Since 2014 Brazil has been subject to one of the biggest corruption investigations in its history, which has since seeped into all segments of society and implicated entities in both the public and the private sector. President Dilma Rousseff is undergoing an impeachment trial where she faces accusations of administrative misconduct and collusion with Petrobras, the petrol company she chaired until 2010. In September 2015 the real fell to record lows against the dollar and has yet to recover. However, the country seems to be slowly making its way out of trouble. Acting president Michel Temer is fully expected to deliver a set of policies that are pro-business, with a balanced budget and a favourable climate for investors among his top priorities. Yet many in Brazil feel that these policies will meet with some resistance from the country’s strong labour unions and opposing parties. With Brazil now in transition, the legal landscape has been abuzz with all the possibilities of new legislation that will aid business transactions, and the hope of a more flexible corporate market.
In the first quarter of 2016 Brazil’s economy shrunk by 0.3%, the smallest contraction since the first quarter of 2015. It headed off market expectations of a more significant 1.3% drop, and with a new administration the future seems promising. Many practitioners we have spoken to described President Temer’s appointment as a good thing, even if uncertainty has not yet vanished completely. The Summer Olympics in Rio have given the country’s economy a boost, but Brazil still has not devised a way to pay back its creditors, and with the Central Bank of Brazil deciding to stick interest rates at an eye-watering 14.25 per cent for the seventh consecutive session, serious reforms are still needed.
Brazil’s new offshore tax amnesty, offering individuals with offshore assets the opportunity to declare and pay only a flat 30% tax penalty (a 15% levy on the assets, plus a 15% fine) was signed into law in January of this year and provides insight into the changed nature of the outlook at the top of the Brazilian government. The country needs finances, and is willing to cut its losses in order to make its way out of the malaise as quickly as possible.
Brazil’s new finance minister Henrique de Campos Meirelles is on the board of Banco Originale owners J&F Investimentos and the board of Azul Brazilian airlines, to name just a couple. All signs point to a more internationalist, pro-business outlook for Brazil, and many lawyers have noted that the Temer administration is particularly vocal about such priorities as more forceful anti-dumping investigations, resolving WTO trade disputes and more active participation in local and global trade negotiations.
Labour unions are also increasingly jittery about government policies to boost investment, which include easing regulations on outsourcing labour and making workers’ rights more flexible – something Brazil’s working classes feel would be tantamount to a coup. If unions decide to push back against the government it could create further unrest that would hinder the country’s economic recovery and deter potential businesses from entering the Brazilian market.
Slumps in commodity prices globally have continued, meaning that the real has been hit further. As the world’s major producer of coffee, soybeans, corn, sugar and orange juice, the country relies heavily on its exports. Furthermore, with major trading partners such as China and Argentina also finding their own economies embattled due to slow growth and financial mismanagement, Brazil finds a once-booming commodities market struggling in the light of its investors’ cold feet.
Dilma Rousseff’s government poured $68 million into much-needed infrastructure projects in 2015. But as Brazil struggled to meet construction deadlines for the Summer Olympics and continued to find its buildings, roads and railways in need of regeneration, it seems that the largely privatised public transport and infrastructure is currently in a state of flux with no recognisable solutions. Furthermore, as the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) – once invaluable in greasing the wheels of several project finance deals – has effectively run out of money, the managers of those projects must find other ways to finance them.
Yet despite its recent difficulties Brazil has avoided becoming an economic casualty, and has not seen its economic clout dramatically diminished. This can be attributed to the country’s huge GDP, still the largest in the region by a margin, and its position as the South America’s largest exporter and 23rd largest in the world, with $228 billion of exports in 2014. As of 2016, Brazil remains the world’s seventh largest economy at $2.24 trillion. These advantages mean that it remains the economic powerhouse of South America, and an active member of the G20.
What is more, with the real currently weakened, foreign entities can invest cheaply in Brazil. M&A deals in the country have fallen to 134 declared, down from 157 a year ago, but for lawyers activity is still strong, with many foreign businesses recently entering the market – including EDF, the State Grid Corporation of China and Tractebel. Indeed, with so much new legislation to be drawn up Brazilian lawyers will be kept busy for a long time yet. Trade and customs law, tax legislation and arbitration are among the areas of law currently seeing significant changes in legislation.
Brazil’s strength lies in the fact that it remains a key player in the region and on the world stage; its fairly well-developed legal system can withstand whatever challenges may result from the struggle for power at the top of the nation’s political hierarchy. As a place to invest, Brazil looks healthier than it has in years, and its stock market Bovespa rallied strongly earlier this year. While the repercussions of Operation Lava Jato continue the country cannot fully move on – but it seems that Brazil might still see some of its best years ahead.
In the following pages we feature the top firms and leading practitioners across the 37 practice areas that this edition covers, including competition economists and due diligence accountants. Who’s Who Legal continues to expand this edition to recognise the performance of world-class practitioners in these specialist areas.
Five leading lawyers are highlighted for their impressive work in the field.
Nine names stand out for their work in Brazil’s agribusiness sector.
This chapter sees 32 practitioners highlighted for their abilities and expertise in domestic and international arbitrations. We highlight some of the standout performers in our search below.
Six individuals stand out in asset recovery. They are the leading names for assisting clients with the tracing and recovery of assets, including disclosure, freezing and seizure orders, and recovery claims.
The twenty leading aviation practitioners in this chapter cover a range of matters, including finance, regulations and litigation for airlines, insurers, aviation manufacturers, airports and regulatory agencies.
In this chapter, 26 banking specialists are recognised.
In an increasingly active area of practice, we recognise 13 individuals as the standout names in business crime law, as well as in the conduct of internal and regulatory investigations. Below we highlight some of the most highly regarded names.
In this chapter we identify 35 capital markets lawyers with the experience and expertise to assist clients in debt, equity and structured finance transactions.
Thirty-one individuals stand out in this chapter as those with the greatest expertise in commercial litigation matters.
In total, 40 leading lights are recognised for their expertise representing clients before the Brazilian competition authority on both litigation and transactional matters.
The following 13 individuals are considered the leading experts in the conduct of economic analysis in antitrust disputes and merger control. Many will have provided expert testimony or presentations before the Brazilian courts and the competition authority, CADE.
Nine leading construction lawyers are recognised for their top-tier work in the sector.
The Construction Industry and the Call For Concerted Action,
By Júlio César Bueno of Pinheiro Neto Advogados
Fifteen outstanding practitioners in Brazil receive recognition in our research.
In this chapter we identify five leading individuals.
This chapter features 48 leading names in the area of corporate tax.
Brief Comments on Tax Planning in Brazil
By Igor Nascimento de Souza of Madrona Advogados
Twenty-nine practitioners receive recognition in this chapter.
Eighteen individuals are recognised in this chapter.
In our first published findings into the forestry investment market, we recognise 10 leading lawyers who advise on corporate, commercial and finance transactions in the industry.
This chapter sees nine practitioners singled out for their outstanding abilities in franchise law.
Six practitioners stand out for their expertise representing public and private entities in competitive bidding for government contracts, as well as structuring PPPs, concessions and other contracts relating to the procurement of public projects.
Twenty-one lawyers are identified in this chapter for their excellent insurance and reinsurance work.
In this chapter, 16 experts in the field of management, labour and employment law are recognised.
In this chapter, 14 leading practitioners are selected for their specialism in the life sciences sector.
Forty-two prominent corporate lawyers are highlighted for their leading M&A practices.
Twelve practitioners stand out in the Brazilian mining legal market. Below we analyse some of the most highly regarded individuals.
In this chapter, we identify 21 of the leading patents lawyers and agents in Brazil.
Brazil Patent Updates
By Luiz Leonardos, Gustavo Leonardos and Ana Paula Jardim of Luiz Leonardos & Advogados
Ten individuals stand out in our research for being among the elite practitioners advising on domestic and international private client law.
This chapter sees 15 lawyers listed for their abilities in advising on investment, asset protection and tax structuring in the sphere of private funds.
Six leading lawyers are highlighted for their exceptional work in the defence of product liability cases.
There are 19 practitioners included in this chapter as the country’s leading lawyers in project finance. Below we highlight several of the most highly regarded firms and individuals in the market.
Death, Taxes And Cost Overruns
By Júlio César Bueno of Pinheiro Neto Advogados
Five leading real estate lawyers are recognised for their outstanding work in the sector.
We highlight 12 practitioners in our research for their top-tier work advising on corporate and financial restructurings, and insolvency proceedings.
We identify impressive individuals for their leading work in the sector.
We list nine individuals their work in the sports and entertainment sphere.
Thirty-nine names stand in the Brazilian telecommunications, media and technology legal market.
In the following pages, 23 leading trade and customs specialists are singled out from a diverse range of national full-service and boutique law firms.
Thirty-four names stand out in our research into the Brazilian trademark sector.
Campos Mello Advogados is a full-service business law firm serving Brazilian and international companies with a clear focus: to partner with clients in facilitating business. With offices in Rio, São Paulo and New York, the firm operates throughout Brazil with the support of a team experienced in several industry sectors. As a result, it has been able to develop and offer creative, innovative and sound legal solutions for each matter and client profile.
Incorporated in 1948, Demarest became one of the most reputable law firms in Brazil. The firm ensures a high-quality and effective service to its clients by permanently investing in, and improving, the education and qualifications of its staff of almost 700 people. The multidisciplinary model of performance – with perfect synergy among its professionals – also contributes to Demarest’s performance.
Luiz Leonardos & Advogados mixes expertise and resourcefulness gained over 90 years of work devoted to intellectual property in Brazil with the advantages of a newly created framework, one that is more effective and personal in client interaction. Created as a direct result of the split of Momsen Leonardos & Cia into two firms on April 30, 2012, Luiz Leonardos & Advogados has 18 partners and more than 60 experienced professionals dedicated to all areas related to intellectual property.
Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados comes fourth in our research, boasting an impressive 29 listings across 13 different practice areas in the edition. Founded 44 years ago, the firm advises domestic and international clients, government bodies and financial institutions across a range of sectors. The firm is best known for its corporate and finance practices, and particularly excels in our research across its M&A, project finance, capital markets and corporate tax departments, which all garner multiple listings in the edition. With a global reach, Machado Meyer has strong connections with the major legal firms in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Mattos Filho is structured to provide services to clients in different legal areas in a coordinated and integrated manner, working in multidisciplinary teams whenever necessary. This work dynamic allows the firm to deliver tailor-made solutions to their clients, thereby enhancing the understanding of their business and making them a valuable partner. Mattos Filho is a leader in more than 30 different practice areas, and works continuously to ensure that all these practices are benchmarks for the market.
With coverage of over 30 practice areas and a revered history in the region, Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados can lay claim to being one of Brazil’s leading full-service law firms. Clients include domestic and international companies in both the public and private sectors, and the firm is prominent in a number of areas including banking, competition, energy and project finance. With over 60 partners and 300 associates working across Brazil and the USA, the firm has the ability to advise on the biggest and most complex transactions and is recognised for its “strong client base”.
Nascimento e Mourão Advogados is recognised for its performance in specific areas of complex corporate needs. For over 20 years the firm has been offering full-service legal solutions to local and international companies in its comprehensive areas of practice, which includes compliance and ethics, M&A, negotiation, arbitration, litigation, commercial contracts, legal advice in local law, intellectual property, environmental law, biodiversity, biotech, GMO, life sciences, energy, bioenergy, gas, patents, public sector and labour law. It
has a highly skilled and committed team working out legal strategies guided by creativity, innovation and strong market knowledge.
Founded in 1942, Brazilian independent full-service firm Pinheiro Neto Advogados is a major force in the Brazilian market with a prestigious reputation both domestically and internationally. As one of the first Brazilian firms to service foreign clients and focus solely on corporate law, the firm now has clients in over 60 countries worldwide and rightly has an entrenched position as one of the go-to firms for international clients engaging in business in Brazil. The breadth of the firm’s expertise and quality is evident in the fact that it achieves listings in 24 chapters in this edition, highlighting that Pinheiro really does offer its clients a full and comprehensive service. In particular, the firm’s banking, tax, corporate, life sciences and competition practices are particularly worthy of note.
Pinheiro Neto Advogados is a Brazilian, independent, full-service firm specialising in multidisciplinary deals and in translating the Brazilian legal environment for the benefit of local and foreign clients. Founded in 1942, Pinheiro Neto Advogados was one of the first Brazilian law firms to serve foreign clients as well as the first Brazilian law firm to specialise in corporate clients. With clients in almost 60 countries, the firm was recognised in 2014 by the Brazilian government as the number-one exporter of legal services from Brazil. The firm has grown organically, and developed a distinctive, tight-knit culture, with a low associate-to-partner ratio. Its unique, democratic governance structure promotes transparency and consensus-building among the partners.
Souza Cescon is one of Brazil’s leading law firms. The lawyers stand out for their strong commitment to the representation of the clients’ interests and for their work in highly sophisticated, ground-breaking matters. The firm’s goal is to be the clients’ law firm of choice for their most complex legal matters and most strategic transactions and disputes.
TozziniFreire Advogados ranks fifth by number of listings in this edition. A large national firm of more than 75 partners, it covers a wide variety of business law practices to a high standard of quality, with an emphasis on both mid-to-high end transactional work and day-to-day compliance advice. The firm provides a comprehensive full-service offering with a degree of specialisation not possible at smaller full-service law firms. In total, the firm is recognised in 19 out of the 38 practice area chapters that are covered in the following pages.
Since it was founded in 1972, Veirano Advogados has grown to become one of Brazil’s most distinguished law firms. Many of its practitioners boast invaluable experience in leading law firms across the US and Europe, enabling them to approach matters with a lateral and international mind-set. With offices across Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Brasilia, the firm is well placed to assist both domestic and international clients with their business needs in the country.
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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.