What job entry possibilities does Daimler offer for lawyers? And why is the automotive industry an interesting field for law professionals? We spoke about these and other questions with Frederic Clemens, who joined Daimler as a corporate lawyer.
Hello Mr. Clemens, please introduce yourself briefly to our readers.
My name is Frederic Clemens and I am a native of Rhineland. I obtained a diploma in business law from the Rhineland University of Applied Sciences Cologne and a master of laws in "European and International Business Law" from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. During my studies I worked (as a student casual worker, intern and thesis student) at the law firm Friedrich Graf von Westphalen, at Porsche USA, and at Maserati Germany. Currently, I am a manager in the Antitrust Project Management Office of the Legal Department and steer various cross-divisional programs for antitrust law within Daimler AG.
Why did you choose Daimler as your employer after your studies? What do you as law professional find interesting about working at Daimler?
In addition to my passion for cars, I am excited by the variety of activity fields of a global company like Daimler. I had hoped that as a lawyer there would be many different paths and opportunities for me within the group and that I would have access to various job possibilities. So far, this proved to be completely true!
Please describe your career at Daimler – from the first day in the company until today.
At the end of 2010, I entered Daimler AG through the "CAReer" trainee program. Participants in the program generally go through three or four projects in different units of the group within a period of about 15 months. Besides an assignment in production and at the own retail, there is also an international project.
The first project takes place in the department where the person was hired and will start after completing the program. My target area and first project assignment was the Contract Management in Production Materials Procurement at Mercedes-Benz Cars. In addition, as part of the program I had the opportunity to support and steer projects in the areas of Group Compliance (in Germany and Argentina), strategic production materials procurement in Beijing, China, and External Affairs.
After the CAReer Program I started as a lawyer in the Contract Management within the Production Materials Procurement at Mercedes-Benz Cars. My duties included in particular the legal advice for the operative buyers with a focus on general contract law as well as competition law and intellectual property law. In particular, I was involved in negotiations of supply and development contracts as well as negotiations of framework agreements with production material suppliers for the Mercedes-Benz Cars division. In addition, I was able to participate in the process of strategic enhancement of the standard contract documents – in collaboration with the central Legal Department of Daimler AG. I represented the interests of Mercedes-Benz Cars Production Materials Procurement in several cross-functional working groups and projects.
In mid-2013, I took on a new, strategy-focused position within the same unit, which dealt mainly with the conceptual restructuring of the contractual relations with US suppliers and with the design of processes and methods related to the collaboration between Mercedes-Benz Cars Production Materials Procurement and the logistics organization of Daimler. I also supported the divisional management in developing different documents for strategy dialogs, Board of Management and professional association meetings.
Since May 2015, I am active as manager in the Antitrust Project Office in the Legal Regulatory Compliance unit.
Please tell us more about your team and your current position.
The Legal Regulatory Compliance unit includes the areas of antitrust law, criminal law and public law. In our department we work on the conceptual design, implementation and enforcement of preventive antitrust measures and are often the connecting link for antitrust projects within the group. The variety and fast pace of the daily work are two particularly exciting aspects. The contacts within the group are not just limited to a small group of colleagues but basically with every business unit and its respective specialists. Without a doubt, one of the main challenges is not to lose sight of the volatile developments in antitrust law on the world markets and being able to derive rules relevant for us from them, without unnecessarily restricting the work of the colleagues.
What personal advice would you give to law students who are interested in getting a job at Daimler?
My advice to students would be to get practical experience at an early stage - regardless of whether this is done in the context of an internship or a student job. This helps you to find out where your interests are and - very decisively - will test the theoretical knowledge you have acquired against "real world" situations. Later on, this shift to practice will be extremely helpful in the work with colleagues from other disciplines, where legal certainty and - most of all - practicable solutions that support them in their daily work are required.