In the context of VdA's participation in the Advocatus Summit, in a panel entitled ‘The future of legal-labour advice’, the ECO newspaper published an article summarising the main conclusions of this panel presented by Américo de Oliveira Fragoso, Labour Partner, and composed by Inês Antas de Barros, Partner of Information, Communication & Technology, José Sintra Head of People Strategy and Luís Graça Rodrigues, head of legal da Indra.

The article entitled ‘What is the future of labour consultancy? ‘There is no magic recipe’, says VdA partner", sets out the main themes about the future of labour consultancy, highlighting some aspects highlighted by Américo de Oliveira Fragoso, namely “internal and external collaboration between areas of expertise and teams and the client itself; the intervention of other non-legal areas, such as Human Resources consultancy in the labour area; and a proactive and preventive stance by the lawyer”.

In the current context of the transformation of human resources and the changing role of people in organisations, this panel proposed a reflection on the impact of these changes on the future of legal and employment advice.

To this end, Inês Antas de Barros drew parallels between the area of Communications, Data Protection & Technology and labour consultancy, stating that ‘human resources management and the decisions made in terms of team composition, performance evaluation and efficiency assessment are based on data’. As such, ‘anything that involves evaluation projects, big data, data collection and processing (...) raises obvious challenges from a legal point of view, particularly when we're talking about personal data’. In addition, there are already ‘many solutions that include Artificial Intelligence (AI), from the moment of recruitment and this obviously also raises a number of questions from a legal point of view and, in particular, looking to the future of the European Artificial Intelligence Regulation’.

José Sintra also agreed that AI and the digital transformation are causing profound changes in the practice and processes of human resources management, resulting in a paradigm shift from ‘very administrative human resources to a more strategic position in the organisation’.

From this strategic perspective, José Sintra said that ‘the issue of sustainability within ESG is clearly on the table. Anything to do with diversity, inclusion and gender equality has been a topic that human resources is addressing and working on. It's a topic that clearly intersects with the labour area." This ‘crossover with the labour area is important because it often means making decisions about an uncertain field in which we don't know specifically if it's the right path and we need a radius of action to help us understand what the direction is.’

Américo de Oliveira Fragoso concluded that the matrix of labour law advice is made up of several essential aspects: internal and external collaboration, the intervention of areas of knowledge other than law, a proactive and preventive labour advice model, and a classic advice model that complements the current labour advice model.

The Advocatus Summit took place on 20 and 23 May at Estúdio ECO in Lisbon.

  • Watch the recording of this panel here.