Business & Innovation- June 25, 2021
Delivering solutions across the globe: How working in the Delivery Hero legal team is different from a traditional law firm
At Delivery Hero, one of our values is “Delivering Solutions.” Whether it has to do with driving the next generation of e-commerce with successfully launching and running of our Dmarts across the globe, the integration of new business entities or our continued expansion into new markets, every one of these actions usually comes with associated risks, and it is part of our in-house legal team’s responsibility to flag those risks and find the best legal solutions, that enable the execution of the decisions taken by management.
Ever wondered what it is like to be an in-house counsel in a DAX-listed company?
Our colleagues: Jessica Winge Mengler (Corporate and M&A Law); Michael Schubert (Commercial Law); Alicia De Bruyn (Antitrust Law) and Maryam Karchani (Legal Logistics), took the time to share from their experiences of working in the legal field at Delivery Hero.
Could you introduce yourselves and your teams?
“I decided I wanted to live in Germany and in Delivery Hero I found an excellent opportunity to keep doing what I am passionate about: being a corporate lawyer with the challenge of transitioning from an external lawyer to an in-house counsel.” – Jessica
Maryam: I am from Barcelona, Spain, and part of the Legal Logistics team which is comprised of lawyers who are passionate about riders. Riders are the face of the Delivery Hero brands, the human engine of our delivery services, and it is the primary responsibility of my team to help our organization shape sustainable relationships with them.
Jessica: I joined Delivery Hero in the middle of the sale of the German business in December of 2018. Before that point in time, I was a lawyer in Brazil working in several cross-border transactions and assisting international clients. During this period, I was able to work very closely with a German partner in my previous law firm, which allowed me to embark on secondment in Germany for a prominent Tier 1 law firm in 2016 before l eventually joined Delivery Hero. My team is responsible for M&A (acquisition of companies, joint ventures, investments, divestments) and corporate (from corporate maintenance, funding, incorporation of new companies, and more complex restructurings), and I have had the opportunity to work together with other legal departments not only in cross-functional projects, supporting in litigation, compliance, and antitrust, but also with training our more junior team members.
Alicia: I am originally from Belgium, but was living and working in London before moving to Berlin to join Delivery Hero. Within the Delivery Hero legal team, I am part of the Legal Commercial Regulatory sub-team, focusing on Antitrust & Competition law. When I joined the organization in November 2019, there were less than 10 of us in the Legal Commercial Regulatory sub-team, and now I think we are about 40 in that sub-team. There are about three broad aspects of my work: merger control and antitrust aspects of M&A transactions, advising local teams in relation to compliance with antitrust laws in our day-to-day operations, and finally rolling out training sessions and raising awareness on antitrust compliance.
Michael: I am from Germany and work in Delivery Hero’s Legal Commercial Operational sub-team. We advise on all legal and regulatory issues related to our operations in our existing markets, the launch of new businesses such as our own Dmarts (delivery-only supermarkets) and Kitchens (delivery-only restaurants), as well as our expansion into new markets such as the ongoing launch of our operations in Germany. Furthermore, we are in charge of drafting and negotiating commercial agreements for our sales and procurement functions.
In what way is being an in-house counsel at Delivery Hero different from working in a traditional law firm?
“The difference is that as we always work closely with our business teams, management, and other stakeholders, we are directly involved in each project from start to finish which I think for a lawyer in a law firm is atypical.” – Michael
Alicia: Depending on the kind of law firm you came from, the atmosphere can be very different. Coming from a rather traditional London law firm, the atmosphere at Delivery Hero is much more relaxed, less hierarchical and sometimes a bit more chaotic! As an in-house lawyer, you tend to have more responsibility. The business comes to you with questions, and you need to provide clear, business-orientated advice, which you should be able to justify and explain if necessary. In a law firm you would typically ship off your memo and have no idea what the company ends up doing with it, whereas in-house, you can directly see the business acting on advice you have given.
Jessica: At Delivery Hero, I would say that we are very hands-on. Yes, we do have situations where external law firms are involved in supporting local law-specific matters, but being an in-house counsel brings you much closer to the businesses. As an in-house counsel, you are not just a generalist or executing deals, but able to work in the background with the knowledge of what the business wants, as well as getting involved in all legal matters to influence the decision making processes.
How would you describe the culture of collaboration across the organization and its entities?
“In the morning you may work on a project in Asia, in the noon review a contract for the Middle East, and in the evening join a video conference for our Latin American businesses.” – Michael
Maryam: The culture of collaboration at Delivery Hero is really great. We are constantly working very closely with our local business and legal teams when identifying and implementing legal requirements for the operations of our online platforms, the launch of our new business models, or when entering a new market. Particularly for my team, our main stakeholders are the legal and logistics teams of Delivery Hero subsidiaries across the world. And even though most of us have been working remotely for some time now, everyone is always eager to find the time to listen and help.
Alicia: Yes, and I would add that we speak to the local legal teams a lot as they are the ones managing the day-to-day legal operations in the countries. Often the local teams are quite small, and they of course cannot be specialists in every area. For example, they can’t be specialists in employment law, tax law, antitrust law… So, when an antitrust-related question comes up, they usually loop us in, and we can provide guidance and help them get the answers they need.
What do you like about working at Delivery Hero?
“Everyone at Delivery Hero is super motivated, very smart, and has a “get it done” attitude. For me, this makes Delivery Hero a great place to work.” – Alicia
Jessica: The people. I love how international our teams are and how the mix of countries and backgrounds really makes the company achieve incredible things. For me, it’s really the dynamic environment that Delivery Hero offers and that I am constantly able to learn from everyone I am working with.
Michael: I like that every day at Delivery Hero brings a new challenge, as our business teams come up with new and complex initiatives that require our immediate attention on a regular basis. This allows us to grow, or to “Always Aim Higher”, as one of our values in Delivery Hero suggests. In addition, I enjoy the diversity of Delivery Hero. For example, just in our headquarters in Berlin, we have over 100 nationalities, and within the central legal team, we have members from all over the world which is atypical for a legal department of a German-based company.
What have you and your teams achieved in the last months that you’re particularly proud of?
“The company has been growing a lot, and we are also growing with it – new team members are joining, and we have been expanding into new markets and verticals. For example, in LATAM since last year, we entered more than seven new markets, and in the same region, we had two recent acquisitions that completely changed our footprint.” – Jessica
Michael: Here I would really like to talk about the launch of our Dmart businesses within the past 1.5 years. Especially during the time of Corona lockdowns and curfews, there was a strong request to launch the business model in almost 40 of our markets in a very challenging timeframe, which required the whole team to prioritize this project to ensure a swift – and yet legally compliant – launch.
Maryam: I would also add that our team had to look into the rider operations of some of Delivery Hero markets and propose changes to reduce legal risks significantly. Along the line, we also realized that we needed to be speaking the same language as our stakeholders to have tangible solutions, so when we detected that there was a ‘gap’ of knowledge, we launched a training program to explain to all the Delivery Hero community what we mean when we talk about logistic risks. We are super proud to see that the training program has been well received and proven to be effective!
As your team is growing, what kind of talent are you looking for?
“We look for outside-the-box thinkers! Delivery Hero is a company that is shaping the future of work and we need people that are passionate about it!” – Maryam
Jessica: I would say people who are passionate about what they do, business-oriented, team players who like to work in a dynamic environment and be challenged every day with something new. I also think having excellent time management skills with the ability to adapt quickly is essential as well.
Michael: As our group is exploring more and more operations in retailing and real estate, we are interested in finding talent who have expertise in these areas. Due to our involvement in larger projects, experience in project management is also an asset.
Alicia: We don’t only look for people who have good legal knowledge, but also people that will fit in the Delivery Hero environment; someone who is super motivated, can work under pressure and has the confidence to stand up for the advice that they provide.