At that time, the legal department consisted
of Stroubos, Kolonioti, and an administrative
assistant. They put together a strategic action
plan, consisting of multilevel actions against
toll violators. Building a nimble, multifunctional
team, they had a new team member transferred
to the legal department from another area of
the company; hired one more administrative
employee, four new IT specialists and a new
junior lawyer to support the mass legal actions;
then tackled the problem with technology and
training, both within the corporate office and at
the toll plazas.
• Lacking formal paralegal training programs
in Greece, Kolonioti and Stroubos trained
the administrative assistant to work as a
paralegal; then trained her and a colleague
to produce court papers and prepare
• The expanded in-house legal team created
a comprehensive database of legal actions
• They created templates for all possible legal
actions, relying on outside counsel only to
clarify complicated legal matters.
• Toll collectors were trained to watch for
violators and to take careful notes on the
circumstances and the vehicle.
The department had two options: to file a
lawsuit, which is easier in terms of proof, or
to file a petition for a payment order, which
requires proof of claim through documents.
Date, time, location, vehicle plate number, and
amount of toll infraction had to be included in
each: “It was very difficult to draft these tables,”
says Stroubos. The company had already
commenced 100 lawsuits, which were taking
years to resolve. “When we realized that the
legal notices and the payment orders were
working, we dropped the lawsuits to around
6 or 7 percent, and decided to focus on the
legal notice and payment order procedures,”
To date, the AMSA in-house legal department
has served more than 2,000 legal notices and
200 payment orders worth more than ¤ 4
million. Many notices incorporate multiple infractions, as many corporate carriers were repeat
offenders. As a result, revenue losses due to toll
violations decreased by 42 percent. Handling
the project in-house saved AMSA more than
¤ 2. 5 million in outside legal costs, and the
violation rate has dropped to 0.7 percent.
The legal department developed close working
relationships with other departments as it
strengthened the legal position of the company.
For example, they worked with the communications department to ensure extensive media
coverage of the enforcement effort, helping to
deter protests against the legality of toll collection and to put offenders on notice. “Users
always know that there is a chance we will go
after them,” Stroubos says.
The legal team also closely collaborated with
the technical and operations divisions of the
company. “They became more familiar with our
efforts and developed a legal way of thinking.
They supported us essentially,” says Kolonioti.
As the enforcement initiative continues,
what has the AMSA team learned? Stroubos
replies: “We learned that we are able to do
many things in the legal department—we can
design custom-made legal solutions that are
much more efficient. We don’t have to rely
on external law firms; they can’t know our
business better than we do.”
Wonderful to see the legal department leading the charge in a
multifunctional effort to solve a business problem.