After a period of strong economic improvement, Brazil has seen a slowing down in the rate of GDP growth in recent years, with a deceleration from 7.5 per cent to 2.7 per cent in 2011, and down again to 0.9 per cent in 2012. Despite this, Brazil still had the world’s seventh largest GDP in 2012. While other countries are still recovering from the huge hit due to the recession, emerging markets like Brazil have benefited from relatively stable economic growth, low inflation rates and improvements in social welfare.
Brazil experienced little effect from the global crisis and thanks to this there has been a huge expansion in Brazil’s middle class in recent years, who have enjoyed increasing wealth. Brazil is also unique in comparison with other emerging markets given its combination of natural and structural assets. Thriving commodity exports of iron ore, petroleum and soybeans (particularly to fellow BRICS country China, which is Brazil’s largest trading partner as well as its biggest foreign investor), and the availability of natural resources such as oil and gas, have allowed Brazil to glide through a period of rapid and sustained economic growth. But this prosperity is beginning to show signs of slowing down, and the decrease in growth rate in Brazil’s GDP has been attributed to a drop in both foreign and domestic investment, and a fall in trade figures. The Brazilian Foreign Trade Association data shows a 5 per cent drop in Brazil’s exports to US $230.5 billion, and falling commodity prices are hitting hard.
That being said, Brazil is still forecast to continue growing, albeit at a slower rate than previous years. Because of this, a key concern is the insufficient nature of the existing infrastructure, which in its current form will be unable to sustain this domestic growth and dynamism in local and foreign trade. The bottleneck this creates is a major problem for the country’s infrastructure, and President Rousseff has made clear that she wishes not only to develop and modernise the regime, but more importantly, to expand the private sector’s share in the financing. Since taking office in 2011, President Rousseff has championed privatisations, and although it is unclear whether private investors will take advantage of the new concessions, her actions have highlighted the Government’s desire to increase the private sector’s involvement and to increase competition. To this end, a second four-year round of the Growth Acceleration Program (the first, known as PAC-1, being launched in 2007 with a goal of 503.9 billion reais) began in 2011, and nearly doubled previous investment goals to 958.9 billion reais. Investment opportunities have been made far more attractive, with promises of higher rates of return, increased financing periods and the encouragement of banks to offer short-term, low-interest bridge loans.
Of particular concern is a transport system deemed unfit for purpose, especially with the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games coming up. 104.5 billion reais of the budget for the Growth Acceleration Program has been allocated specifically for transportation development (particularly ports, airports and roads). The government has also recently made adjustments to the regulatory system to help stimulate investment, for example with the new Brazilian Ports Law, which aims to make Brazilian ports more efficient and increase competition and private sector involvement.
However, the upcoming global events are also a cause for concern from a social point of view. President Rousseff, highly popular when she first arrived in office, has seen her approval rating plunge in recent months. Brazil’s unemployment rate rose in June to the highest percentage (six per cent) since April 2012, signalling a weakening labour market. In June, Brazil was home to the largest mass protests the country has seen for a generation. The ignition point for these protests was the increase in public transport fares in São Paulo, from 3 to 3.20 reais, but quickly morphed into a wider demonstration against the cost of staging the World Cup and Olympics, corruption in the Brazilian government, and discontent with public services. A nationwide strike was called on 11 July, with tens of thousands of workers across the country joining in, resulting in ports and motorways being blocked, and banks and schools staying closed. These demonstrations prompted President Rousseff to present a package of investment and reform to public services, but it is necessary to wait and see whether this is enough to appease the growing discontent of the Brazilian population.
From a legal perspective, international law firms wishing to enter the Brazilian market still have to contend with regulatory barrier Provimento 91/2000. There was a question of the limits expressed in the regulations (including a ban on foreign firms practising Brazilian law) increasing further, but late last year the Federal Council of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) unanimously backed to maintain the current regulations. This is welcome news for those firms hoping to see further liberalisation in the upcoming years, thus allowing foreign firms to enter the market more easily.
Therefore, the key issues in Brazil today surround the next phase of their development as a major world economy. There has been a boom in the insurance and reinsurance market, with an average growth of about 13 per cent a year in premiums; our publication also sees a doubling in the number of lawyers listed for our corresponding chapter. But infrastructure reform is vital, in order to prevent Brazil’s growth from stalling. This is already starting to take effect, with an increase in the number of lawyers listed this year in related practice areas (see chart below). But it will be necessary to maintain a balance between aggressive private sector investment measures, and the general happiness of the population, to prevent further social unrest. Brazil must also ensure that it does not get left behind in the globalisation of legal practice, and as the stirrings of discussion regarding Provimento 91/2000 are rising again, we look with interest to the future of the Brazilian legal market.
Brazil continues to steadily build up a strong arbitration practice. The use of arbitration looks set to increase further as construction and infrastructure project investment rises. Coupled with this, the growing interest from foreign investors means that international arbitrators will be increasingly in demand. There are 31 lawyers featured in the following pages.
The fight against fraud continues in Brazil. The rapid growth of electronic transactions in the country and relatively low level of regulation has resulted in a high level of fraud associated with the banking and e-commerce industries. According to Brazil’s banking association, Febraban, the financial industry lost $700 million in 2012. In this sector we list three leading individuals in “high demand” to assist in the recovery of lost, stolen or misappropriated assets.
In preparation for Brazil’s turn at hosting the forthcoming World Cup and Olympics, the government has made a concerted effort to improve its airport infrastructure. The federal government plans to spend 748 million reais on civil aviation projects, 496 million of which will be spent on developing regional aviation. The heightened activity in this area ensures that aviation lawyers are in “high demand” and we select 15 of the finest lawyers to appear in this chapter.
Banking and finance regulation is currently undergoing change in a variety of markets important for the Brazilian economy. Currently under discussion in Congress is a proposal from the Brazilian Central Bank to redesign the previously over rigid payment services arrangements to meet the need for more flexibility, particularly given the growing importance of the mobile payment market. In agribusiness financing, the creation of the Depósito Interfinanceiro Vinculado ao Crédito Rural means that cooperatives are now able to raise funds directly from banks, leading to better funding for Brazilian rural producers. With all this transformation occurring, there are 13 lawyers listed in this chapter.
The past year has seen significant progress of the Clean Companies Bill through the legislative process. Having been passed by the Senate in July 2013, the Bill now awaits the signature of President Rousseff and if signed, is expected to take effect in 2014. The scope of the legislation is huge – corporate entities (both domestic and international) will become subject to civil and administrative liability for corrupt acts, introducing the notion of corporate liability in Brazil. If signed into law, companies will need to swiftly adapt to a much stricter legal framework. Eight lawyers are listed in this chapter.
Capital market conditions in Brazil have recently deteriorated due to concern over weak growth, high inflation rates and social unrest. On top of this there is widespread concern about the banking sector’s exposure to EBX companies, which is turning businesses away from bank bonds. Despite recent developments, practitioners in this area remain positive and are hoping for a market rebound in the near future. We identify 35 leading figures who exemplify the high standards of the Brazilian bar in this field.
Commercial litigation in Brazil remains an active practice and we list 23 lawyers with the necessary skills to assist clients with their most complex disputes.
Competition law in Brazil has been particularly active over the past year in light of the Brazil Council for Economic Defense’s stated objective to increase the number of cartel and single-firm conduct investigations in the medium term. Lawyers have also been busy in relation to the new competition law, which came into force on 29 May 2012 and changed the institutional design of antitrust enforcement, as well as making significant modifications to merger control. The practice area faces several challenges in the immediate future, such as ensuring that new claims are investigated promptly while also bringing long-standing and highly litigious disputes to a conclusion. Our research identifies 39 lawyers who are lauded for their expertise in the field.
The upcoming World Cup and Olympic Games has created a huge demand for infrastructure investment, yet Brazil is competing for a limited pool of capital across the world and as a result is trying to lure private capital by hiking the rates of return on projects. New infrastructure bonds are also expected to attract investment by offering foreign investors tax incentives. In this fast-paced environment, experts in the construction industry are needed now more than ever. Four leading lawyers are featured in this chapter.
Cecilia Vidigal Monteiro de Barros, Motta Fernandes Rocha Advogados
Brazil’s low corporate governance standards have long been a concern for investors. However, in recent years, Brazil has tried to gain the confidence of domestic and foreign investors by promoting improved standards. Legal and self regulatory reforms have both led to the increased participation of minority investors, meaning demand for lawyers in the corporate field is ever growing. In this chapter we feature 33 lawyers.
Corporate tax law in Brazil continues to change at a rapid pace; tax lawyers need to be “well informed” of any amendments. It also remains a highly litigious field and tax litigators reported to be “very active”. In this dynamic area of law we select 38 lawyers.
As South America’s largest power market, energy is one of the most dynamic practice areas in the Brazilian legal marketplace. It is forecasted that the country’s power consumption by 2020 will have grown by more than 500TWh and investment in infrastructure is expected to continue. As a result, expert practitioners in this field will continue to be highly sought. We identify 28 leading practitioners in this field.
Brazil is still battling between the challenge of environmental protection and the demands of a growing economy, and sustainability is a key concern. The after effects of the controversial Forest Code implemented last year are still being felt, with constant clashes between large agricultural interests and environmentalists worried about the destruction of the Amazon. It is now more important than ever to maintain the balance between the social and environmental needs of the country, meaning more work for environmental specialists. In this chapter, we identify 17 “outstanding” lawyers.
The Brazilian franchising sector continues to grow at a significant rate, showing no signs of letting up. With the middle class expanding, there are many opportunities for franchisors to expand their brands and the past few years have seen an increase in the number of franchisors as well as retail store openings. Following this success, there is real opportunity for the franchising sector to make a significant contribution to Brazil’s GDP and create much needed jobs. With this in mind, highly qualified franchising specialists are still very much in demand. We list seven lawyers in this chapter.
Information technology law is undergoing a period of transformation in Brazil. On 30 November 2012 President Rousseff signed in two new cybercrime laws. The laws amend and revise the Brazilian Penal Code to include crimes committed in the digital environment. Meanwhile, the “Marco Civil da Internet” bill, which was first proposed in 2009, still faces fierce opposition and has yet to be passed into law. In this chapter we identify 17 leading individuals.
Despite the volatility in global markets and the rise in corporate restructuring throughout the world, Brazil’s insolvency regime has seen little impact in terms of activity levels. Although there are no important amendments currently envisaged, Brazil’s entry into the global market may lead to more cross-border insolvency cases, which are currently not legislated for. This is a gap that may need to be filled soon, and in the upcoming years there may be growing demand for high-class insolvency specialists. We feature 14 lawyers in this chapter.
The growth of the Brazilian middle class is creating more opportunities in the insurance market, which has already seen significant growth in the past few years. As market maturity increases, further developments are planned for the micro-insurance market, as well as an upcoming review of the insurance reserves management strategy and market solvency protective measures. With this in mind, there is an ever-growing need for insurance and reinsurance specialists, to keep up with the increasing demand. We identify 18 lawyers for inclusion in this chapter.
Given Brazil’s recent economic success, Brazilian employment law has been widely criticised for failing to keep up with the issues of the day. This has led to companies relying on outdated legislation that may not necessarily be “fit for purpose”. Talks are in progress to update the legislation, but while all relevant parties agree that the situation needs to change, differing priorities have resulted in stagnation. Given the complexity and “inflexibility” of Brazilian employment law regulations, lawyers in this field are in high demand. Twelve lawyers are identified in this chapter.
The Brazilian regulatory framework for pharmaceuticals and biotechnology is in a constant state of change. The current framework is more extensive and complex than ever before and Brazil’s pharmaceuticals market is expected to continue growing rapidly over the next few years. With this in mind, there are currently several bills related to IP, patents, food and drug matters being considered by Congress, signifying the need for expert life sciences practitioners. There are 11 lawyers listed in this chapter.
Despite Brazil’s M&A market showing resilience through the financial downturn, it has experienced a decline in recent months due to the sluggish recoveries of the US and Europe and a slowdown in growth in China. M&A activity hit an eight-year low in the first half of 2013 according to Reuters, with only 279 deals reported. By comparison, in the first of half of 2012 the figure stood at 453. We select 43 lawyers for inclusion in this chapter.
The mining sector in Brazil is crucial to the nation’s economic stability, accounting for four per cent of GDP and nearly a quarter of all exports. Participants in the industry have been anxiously awaiting the introduction of new laws that aim to raise royalties on mineral wealth; compliance will be an increased area of focus for mining lawyers once the bill is enacted. As companies seek to encourage greater investment in the sector, our research identifies 10 lawyers who stand out for their expertise.
The Brazilian government’s current willingness to amend Brazil’s patents law means that significant reforms are in the pipeline. One important development could see an alteration of article 40 of the 1996 Brazilian Patent Law, potentially reducing the protection given to patents from 20 years to 10 years. Reform to the legislation dealing with items that are not patentable is also likely, given the pressure being exerted by corporations and research institutions. Eighteen lawyers are selected for inclusion in this chapter.
Wealth and succession planning for Brazilian individuals is in high demand and tax is a key concern. Tax authorities are carefully reviewing tax planning structures adopted by individuals, with the Brazilian Federal Revenue creating a special group responsible for supervising high net worth individuals. Changes to the income tax regime are foreseen for the future but as of yet have not been passed into law. Significantly, the US and Brazil have recently ratified a formal tax information exchange agreement, the first step in the process towards a double tax treaty, which could affect an individual’s ability to refrain from declaring their assets. Three leading lawyers are identified in this chapter.
Brazil is still considered a key growth market despite GDP growth slowing and continues to be a destination for international funds. Brazilian private equity funds are also holding their own and are investing heavily in the country’s infrastructure as well as in Brazilian companies. We select six leading lawyers to feature in this chapter.
Consumer protection is a priority for the Brazilian government and President Rousseff recently announced plans to create a new National Chamber of Consumer Relations which will bring together ministries, industry regulators and the Central Bank to afford shoppers greater protection and more rights. In this dynamic area of law, we identify 11 “stand-out” lawyers.
Brazil requires major investment in virtually all areas of its economy and infrastructure. The wealth of opportunities available in these different sectors and the growing trend towards privatisation means that Brazil is looking very attractive to foreign investors. The infrastructure and project finance areas stand to benefit from this as more and more specialist lawyers will be required to help deal with the multitude of potential transactions that it is hoped will begin to surface. There are 24 lawyers listed in this chapter.
Several important infrastructure projects are currently under way thanks to Brazil’s turn at hosting major sporting events. As the deadline draws ever closer, a number of tenders have been carried out by different branches of the public administration; offering opportunities to foreign companies who are usually at a disadvantage given Brazil’s freedom to discriminate in public procurement. There is a pressing need to simplify and speed up the public procurement process, evidenced by a bill currently pending before the Brazilian Congress, which would amend the Public Procurement Act and, among other things, permit all types of bids to be carried out electronically. Amid these developments, public procurement specialists are rising to the challenge. We feature seven lawyers in this chapter.
Although Brazil’s real estate market is still very much dominated by local developers, there is a growing input from foreign investors, making for a very optimistic future for the Brazilian property sector. Assisting those active in this sector are our eight top lawyers featured in this chapter.
Brazil is one of the largest telecoms markets in Latin America. With upcoming events such as the FIFA 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, the sector has been a hotbed of activity over the last 12 months with practitioners reporting a surge in work. We identify 24 leaders in this field.
In the first five months of 2013, Brazil registered its highest-ever trade deficit of more than 5.39 billion reais. Officials blamed much of the record deficit on state-owned Petrobas’ purchases of crude oil, but with recovery in Europe and the US sluggish and a slowdown of growth in China, demand for Brazilian exports has fallen and it is expected to be a challenging year. In this chapter we feature 17 leading trade and customs lawyers.
Companies are investing heavily in Brazil to take advantage of the country’s growing middle class consumers and the number of trademark filings has soared. The complex bureaucracy serves to drag out cases. This will likely increase further as Brazil’s turn at hosting the World Cup and Olympics draws nearer. Twenty-five lawyers are selected for inclusion in this chapter.
Founded in 1995, Barbosa Müssnich & Aragão now boasts 260 partners and three offices in Brasilia, Rio de Janerio and São Paulo. In just under two decades the firm has become one of the “heavyweights” of the Brazilian legal market with a particularly strong reputation in the areas of M&A, capital markets and corporate governance. In this edition the firm achieves an impressive 18 listings across seven different chapters, demonstrating the depth and breadth of its practitioners’ expertise.
Founded by professionals with more than 35 years of legal practice, 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 de Janeiro and São Paulo, 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.
Established in 1948, Demarest Advogados prides itself on its “high standard of quality” across a full range of business law areas. With four offices in major cities in Brazil as well as an office in New York, the firm represents a wide variety of clients from around the world, 15 per cent of which are listed in the Fortune 500 ranking. The firm has grown from strength to strength and today has more than 240 lawyers, making it one of the largest law firms in Latin America. Despite the firm’s growth over the years, its founding principles of technical precision and strict ethical standards remain central to the firm’s practice. In this edition the firm achieves 15 listings across 10 practice areas.
Luiz Leonardos & Cia mixes the 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 the interaction with clients. Created as a direct result of the split of Momsen, Leonardos & Cia on 30 April 2012, Luiz Leonardos & Cia has 23 partners and over 60 experienced professionals dedicated to all areas related to IP.
Founded in 1972, Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados remains a “first class” law firm in Brazil. The firm offers “outstanding” advice to a wide range of clients including large corporations, financial institutions and government bodies both home and abroad. With offices in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre and New York, the firm has a significant global presence, with around 350 lawyers working across a full range of services. The firm achieves 24 listings across 12 practice areas.
Four decades of decisive performance on the Brazilian legal scene
Founded in 1972, Machado, Meyer, Sendacz e Opice Advogados is one of Brazil’s most renowned and respected legal firms. Operating harmoniously in all areas of the law, the firm offers legal assistance to both Brazilian and international clients, including large corporations in the most varied sectors of activities, financial institutions and government bodies.
Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados was formed in 1992 by a group of like-minded lawyers bound by their commitment to professionalism and ethical conduct. The firm has now grown to more than 285 attorneys and enjoys a leading position in the Brazilian legal market. Mattos Filho is a full-service firm advising an “enviable list of clients” representing every major industry and business sector in the country. The firm achieves 26 listings across 15 practice areas.
Leading our research with more listings than any other firm, Pinheiro Neto Advogados demonstrates its excellence in the provision of legal services. Founded in 1942, the firm attracts lawyers of the highest calibre who are able to provide clients with innovative solutions that ensures the firm’s retainment of an impressive roster of clients. With offices in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, Pinheiro Neto is strategically positioned to advise clients throughout Brazil and its extensive network of lawyers worldwide allows the firm to handle a high-level of international and cross-border work. The firm achieves 56 lawyers in-guide across 24 practice areas.
Founded in 1942, Pinheiro Neto has played a prominent role in shaping the Brazilian legal and economic landscape. Credibility, innovation and an unyielding commitment to excellence, ethical conduct and quality human relations have been the hallmarks of Pinheiro Neto Advogados throughout its more than 70 years’ existence. Having grown organically and developed a distinctive, tight-knit culture, the firm continuously strives to be at the forefront, whether solving the most technically challenging legal problems, advising its clients on relevant strategic decisions or meeting the community’s interests.
TozziniFreire Advogados aspires to be one of the “elite” law firms in Brazil and judging by our research it is certainly meeting that goal. The firm has expanded rapidly in recent years and is known for its innovative and dynamic approach to the provision of legal services. Its leading reputation in the market ensures that the firm attracts the most talented lawyers as well as high calibre clients from Brazil and abroad. TozziniFreire achieves 19 listings across 13 practice areas in this edition.
Since its foundation in 1972, Veirano Advogados has delivered legal advice with the “highest quality” of client service. Today, the firm has over 270 lawyers and is one of the largest law firms in Brazil with offices in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Brasilia. With its established reputation in the international legal market, Veirano Advogados attracts clients of the topmost calibre. The firm’s practice spans a wide range of business law with notable strength in the areas of mining, project finance, labour and employment, corporate tax and trade and customs. As the firm enters its 41st year of existence, its ability to adapt to market changes and client needs ensures its continued success. The firm achieves 33 listings across 16 practice areas.
Xavier, Duque Estrada, Emery, Denardi Advogados is a law firm dedicated exclusively to tax matters and conceived to provide custom made services and solutions and exceptional quality work to clients, being capable of putting together intellectual and scientific knowledge, along with a practical approach.
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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.