds.
The type of external law firm that Quirónsalud instructs
depends on the nature of the work. Millán explains: "We
use some firms for litigation, others for commercial affairs, such
as due diligence for M&A operations, so the use of the firm
depends on the needs we have, such as banking or international
issues." He adds that the criteria for choosing a law firm
depends on the case in question. "We tend to use large, local
law firms that have a physical presence in the location of the
case," Millán explains. "For us it is important
that the law firm has an office where the litigation will take
place," he says. "While in banking matters it is more of
a case of good relationships with the law firm, whereas in an
M&A deal, for example, we focus on the law firms that we have
worked with before, which give us confidence, and those that have a
long-term relationship with us as it is unlikely that we would
change law firms for such an acquisition."
Rise in lawsuits
Millán says that "unfortunately, one of the negative
effects of the economic crisis in Spain is that the company
suffered an increase in the number of lawsuits brought against
it". He continues: "Maybe some lawyers and clients
perceive a possible income opportunity," he adds. "If we
have made a mistake we will recognise that, as many companies
would." Millán continues: "If we are within reason
then a lawyer will prove us right."
When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, Millán
says the company tends to use the same law firms.
Quirónsalud is currently pursuing an expansionist strategy,
having completed eight M&A transactions in 2015. "Once you
have made an acquisition and lawyers know how you work and what you
want, it is simpler to use the same lawyer for subsequent
transactions," he adds. Quirónsalud's preferred law
firms are Herbert Smith Freehills, Lener and DLA Piper. "They
know us very well and know how we do things here,"
In terms of regulatory changes that have affected
Quirónsalud's day-to-day operations, Millán says
that corporate compliance is becoming a much more important issue
in Spain – this means the company is obliged to adopt new
practices in order to become more transparent. He adds:
"Issues such as corporate governance are bringing the company
under scrutiny and this causes changes to our day-to-day operations
– we have completely changed the way we work over the last
six years and that requires collaboration with
Isaac Millán is in-house legal adviser at
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