Hyundai Engineering & Construction was recognised at the In-House Counsels of the Year awards for its innovative, inter-disciplinary approach to solving legal challenges. Unable to collect the Team Collaboration award on the night, Pinsent Masons’ partner Vincent Connor picked up the award on their behalf at the Hong Kong ceremony (which was supported by VARIO from Pinsent Masons) on May 30, and formally presented it to the team in Seoul last week.
The company’s international legal affairs team focuses on contract negotiation and dispute management. Comprising 25 members with both legal and engineering backgrounds, it has been regarded as something of an experiment since its birth eight years ago. The goal was that an interdisciplinary team would be able to overcome a traditional weakness common in highly technical businesses — the gulf of knowledge and understanding between legal professionals and the people involved on the commercial side of the business.
The experiment has been a success, not only in managing disputes, but also bringing value to the organisation. Members of the team won both employee of the year and best lecturer in 2018.
In addition to the performance of its traditional work on cross-border disputes and tender reviews, the team has also been busy on dispute prevention work. Specifically, the team has undertaken the role of educating the site and business teams of core legal issues through education sessions dealing with legal topics.
The team also encourages its members to learn from the experience of other team members, periodically gathering and sharing their recent experiences and lessons learned so that other team members may learn. In 2018, this tradition was extended to a company-wide practice.