“…the practical ideal that I seek to infuse in my practice every day is to be an outstanding legal expert, a wise counsel and an effective leader acting with high integrity and independence.”- Sebastian La Hausse de Lalouvière
Sebastian La Hausse de Lalouvière is a seasoned general counsel who hails from Mauritius and South Africa with over 8 years’ experience advising on corporate, regulatory, compliance and legal matters for some of the largest publicly listed companies in Mauritius, which operate in various industries both locally and internationally. He has also had the opportunity of working on various initiatives on the African continent in Rwanda and Kenya. He joined New Mauritius Hotels Limited (trading as Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels) in May 2019, as its Group Legal Counsel, to set up the legal and compliance department. Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels is the oldest and largest hotel group in Mauritius, which owns and operates 8 hotels across the island.
Sebastian obtained his Master of Laws (LLM) in Advanced Legal Practice with a Distinction from the University of the West of England, where his research focused on a critical analysis of corporate governance and directors’ duties following the 2008 financial crisis. He also has a Postgraduate Diploma in Bar Professional Training Studies (BPTC) from the University of the West of England and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of London. Sebastian is a member of the Mauritius Bar Association as well as The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple (London, UK). He is also a member of the Mauritius Institute of Directors and an ADR Group Accredited Mediator, specialising in civil and commercial mediation.
Within Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, his role includes advising diverse teams through complex commercial litigation, mergers & acquisitions, legal contract development, contract negotiations, conflict resolution, risk analysis, compliance initiatives, industrial relations, and crisis management. To date, he has singlehandedly managed the company’s legal and compliance affairs, and has helped (together with his CEO and dedicated colleagues) to guide the company through this unprecedented pandemic and its multiple legal and human resources challenges to ensure continued sustainability of a key company operating in the tourism/hospitality sector which represents approximately 25% of the Mauritian GDP.
Sebastian values hard work, integrity and equality at heart. He strongly believe in the importance of emotional intelligence and teamwork. Above all, being a Mauritian as well as a South African citizen and coming from a diverse and multicultural background, he associates himself fully to the corporate culture, values, brand, and mission of Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels.
We have engaged Sebastian in this Millennial edition to learn more from him.
1. What Makes Legal Practice Exciting for Sebastian
In his experience, as a general counsel, legal practice is particularly exciting because he gets to see first- hand, how and to whatextent his advice can add value to the business and therefore, be a partner contributing to its success on a daily basis. One of the most exciting attributes of the role for him is working on transactions, which he has had the benefit of seeing evolve on multiple occasions from a project idea all the way through to completion, which is a unique experience.
Moreover, being part of the Executive Committee of Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels renders his role even more fulfilling because he can contribute to the strategic and operational initiatives of the Group. Furthermore. being in the hospitality sector, he finds it imperative to be close to the operations to support his team in all their day-to-days challenges, which is also incredibly exciting and fulfilling for him.
For Sebastian and legal practice, he notes,
“the practical ideal that I seek to infuse in my practice every day is to be an outstanding legal expert, a wise counsel and an effective leader acting with high integrity and independence.”
Indeed, as Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. puts it in his phenomenal book, The Inside Counsel Revolution, the difficult question every effective general counsel will have to face on several occasions in their career is not “Is it legal?”, but ultimately, “Is itright?” This is a poser-philosophy that guides Sebastian. For him, this consideration will likely give rise to an intermeshing of ethics, law, governance, and business considerations, which renders this role even more exiting, provided he can effectively balance the role of partner to the business together with the role of guardian to the business.
2. What is Sebastian’s Philosophy of Impacting the Nation through the Practice of the Law?
Sebastian’s philosophy is to bring more to the table than just his legal expertise. Indeed, his role necessitates that he acts increasingly as a legal and strategic advisor to the leadership and operational teams. For him, this is premised on the fact that, asa general counsel and lawyer, he draws upon a broader set of skills grounded in practical and legal reasoning, giving him a strategic overview of how his decision can have wider implications.
As such, he considers having the pedigree in terms of legal and regulatory knowledge, negotiating skills, and the like to be a given in today’s corporate world. However, for him to be outstanding means to use emotional intelligence and above all, try to be more than just a lawyer. In doing so, this has allowed him to maintain a positive impact beyond the company, be it with regulators, the authorities or trade unions.
3. What is the Next Big Thing Sebastian is working on?
Sebastian is determined to harmonise and consolidate a sustainable partnership/relationship with his company’s trade unions, intended for the benefit of the company and above all, its employees. For him, this initiative is in line with his company’s leadership position in the Mauritian tourism/hospitality industry.
Moreover, he also looks forward to seeing Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels bounce back even stronger than it was prior to the pandemic.
4. What Does He Consider the Millennials Greatest Strength?
In his opinion, it would most definitely be the millennials’ sense of purpose and passion in what the generation does. A quote that perfectly summarises this for him is from Mark Twain who once said: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” For Sebastian, this is powerful beyond words, and he thinks most millennials will relate to it.
5. Who, in the profession does Sebastian look up to, and what is he currently reading?
As a general counsel, he looks up to many in the profession, both in Mauritius and internationally. However, his greatestinspiration is Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr., who was General Electric’s Senior Vice President-General Counsel from 1987-2003,and then Senior Vice President for Law and Public Affairs from 2004 until his retirement at the end of 2005. Benjamin served under both Jack Welch as well as Jeff Immelt. Sebastian notes that Benjamin’s book, The Inside Counsel Revolution, has indeedrevolutionised the way he practices law and his views about his role as a general counsel in today’s corporate world. Outside the legal profession, he notes that a few business leaders have and continue to inspire him every day with their formidableleadership skills and business acumen.
In terms of books, he is currently reading, Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day, by Jay Shetty.
The PALM considers Sebastian La Hausse de Lalouvière a legal millennial who has shown exceptional radiance in the field of legal practice.
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