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This Special Report covers 39 practice areas.

This will search all specialists in Brazil.

Brazil In Brief

Brazil remains exciting and complicated in equal measure for companies and lawyers in the jurisdiction. With a burgeoning population and vast quantities of natural resources, it retains a forceful attraction for investors. At the same time, the ongoing Petrobras scandal, an upcoming general election and the granular pace of the recovery from recession all give cause for concern. In a sense, the practitioners we spoke to this year highlighted two Brazils. One is of optimism, marked by a push for regulatory reform and the emergence of data and fintech industries. The other is a Brazil shouldered with memory of recent scandal and uncertainty for the future.

At the time of our interviews in May and June 2018, the most significant question facing lawyers in Brazil was that of the upcoming general election and its outcome. Brazilian politics has lurched from uncertainty to calamity in recent months. An election that started out with 20 candidates and no clear front-runner has led to societal divisions over the direction of the country. Of the two most popular politicians in the country, one, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is is currently in prison serving a sentence for corruption and is banned from running, while the other, Jair Bolsonaro, holds populist, far-right views and has spoken favourably of the military dictatorship that ruled from 1964 to 1985. Disinformation abounds, according to interviewees, with Bolsonaro claiming that if he loses the election, it will be because the Workers’ Party (PT) has rigged it. Left-wing commentators, for their part, have claimed that Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s conviction is politically motivated and that an assassination attempt on Bolsonaro was faked by his own party. Sources described to us their concern about the way in which the election has played out so far. By the time this publication goes to press in October 2018, Brazil will have a new government, and it remains to be seen what impact it will have on the legal landscape.

Interviewees reported that the uncertainty over the election has led to a massive capital outflow, as investors have lost confidence in the candidates on the campaign trail. Despite an end to the country’s recession in 2017, investors have decided that the political landscape is not one that will be conducive to business – at the time of writing the real was at its lowest value since the mid-1990s. Lawyers in the space espoused no greater confidence for the coming months. Activity in the capital markets, banking and mergers spaces has slowed, with sources describing an unfavourable business climate. While many lawyers expect things to pick up once the dust from the bruising election has settled, it remains to be seen how much damage will have been caused in the meantime.

There have been some positive signs, however. The country has seen a move towards an image change in the regulatory space in the wake of the so-called “Car Wash” scandal, which damaged the reputations of both Petrobras and the nation, with investors across the continent shaken by the breadth of its reach. Sources we spoke to from a number of sectors highlighted the cancellation of Petrobras-linked contracts as a particularly pressing issue for the economy. Lawyers in the shipping and maritime space noted that “hundreds of contracts in offshore activity have had to be cancelled” and that this has “had a huge impact on the industry”. In response, the government has passed Decree No. 9.355/2018, also known as the “Petrobras Decree”. This will bring in a new system of checks designed to improve transparency and governance within the company. Lawyers expressed the expectation that the decree will benefit the Brazilian energy and shipping sectors, as investors regain confidence in the jurisdiction.

The political scandals have had noticeable impacts on the legal space. Lawyers that we spoke to in the competition space described a reinvigorated competition authority – the Administrative Council for Economic Defence (CADE) – as one direct outcome of the “Car Wash” scandal. In the wake of the bid-rigging scandal, CADE has gained much experience investigating anticompetitive behaviour. Lawyers believe that the authority is now much better placed to carry out investigations into a range of competition matters. It has much to investigate. Throughout Brazil’s economic crisis, many firms took the opportunity to acquire competitors while assets were cheaper and there were more opportunities for sellers to divest. Practitioners working on mergers have described how the regulator is conducting “more sophisticated reviews and is able and better equipped to conduct more complex reviews”. In response, lawyers in the field of competition have been pushing clients to review their antitrust compliance programmes and raise awareness of legislation.

“Change” has been a key term in other sectors too. At the end of 2017, sweeping labour reforms were enacted that aimed to make the market more flexible for employers. Lawyers in the space have described a rise in the volume of consultancy work they are undertaking, as firms and unions get to grips with the new arrangements. Labour law is still a litigious space, with relations between companies and employees remaining fraught and lawyers complaining that it is “almost impossible to settle matters out of court”.

The natural resources sector has also endured its share of turbulence in recent months. Brazil’s legislature has responded to a twin slump in global commodity prices and an emerging markets selloff. Infrastructure development in some major economies, such as China, has dried up as of late. This has caused the price of minerals to fall, and mine operators around the globe have been looking to restructure in response to the contraction. The Brazilian market, although relatively diverse, remains susceptible to such fluctuations and has seen new regulation changes brought in to the mining sector in order to encourage investment. Mining titles will now be available to be used as guarantees for the financing of other operations, in the hope that this will stimulate further exploration of natural resources.

In the finance sector too, the Brazilian market is reshaping itself, based around a new trinity of cyptocurrency, capital markets and fintech-enabled peer-to-peer lending. With interest rates unfavourably high and the inter-bank lending rate currently at 6 per cent, companies are looking to vary their means of finance. Lawyers working in the fields of banking and technology law have seen their caseloads rise as interest in fintech companies increases.

The banking and finance sector has also been affected by new data privacy laws coming into place this year. The Brazilian government is increasingly attuned to cyber-risk and individual privacy in the wake of GDPR reforms and international scandals such as Cambridge Analytica. Brazil’s new General Personal Data Protection Law (LGPDP), which came into force in July 2018, has brought sweeping changes to the way companies handle data in the jurisdiction. Companies will now be required to hire a data protection officer and take up new measures to protect against potential risks to customers’ data. Lawyers working in the field of data law, but also those working in compliance and regulatory matters for industries across the board, are likely to see considerably more work over the coming months.

The Brazilian legal market continues to be dominated by full-service domestic outfits who hold a deep-rooted and incredibly robust position among other firms. Our top 10 firms by number of listings in this edition are all national outfits, illustrating their strength in the market. With the increase in scrutiny from the competition authorities regarding both conduct and transactions, sources have noted “a clear trend” of clients increasingly being driven towards larger full-service firms, to ensure they have “as many aspects of the deal as possible concentrated in one place with one provider”. Despite this, there is no denying that there remains a substantial market for boutique and specialised firms, who also perform well in our research this year.

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Analysis: Brazil

Brazil: Administrative Litigation 2018

In this year’s research, we highlight nine eminent practitioners in Brazil’s administrative litigation market.

Brazil: Agribusiness 2018

In this section, we recognise 12 outstanding lawyers who win praise for their vast experience assisting clients in the agribusiness space with a wide range of contentious and non-contentious issues.

Brazil: Arbitration 2018

This year’s research shines a spotlight on 41 leading lawyers, known for their expertise as counsel and arbitrators in complex commercial and investor-state disputes.

Brazil: Asset Recovery 2018

Here we identify seven pre-eminent lawyers who stand out for their impressive experience assisting Brazilian and international clients with asset recovery actions.

Brazil: Aviation 2018

This year’s research into the Brazilian aviation space sees 24 individuals from across the country highlighted for their work handling a range of sector-related finance, regulatory and contentious matters.

Brazil: Banking 2018

In this chapter we recognise 32 individuals as the leading banking lawyers in the Brazilian market. They are recommended for their outstanding work representing financial institutions and corporate clients in financial and regulatory matters.

Brazil: Business Crime Defence & Investigations 2018

This year 16 top-tier lawyers are highlighted for their skills leading investigations and representing companies and individuals in a wide range of corporate criminal matters.

Brazil: Capital Markets 2018

This year’s research into the capital markets space sees 40 practitioners for their domestic and international expertise on matters including IPOs and structured finance matters.

Brazil: Commercial Litigation 2018

In this chapter, we highlight 39 outstanding litigators for their expertise spanning a broad range of corporate and commercial disputes.

Brazil: Competition 2018

In this chapter we recognise 45 outstanding lawyers for their excellent work in the competition space on a range of matters including merger control, anti-competitive conduct, compliance and economic regulation. 

Brazil: Competition Economists 2018

This year we feature 14 impressive competition economists who stand out for the excellent analyses and consulting services they provide to clients.

Brazil: Construction 2018

In this chapter we identify the nine foremost construction specialists in the Brazilian market who are known for their excellent work handling financing, public procurement, and regulatory and compliance issues.

Brazil: Construction Expert Witnesses 2018

Here we recognise four practitioners for their experience advising and providing expert evidence on a wide range of matters including quantum and delay, and technical issues.

Brazil: Corporate Governance 2018

Our research into the Brazilian corporate governance space sees 31 individuals highlighted for their impressive expertise in matters across the corporate governance field.

Brazil: Corporate Immigration 2018

In this chapter we recognised five individuals for their leading expertise in the corporate immigration space.

Brazil: Corporate Tax 2018

In this chapter, we identify 80 of the finest corporate tax specialists in the Brazilian market. They are recognised for their expertise advising companies, shareholders and financial institutions on matters regarding domestic and international tax optimisation, as well as regulatory issues. 

Brazil: Corporate Tax Expert Witnesses 2018

In this chapter we identify 11 individuals for their wide-ranging expertise and specialised knowledge in corporate tax matters.

Brazil: Data 2018

This year’s research into the Brazilian data market sees 34 individuals highlighted for their work across the fields of IT, telecommunications, and data privacy and protection law.

Brazil: Energy 2018

In this chapter we identify the top 30 energy specialists in the Brazilian market. They distinguish themselves through their excellent work for clients ranging from the oil and gas to the renewables sector. 

Brazil: Environment 2018

In this chapter we highlight 31 lawyers as the country’s top environmental practitioners this year. The individuals below offer clients a wealth of expertise both litigating and advising on environmental accidents, solid waste management, class actions and project approval.

Brazil: Forestry Investment 2018

This year, 13 individuals from the field of forestry investment are highlighted in our guide for their excellent work advising clients on regulatory matters and investment structuring.

Brazil: Franchise 2018

This year 11 leading practitioners are highlighted for their exceptional skills handling a wide range of matters on behalf of franchisors and franchisees.

Brazil: Government Contracts 2018

Our research into the field of government contracts highlights nine individuals who excel in the space this year. They provide strong expertise on issues including public-private partnerships, regulatory matters and bidding processes.

Brazil: Insurance & Reinsurance 2018

Our research has identified 22 exceptional insurance and reinsurance practitioners this year, who are highlighted for their outstanding work in the field.

Brazil: Labour & Employment 2018

Here we recognise 33 individuals who stand out for their impressive work handling collective and individual matters in both the public and private sector, including treatment of workers, restrictive covenants, transfers of undertakings, collective bargaining agreements and team moves.

Brazil: Life Sciences 2018

In this chapter we highlight 12 practitioners as the foremost life sciences specialists in the Brazilian market. The individuals listed boast expertise across a wide range of matters, including transactions, offering regulatory advice and litigating complex patent disputes.

Brazil: M&A 2018

Our research into the Brazilian mergers and acquisitions market this year sees 63 impressive individuals highlighted for their expertise on matters including cross-border transactions, finance structuring and divestitures.

Brazil: Mediation 2018

Two mediators are listed in this year’s guide, noted for their ability in dispute resolution.

Brazil: Mining 2018

We highlight 11 top-tier mining lawyers who stand out for their excellence when it comes to providing advice on regulatory, transactional and projects matters to clients across the sector.

Brazil: Patents 2018

In this chapter, 20 leading lawyers are recognised as leaders in the patents arena thanks to their impressive knowledge and experience in the field.

Brazil: Private Client 2018

In this chapter, 10 outstanding practitioners are recognised as the leading private client lawyers in the Brazilian market for their work advising domestic and international clients on a wide range of matters, including taxation, succession planning and family law issues.

Brazil: Private Funds 2018

In this chapter, we recognise 18 first-class professionals for their expertise advising fund managers and investors on the full range of matters relating to the formation and regulation of private fund structures.

Brazil: Product Liability Defence 2018

Here we recognise seven top-tier practitioners for their vast expertise advising clients on complex product liability defence matters.

Brazil: Project Finance 2018

In this chapter we highlight 23 leading lawyers who stand out for their exceptional work handling project financings across various sectors, from oil and gas to infrastructure.

Brazil: Real Estate 2018

This year we highlight 13 impressive real estate lawyers for their first-rate work on financing, structuring and development of real estate projects, as well as sector-related transactions and corporate matters.

Brazil: Restructuring and Insolvency 2018

In this chapter we recognise 11 practitioners as the top restructuring and insolvency lawyers in the Brazilian market. They are highlighted for their excellence in representing financial and commercial institutions regarding operational and debt restructurings, as well as insolvency matters.

Brazil: Shipping & Maritime 2018

In this chapter we highlight 20 practitioners as the country’s top lawyers in the field of shipping and maritime law. They provide extensive expertise advising and representing clients including shipyard operators, ship and cargo owners, and insurers on a broad range of issues in the field.

Brazil: Sports and Entertainment 2018

Our research into the Brazilian sports and entertainment space sees 12 practitioners highlighted by sources for their impressive work in the field this year.

Brazil: Trade & Customs 2018

In this chapter we identify 29 individuals who are considered the leading trade and customs lawyers in Brazil. They stand out for their exceptional work in a range of matters from trade remedies to agreements and related disputes.

Brazil: Trademarks 2018

This chapter highlights 41 practitioners who are recommended as the key players in the Brazilian trademarks space, thanks to their strong experience advising and representing companies on a wide range of matters, including brand management, litigation and licensing.

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Firm Profiles: Brazil

Brazil 2018: Leading Firms

WWL's research into the Brazilian market is more comprehensive than ever. This year, practitioners from 299 firms are highlighted, nearly 40 more than in our 2017 edition. However, almost 30 per cent of all of the listings are shared among six excellent firms in the market. Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados lead the pack, with 71 listings in this edition, closely followed by Pinheiro Neto Advogados with 57 practitioners recommended. The leading firms this year are profiled below.

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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.

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