Features

Alexandre Neves – Emerson 

Using tech savvy in a leading legal role 

Alexandre Neves, the head of legal for Emerson in Brazil, is a unique blend of legal expertise and technological prowess. With a strong background in IT, Neves leverages his technology skills to tackle legal challenges and streamline processes within the legal department. 

Alexandre Neves | Head of Legal, Brazil | Emerson 

Alexandre Neves | Head of Legal, Brazil | Emerson

Emerson is a Fortune 500 company that manufactures products and provides engineering services for industrial, commercial and consumer markets. It has approximately 74,000 employees and 130 manufacturing locations, including the Sorocaba and São Paulo facilities.  

In his role, Neves harnesses his deep understanding of technology to develop solutions that simplify the day-to-day operations of the legal department. By collaborating closely with system developers, he ensures that the department operates in a fluid, fast, organized and auditable manner. Neves also customizes software to meet the business’s specific needs, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness. 

“My day-to-day work consists of serving my internal and external clients quickly and efficiently, reviewing contracts, managing external partners and my remote team, and answering various internal day-to-day queries,” Neves says. 

The role of technology 

In the legal department, technology plays a crucial role. Neves and his team utilize management and operation software encompassing various tools and features. These include search engines linked to courts, deadline management tools, financial management tools, and external law firm management. A negotiation environment and contract management system with robust traceability and effective communication are particularly important. Neves has worked closely with software developers to customize these tools to align with the needs of the department and the company. 

Alexandre Neves | Head of Legal, Brazil | Emerson 

Looking ahead to 2024, Neves has several significant projects in mind. One of his key goals is to integrate the contract negotiation environment with a global Contract Lifecycle Management system. This integration aims to enhance visibility for the department and the business globally. Neves also aims to obtain the Legal Department 4.0 seal, showcasing the department’s orientation towards technology and expertise in serving internal and external clients. Additionally, he plans to work on a zero-litigation program for the company and develop a tool to assist him in daily corporate matters. 

“Currently, I have been studying how AI can help me in the day-to-day running of the department, for example, placing automatic response models for the department and understanding standard documents, especially in the additive flow. It’s still a dream that we are studying,” Neves adds.  

Recruitment and retention of top talent pose challenges for Neves as the team grows. In light of the global trend towards working with lean teams, the legal department is structured to operate efficiently and achieve its goals. Neves understands the importance of hiring and retaining the best talent to ensure the department’s success and continuously works on strategies to address this challenge. 

Alexandre Neves | Head of Legal, Brazil | Emerson 

“Recruiting and retaining great talent is essential for continued good service provision. However, I see a big movement for legal departments to become leaner, and with that, we must get closer to technology to continue being efficient,” Neves explains.  

Despite his achievements, Neves says he faces his fair share of challenges. The sheer number of daily meetings and calls is a considerable hurdle, considering the lean structure of the department. The COVID-19 pandemic intensified this issue, with the need for virtual communication leading to an influx of calls that could be resolved more efficiently. The time-consuming nature of these calls sometimes hampers the development of operational activities, causing the department’s service level agreements to fall below expectations occasionally. 

Business and law 

Neves’ interest in law stems from a family background in the legal profession. Although his vocational tests pointed towards exact sciences, he pursued a degree in engineering. After that, he started working in IT, mainly in telecommunications. During his career in IT, he decided to explore law out of curiosity and to complement his career.  

Neves fell in love with the subject, eventually transitioning to corporate law. His initial plan was to join the police or investigation departments. Still, his exposure to contract and business law fueled his dream of becoming an in-house corporate lawyer, leading him down this fulfilling path. 

After earning a law degree from Universidade Paulista, Neves earned a postgraduate degree in Corporate Law and Compliance, a postgraduate degree in labor law and an MBA in technology management and entrepreneurship, and the last one, a Certification as a DPO by IAPP. He spent five years in the legal department for Vertiv—he left as senior lawyer and head of legal in January 2023 and joined Emerson that same month.  

Alexandre Neves | Head of Legal, Brazil | Emerson 

“I have always tried to keep my studies aligned with technology and business, even while studying areas of law. I finished my law degree with a job focused on contracts and digital signatures, which a few years later became extremely necessary in the world,” Neves says.  

Transitioning from IT to corporate law was Neves’ biggest challenge in his career. Leaving behind 11 years of experience in technology and data center products, he embraced the opportunity to become a paralegal in a recently acquired multinational company. With no prior experience in law, he faced difficulties fitting in, especially during the early years, where he had a lot of support from Vinicius Machado (Vertiv), his first manager in the legal area, who saw Alexandre’s potential to become a good In-house counsel in the future. However, Neves persevered, honed his skills, and overcame the obstacles.  

“Today, I continue to strive for greater achievements in my career,” he says.  

Beyond his professional achievements, Neves has a rich personal life. He is married and a proud father to three cats and a turtle. His interests extend beyond technology and law—he is passionate about music, particularly playing the electric guitar. Neves also enjoys physical activities such as tennis and CrossFit. In his leisure time, he loves cooking and grilling burgers, and his favorite hobby is playing World of Warcraft or some other MMORPG with friends and traveling with his family. 

View this feature in the Vanguard Spring I 2024 Edition here.

Published on: March 13, 2024

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