Hugo López Coll from Sainz Abogados is approbated for “his broad range of experience in investigations and compliance”.
Hugo advises clients, both in regulated and non-regulated industries, on regulatory and compliance matters with several Mexican laws, and regularly assists clients with issues arising under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the UK Bribery Act, the OECD Convention and the UN Convention Against Corruption and other local applicable anticorruption laws.
Hugo leads a premier team of lawyers with experience in local anticorruption law, including the laws of the so-called “National Anti-Corruption System”, data privacy laws, money laundering laws, sanctions laws and other compliance-related laws. Hugo´s experience also includes conducting internal investigations (frequently multi-jurisdictional), risk and compliance assessments and program implementation efforts.
Looking back over your career, what is the most interesting case you have been a part of and why?
I was one of the leading compliance advisors for a Fortune 10 company in its anti-corruption compliance efforts worldwide while facing an investigation from the DOJ and the SEC. The company has presence in Africa, Europe, Asia, Mexico, Central America, Latin America, India and China.
What do you enjoy most about role as a compliance and investigations specialist?
Providing practical solutions to difficult scenarios. Most of the times, the cases we are retained for are those that keep a general counsel up at night. We need to stay on our toes, work as a team, and bring subject matter experts whenever it is required.
What is the greatest challenge posed to lawyers conducting internal investigations today?
Currently a challenge is dealing with the use of unmonitored personal devices and encrypted communications. Similarly, navigating conflicting laws due to different standards and case law in different jurisdictions.
What makes Sainz Abogados stand out from its competitors in the market?
Sainz Abogados’ investigations and regulatory compliance practice advises and defends the world’s leading companies, their boards of directors and senior executives in internal investigations for various reasons, such as internal fraud, conflict of interest, market manipulation, white-collar crimes, insider trading, as well as in matters where they have proceedings, or possibly will have proceedings, before various regulators and authorities in Mexico and abroad.
The practice has an unmatched record in achieving declinations of investigations, securing non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements, and most importantly winning in the court rooms.
How do you establish a detailed understanding of a client’s business to advise them effectively?
We do our homework. First, we familiarise ourselves with our client´s industry. Then, we collect data through questionnaires and conversations with key contacts. Thereafter, we work very closely with the client to understand its problems and expectations and agree on the full scope of an assignment and a course of action.
In what ways is investigations work in Mexico and North America changing, and how is this impacting practice?
We need to keep track of recent developments abroad in terms of what is to be considered an effective compliance program. For example, to have a thorough understanding of such effectiveness using standards based on DOJ guidelines.
If you could introduce one reform into law to help investigations work, what would it be and why?
Whistleblower protection and incentives.
What advice would you give to younger practitioners hoping to one day be in your position?
Look for mentors. Keep close to those lawyers at your firms or legal departments that you consider exceptional. Acknowledge early in your career that the legal profession is a business. Keep close to your friends and start building a business network; the sooner the better. Improve your negotiation skills.