Rubén Agote is the co-head of the employment and labour practice at Cuatrecasas, and a specialist in advising national and international clients on all related matters, including corporate policies, collective bargaining, and restructuring.
He represents companies in court, and in arbitration and mediation proceedings, concerning all types of employment and labor law disputes. He also advises clients on the impact of disruptive technologies in the workplace, as well as advising clients in the sports and entertainment industry.
Recommended by Chambers Europe, The Legal 500, Best Lawyers, and Who’s Who Legal, he lectures on employment and labour law in ESADE Law School where he also coordinates the track “Technology and Law”. He lectures on Technology and Law in The Judicial College and is a member of the Editorial Board in Iuslabor (Pompeu Fabra University).
What has been the biggest change in the practice of employment law during your career?
The practice of employment law has changed constantly since I started my career over 25 years ago, and that is not going to stop.
Together with globalisation – which has involved the internationalisation of companies and employment lawyers – the greatest change I have noticed comes from the so-called disruptive technologies, which have changed the way of providing services and the very concept of company and employee.
I also appreciate the fact that employment issues are increasingly important from a corporate organisational perspective. This situation will continue under the guidance of the ESG principles promoted by the United Nations.
Finally, the widespread implementation of teleworking brought about by covid-19 has opened up a very interesting future for us to advise companies on new organisational methods.
What do you do find the most interesting or enjoyable aspects of your area of expertise?
I would highlight two aspects: (i) it is a legal regime that is constantly changing and adapting, and that always poses challenges, and (ii) it is a branch of law that centers around human aspects and that is enthralling.
Who has inspired you in your career and why?
Apart from always learning from my personal circle of family and friends, and certain philosophers and public figures, my greatest inspiration has come from my colleagues at work.
The enthusiasm of juniors, the way lawyers grow, my partners’ perseverance and vision has been and is a constant source of inspiration and admiration.
What have been your greatest achievements, in both a professional and personal capability, to date?
I think my greatest professional achievement has been to gain the trust of my firm, partners and associates to co-lead the Cuatrecasas labour and employment practice.
On the vocational front, I am also very grateful for the trust that has been placed in me by the Judicial College (Ministry of Justice) and ESADE Law School to be able to carry out teaching work with judges and law students, as well as Iuslabor with my editorial advice.
On the personal side, I am very happy with my family, my friends, being involved with the wonderful project of the classical theater company delabarca, and being able to continue to enjoy surfing.
What piece of work has stuck with you throughout your career and why?
I’m sorry, I can’t highlight just one. Every case teaches you something, and stays with you.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Work is one of the instruments in the orchestra of your life.
What do you think in-house employment counsel value most from their external legal providers?
Our commitment to their mission and our permanent proximity to help them solve the increasingly complex problems they have to address.
What do you view as the biggest challenge facing multinational employers in the medium- to long-term?
Constant technological progress, which entails many permanent changes in the way that employees in different countries provide services, and which they must develop in fragmented regulatory frameworks, while respecting the increasingly demanding ESG regulations.