Beatriz Saura is the only woman competing as a candidate for ICAM dean, which will be voted in December. Although her programme, like those of the other candidates, is not known in detail because it is still being drawn up, Beatriz -managing partner at Saura Legal- acknowledges that she is driven by “the desire to change the current model and to work together to achieve a strong ICAM, but at the same time close, representing and supporting all lawyers regardless of their personal situation or their professional situation”. Legal Dealmaker spoke with her to find out more about her project for change.
What reason(s) encouraged you to present a candidacy, and why now and not before?
There is currently this general feeling among my colleagues that there is a lack of activity, support and services from the Madrid Bar Association. In fact, many have told me that they only remain registered because it is compulsory in order to be able to practice.
There is an unbridgeable gap between the Bar Association and its members. And this means that the strength and valuable potential that would come from the union, collaboration and support of the Madrid lawyers in the management of our daily professional activity is being wasted.
In what basic aspects does your programme differ from the other candidates?
Although the other candidates´ programmes are not yet known, not even mine, which we are in the process of outlining, my proposal has something very different with respect to other candidates who are running since most of them come from the dismemberment of the candidacy of the current dean, José María Alonso, which implies that they are candidates aligned with the current ICAM project, which in my opinion is an outdated model, which must be urgently updated.
Our programme is not closed because we are still gathering suggestions to be incorporated so that our management proposal includes all the concerns of the legal profession. In fact, if there is one thing that is fundamental in our project, it is to achieve an agile connection with the lawyers. For this reason, we believe it that technifying and digitalising the institution and facilitating permanent communication with all lawyers is urgent and a priority, not only for elections. For this reason, the technological update of the Bar Association is one of the first tasks we want to carry out.
Another important change that we consider necessary is managing the ICAM more efficiently, and therefore each Member will be a Councillor for a specific management area -Civil, Criminal, Labour, Corporate law, in-court representation, social commitment… -.
In this way, all lawyers will be able to know what organisational areas there are in ICAM and who is responsible for each of them, modifying the current model, in which on the corporate website, the Deputies are listed with their names, but we cannot know if all or some of them have specific functions attributed to them.
You speak very clearly, but there are those who think that “continuity” is a euphemism so as not to offend anyone.
I understand continuity as continuing to do what has already been done, as “the same old story”, so it is neither a positive nor a negative concept itself. Continuity depends on how things have been done -or not done-. I do not think it is necessary to offend anyone, nor do I expect anyone to be offended when I say that, for the time being, some of the colleagues who are leading candidates who appear to be running in the elections are or have been, part of the current ICAM Board, and we already know the type of cBar Association we have. Is it the one we want? Well, if the answer is no, we will have to change the project. A phrase attributed to Einstein says that if you want different results, don’t keep doing the same thing.
In fact, I would be delighted if, in five years’ time the Madrid Bar Association wanted a continuation of the project I am presenting now, together with an exceptional team of professionals, because we have achieved the improvements that ICAM and the Madrid lawyers deserve.
How do you think you can reach that large percentage of lawyers who do not participate in the normal life of ICAM?
We are going to reach them with the enthusiasm transmitted by our proposal to change the current model and to work together to achieve a strong ICAM, but at the same time close to them, representing and supporting all lawyers regardless of their personal situation or their professional situation.
And we ask them to support our candidacy with their vote because we are counting on them to achieve an ICAM for all.
Which of the measures you plan to put into practice do you think will be most attractive to the younger members of ICAM, and which to the older ones?
We want to support young people and veterans so that they can develop their activities effectively, offering them, for example, services that help them to create change, join law firms, or the most innovative initiatives, such as the development of start-ups, without forgetting other important areas, such as offering excellent training, or the indispensable institutional support from the Bar Association in the face of attacks or disrespect that they may suffer in the exercise of their profession, which is sorely lacking among colleagues today.
In short, we want the project not to be limited to a static programme but to move forward and remain valid over time and meet the needs of the legal profession at all times. For this reason, our team includes both young and senior professionals.
What is your opinion of José María Alonso, current dean of the Madrid Bar Association, being appointed (he takes office on 14 October) as the new president of the International Arbitration Centre?
Those who form part of this institution and have decision-making capacity have considered him to be the most suitable person to carry out this function, and I congratulate him on this new responsibility and wish him luck in his work.
As a Compliance expert and a PhD in Law, do you believe that this specialisation can help to reinforce the credibility and usefulness of the institution?
I believe that compliance brings significant value to all organisations. And therefore, the fact that ICAM acts following the highest ethical and compliance standards and with absolute transparency is an example and favours the dissemination and generalisation of the culture of compliance.
In fact, I think it is so important that I have invited other professionals who are experts in different areas of compliance to be part of my candidacy.
In other interviews, you stated that your candidacy is running without a specific marketing budget and that you are financing the campaign with your own resources. How would you respond to anyone who thinks that you are at a disadvantage in this respect? Is your team your greatest strength?
I don’t think we are at a disadvantage, despite the large budgets that other candidates may have, for two reasons: Because the lawyers are intelligent, contrary to what other candidates seem to think. And secondly, the strength of my team does not lie in spending money on big events nor in inviting people to lunches for electioneering and vote-catching purposes. Our strength lies in the principles that inspire us; equality, enthusiasm, the desire to improve and in the personal and professional worth of all those who form part of the candidacy and of the colleagues who, like us, believe in the Madrid Bar and who support us because they believe that it is urgent to change the model of representation we have.
Sum up your programme in one sentence.
We count on you; count on us.