In-House Interview: Başak Gürbüz, Lead Regional Counsel, Visa

In-House Interview: Başak Gürbüz, Lead Regional Counsel, Visa

What is the size and scope of your current role at Visa? Can you give us a day in the working life of Başak Gürbüz?

I am the Lead Regional Counsel in Visa’s Southern Europe cluster covering Turkiye, Israel, Greece, Malta, and Cyprus. I am a member of the Legal, Ethics, and Compliance team, principally focusing on commercial law matters as well as product-related matters. I am also guiding our teams on other fields of law (e.g., data privacy, regulatory and competition law) via cooperation with the London Hub Legal Team. A day in my working life, I can picture it like a constant opportunity to support the team and our business on a number of different initiatives, accompanied by a cup of coffee and a big smile & company all around coming from my colleagues even in busy times. I always feel blessed to be surrounded by helping, understanding, and positive colleagues also having the legal acumen. I always believe that it comes down to the team you are in at all times in work life. My job requires constant agility and prioritization since Visa is a very dynamic and innovative company- which always makes me proud. I always have a daily agenda and to-do list to stay on the right track and try to adopt “meeting economy” principle in order to be effective in prioritizing my tasks and to save more focus time.

How does the high reputation of the company you work for shape your roles within the organization?

We have a centralized system in principle, and our Europe hub team sits in London. We also have regional counsels in different clusters to support the local teams on-site and directly to the extent possible. As mentioned earlier, Visa is a very dynamic company with high standards of ethics and compliance so I can say that this standard shapes our roles in the first place when doing our jobs.

What is the most worrying trend in providing legal services from a private practice perspective?

Being a private practice professional for many years, I can mention about providing long, unnecessarily detailed, and vague legal advice. When being in a fully legal environment in private practice, there can be a perception as the longer the better but unfortunately this is not true. What business colleagues and also in-house lawyers need is a tailor-made, concise, and precise opinion and clear answers. What we do not need are long references to laws & regulations and vague conclusions in the legal assessment. We are fully aware that sometimes the situations can be complex and it is not easy to be precise but at least a solid assessment, by providing chances of success wherever possible or interpretation of several different scenarios in a concise way would be of great help for legal advice seekers.

What could we be doing better to train lawyers working at the sharp end of business and commerce?

I think we need to dedicate more quality time to our young colleagues and provide more case studies for them. Also, legal network events are key to gather and exchange ideas and updates. Speaking of more senior levels, my answer will be on the live show and by experience. There is no better training than the experience itself.

Is it important to have female role models in the tech sector?

Surely yes, like in all available sectors. We always need the pioneering ideas, guiding approach and courage of female models. Especially in sectors that traditionally have less gender balanced legal presence, it would be inspiring and might lead multi faceted practices by female touch.

Which areas do you and your team currently cover?

I think it would not be wrong to say that we cover multiple areas. As said, I am a member of the commercial legal team and we fundamentally focus on commercial law and product-related matters. I also focus on regulatory law, payment systems regulations inter alia.

Is it possible for legal teams to influence ethics in the wider sphere?

Absolutely and I see them as interconnected and intersecting. This is also how Visa sees ethics since the name of our team is named as Legal, Ethics and Compliance which reads itself. Laws have come out due to the need of regulation and doing the right thing, protecting the right side and avoiding chaos in a community in terms of looking for remedies and right enforcements. That is why legal cannot be considered separate than the ethics. Providing legal compliance by following ethics at the same time would serve “being compliant” both ways.

Have ESG considerations prompted you to re-evaluate the service you provide?

Visa’s responsible, ethical, and sustainable approach to business empowers people, communities and businesses to thrive in a way that is good for people and good for the planet. From financial inclusion, access to money movement and resilient cities to urban mobility, electric vehicle infrastructure, circularity and carbon footprint – inclusion and sustainability are part of our core, and I feel blessed and strongly motivated to be able to be part of such efforts every day, through the support that our legal function provides to the company and to our local teams.     

Ready to stay ahead of the curve?
Share your interest anonymously and let us guide you through the informative articles on the hottest legal topics.
Successful Your message has been sent