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ESADE Alumni’s 2018 Aptíssimi Awards bring together more than 300 legal professionals

Juan Fernández-Armesto, in the category of career achievement, Professor Andrea Biondi, in the category of academic excellence, and the Banco Santander legal department were the winners of this year’s Aptíssimi Awards, organised by ESADE Alumni Law Club

‘Law is the art of avoiding disputes and, when they are inevitable, making sure they can be settled without violence’, said Juan Fernández-Armesto Fernández-España yesterday, summing up his professional motto. He delivered the remarks at the ceremony for the 11th edition of the Aptíssimi Awards, where he received the award for outstanding career achievement. The awards are given out each year by the ESADE Alumni Law Club. Yesterday’s ceremony brought together more than 300 renowned lawyers and legal professionals in Madrid. In addition to Fernández-Armesto, the judges also gave awards to Andrea Biondi, for his academic work, and the Banco Santander legal department, a team of more than 1,500 lawyers, which has embraced technological efficiency through automation and artificial intelligence.

For Biondi, Professor of European Union Law and Director of the Centre for European Law at King’s College London, the award signifies ‘clear recognition and support for European law, for those who practise it and those who study it’. According to Óscar García Maceiras, Head of Legal at Banco Santander, who accepted the award on the department’s behalf, the award is ‘an important boost to the efforts of a team spread across 13 time zones in 22 different countries’. ‘Our goal is to practise as lawyers, but also to contribute to the bottom line and support the bank in its digital transformation, even as we digitize ourselves’, he explained.

Recognition of digitisation and values

Information technology and its application to the legal field was the criterion followed by the judges appointed by the ESADE Alumni Law Club to determine the winners of the Aptíssimi Awards for contributions to the legal sector. These awards went to Thomson Reuters (for Contract Express), iManage and Luminance, for developing digital solutions for firms. In their acceptance speeches on behalf of their respective companies, Andy Wishart, Dan Carmel and Beatriz de los Mozos agreed on the need to digitise the work of legal professionals in a professional way in order to optimise time and resources.

‘Not only do we need to evolve, we must revolutionise the legal world’, said Maite Barrera, president of ESADE Alumni, in her closing remarks. For Barrera, ‘In a world changing as quickly as today’s, it is innovation and, especially, values that make the difference, particularly the values of transparency, honesty, selflessness and effort.’ ‘The Aptíssimi Awards aim to recognise these values above all. They are a seal of excellence, but also of responsibility’, she concluded.  

Second edition of the Insignis Alumni award

Since last year, the ESADE Alumni Law Club has also presented the Insignis Alumni award at the ceremony. Attendees of the ceremony vote on the winner from between two finalists previously selected by the judges for their professional excellence. This year’s finalists were Daniel Landaluce, Vice President of Tax at UiPath, and Meritxell Regué, senior appeals counsel at the International Criminal Court at The Hague for war crimes, crimes against humanity and social genocide. The award ultimately went to Regué. ‘Although my role is not based on business law, I accept this award as recognition of the work of the International Criminal Court, a body that is rooted in Nuremberg and that was created to last, but with the aspiration that one day it would have nothing to do’, she said.