Brazil, currently the sixth largest economy in the world, has benefited from a government policy based on maintaining economic stability which has so far allowed it to avoid the worst of the global financial crisis. Although 2012 saw a downturn in growth, the last several years of economic advancement mean that the financial system remains strong.
For the last few years, Brazil’s steady progress amid global chaos has seen it heralded as a hotspot for international expansion. Over 2012, Brazil has experienced a noticeable slowdown in its growth – experts are forecasting growth of only 1.62 per cent, compared to 2.7 per cent in 2011. However, foreign investment is reaching record levels, GDP is predicted to rise by 4.5 per cent next year, and international companies continue to clamour for a piece of the international market. Corporations can also expect to benefit from president Dilma Rousseff’s commitment to improving Brazil’s infrastructure over the next few years, in order to secure long-term growth.
As far as lawyers are concerned, the market is variable. M&A remains the best-represented practice area with 40 outstanding lawyers identified. Although investors are still fairly risk-averse, certain industries such as infrastructure, hospitality and energy continue to provide plenty of work for the top lawyers. Corporate governance practitioners are also busy, responding to the steady increase of international corporations setting up shop in Brazil or merging with Brazilian companies. This is set to rise over the short term due to recent updates to the country’s antitrust regime, stipulating that mergers between certain companies must now be approved by regulators before the transaction is done rather than afterwards; lawyers are likely to be busy with a rush of last-minute deals until the regulations are properly implemented.
Competition is also a growing area for legal practice, with more lawyers than last year recognised for their work in this field. Local businesses are competing with each other to maintain an effective market position in the most expensive city in Latin America, as well as with international corporations attracted to Brazil’s reputation as an increasingly global power. While this provides fruitful work for competition lawyers, law firms themselves are still frustrated by the restrictive regulations governing their practice. The Brazilian Bar Association confirmed in July that it is refusing to relax its ban on multidisciplinary work, effectively stopping foreign firms practising local law or joining up with local Brazilian firms. This remains a contentious point for some lawyers who say that, in order to encourage foreign investment in Brazil, the market should be properly opened up to law firms – as across most other industries. However, foreign firms continue to establish a strong presence by striking up “formal accords” with local firms, such as Trench Rossi e Watanabe Advogados – associated with Baker & McKenzie International, a Swiss Verein, which is among the 10 highest-performing firms in our research.
The past year has also seen a marked increase in the amount of work seen by intellectual property lawyers, which is shown by an increase in the number of practitioners featured in our patents chapter. This is due largely to the short-term stimulus of the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in 12 Brazilian cities (including the financial centre, São Paulo), and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, encouraging a spate of new products. However, one can also identify a long-term trend of an increase in innovation and product development in Brazil to further enhance its economy, alongside its traditional focus on raw materials.
What can also be seen is a continuing trend of alternative dispute resolution, with many corporations preferring to settle their dispute outside of court. However, thanks to Brazil’s complex labour regulations, arbitration and corporate litigation remain strong practice areas in our research, with an increase in the number of practitioners featured in both of these fields.
Therefore, it can be seen that trends in the Brazilian legal market is changing along with its economy. Despite slight setbacks in growth over the past year, plenty of practice areas continue to go from strength to strength, with exceptional practitioners identified across an impressive 31 chapters.
Commercial arbitration goes from strength to strength in Brazil, and our research selects 28 leading individuals who are commended both as arbitrator and as counsel.
The Brazilian government has made a determined effort in the fight against fraud, drug trafficking and tax evasion and the superior courts continue their technological advancement on a day-by-day basis. In light of these advancements, lawyers are increasingly being sought for their knowledge to aid in national and international recovery attempts. In this chapter we select three of the finest practitioners who can handle complex and technical cases.
The aviation sector in Brazil has been active in the past 18 months, with lawyers remarking on an increase in mass torts litigation work relating to aircraft manufacturing and casualties. The country has seen passenger numbers grow by nearly 40 per cent in the past five years, most significantly from commercial users, and as the economy is expected to experience 4.6 per cent growth next year, according to the International Monetary Fund, commercial aviation is likely to increase. We list 11 lawyers from nine different firms that are highly regarded for their work in this area.
Our research into Brazil’s banking bar finds 13 lawyers from 10 different firms to be the leading names in the discipline.
The nine individuals listed below represent Brazil in a worldwide network of lawyers busily litigating cases uncovered as a result of the global recession. There is an ever-evolving system of regulation as Brazil, and clients are under pressure to tighten up their systems in order to curb the incidence of business crimes. This changing landscape demands a tenacious, knowledgeable and astute lawyer to meet the needs of domestic and international clients.
Despite a recent paucity of equity deals and IPOs, international interest in the Brazilian market has grown over the past year and the debt market has remained very active, and lawyers are positive about the future. We have identified 31 individuals who have been classed as outstanding for their capital markets work.
Sixteen outstanding commercial litigators are recognised in this section, demonstrating that demand for expertise in court has remained robust despite the increasing popularity of alternative methods of dispute resolution.
Brazil’s competition marketplace is in the midst of a transitional stage. The new competition law came into effect at the end of May 2012, introducing significant changes to merger control. Brazil now has a pre-merger notification system with elevated thresholds, which is expected to dramatically reduce the number of filings that Brazil’s Council for Economic Defence (CADE) receives per year. Although lawyers may be handling fewer notifications in the future, those cases that remain will be more complex and require competition law advice from an early stage in the merger talks. As the dust settles, lawyers expect to be increasingly busy on the cartel front as CADE turns its attention to opening up new investigations in the coming year. In this chapter we select 37 of the leading competition lawyers in Brazil.
Brazil’s much-documented schedule of major sporting events over the next four years has given rise to a boom in the construction sector, especially in the county’s major cities, where demand for new buildings is combined with pre-existing rejuvenation projects for impoverished areas. Our research found four lawyers whose services are in high demand in the current climate.
The expansion of commercial entities, competition and increased venture activity has made Brazil one of the fastest-growing economies in the past few years. As an emerging market, its business sector must reflect the changing governance standards within public and private entities, and its regulators are seeking to enhance the formal framework in accordance with international standards. Unsurprisingly, there is a significant overlap in the governance and M&A expertise in our edition as questions concerning the management of risk and internal arrangement of public bodies often arise during mergers, acquisitions and other corporate ventures. As governance matters become more complex – and more common – those with a true understanding of the area attract major clients and prestige in the market. We have identified 28 leading lawyers who are equipped to advise parties and state agencies in this area.
Brazil’s economy has remained strong and foreign investment keeps coming in. Deals are varied and transactions are complex, resulting in continued activity for tax lawyers – especially in the fields of advisory and litigation work. Thirty-three outstanding lawyers are listed this year.
This is one of the most dynamic and burgeoning fields of law in Brazil, which stands to reason given major recent finds of oil and its importance to Brazil’s economy. It is a heavily regulated industry and subject to political scrutiny. There are major corporate stakeholders and they demand finest legal services to protect and promote their interests. The 27 lawyers listed below are the ones that can provide it.
Brazil’s environmental law sector remains contentious as Congress attempts to balance the needs of industrial development with the protection of forests and other areas of national preservation. Skilled lawyers in this field therefore face a unique challenge; we identify 15 practitioners from a broad range of leading firms who continue to stand out for their knowledge and expertise.
The number of franchises in Brazil has grown over the past 10 years by an average of 10 to 13 per cent each year, according to the Brazilian Association of Franchising. This is attributable to the country’s simple and safe franchising model. This year, the industry is expected to grow yet again, by 15 per cent in terms of profits and by 10 per cent in terms of the number of franchisees across what now stands at over two thousand brands. The expansion in the market has translated into a lot more work for franchise specialists and we list six top lawyers in this year’s research.
Despite the uncertainty of the global economic situation Brazil’s economy has remained relatively strong. However there is still a need for first-class insolvency and restructuring practitioners, 14 of whom we list in this section.
The Brazilian insurance market has sustained a steady growth rate in recent years. As the economy grows, so does the need for insurance and international players continue to be attracted to the opportunities present in Brazil. The sector is becoming increasingly sophisticated with new products brought to the market, the latest being micro-insurance, supported by government incentives and aimed at the poorest sections of the population. Nine lawyers are selected for inclusion in this chapter.
Brazil continues to see a growth in internet use. The boom in online shopping as retailers test new markets and the increase in Brazil-based businesses using the Internet means that online data protection is currently a key issue. We feature 14 lawyers as forerunners in the area of internet, e-commerce and data protection law.
The level of foreign and domestic investment in the Brazilian life sciences industry in the past year has been “intensive”. This is reflected in the legal marketplace where lawyers have been very active, particularly on the M&A side. This year nine lawyers are featured for their work in this discipline.
Brazil’s economy has remained strong in recent years and record numbers of jobs are being created, partly due to the upcoming World Cup and Olympics. However the labour law has largely remained based on the 1943 Labour Code which is considered by some to be “rigid” and “impractical for a growing economy”. According to some of the lawyers we spoke to, the current regulations “actually seem to encourage workers to move jobs” and “create conflict between management and workers”. Thus management side, labour and employment lawyers are much in demand. In this chapter we identify 13 highly regarded individuals.
Despite the global market slowdown, M&A activity in Brazil has experienced a steady stream of public and private deals in the past 18 months and the trend does not appear to be slowing down. Private equity and private investors seem to be funding most of the ventures, mainly involving the hospitality, consumer, infrastructure, utilities and energy industries. The volume of M&A transactions rose in the first half of the year, up 7.1 per cent from last year resulting in $44.7 billion worth of deals. But there is still a significant amount of risk aversion in the market and lawyers explain that this will not abate for potentially the next 12 months, so a number of investments will be put on hold or uncompleted. This translates to fewer transactions but more preparatory and advisory work for lawyers. This year we list 40 of the top M&A lawyers.B
The mining sector in Brazil has not been unaffected by the global financial crisis. With companies facing difficulties raising funds there has been increased interest in partnerships and option agreements. The new mining regulation is eagerly anticipated and lawyers are reported to be advising clients on how they might adapt their businesses to the predicted new rules. Nine lawyers feature prominently in our research for their “depth of expertise”.
Brazil’s continuing economic growth and ongoing commitment to halving the approval period for patent applications by 2015 means that the area of patents law remains significant. An increase in patent and trademark applications is expected due to companies seeking to profit from the international sporting events coming up in Brazil: the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016. This year, we feature 14 lawyers as standing out in this field.
Brazil’s relatively sound economy and its recently reformed private funds regime means this sector has prospered over the past year. The legal market has remained busy with lawyers commenting that the year ahead could see even more work as Brazil is undoubtedly an attractive place for investment. We recognise eight lawyers for their work in this area.
This is a dynamic area of law in Brazil. With increasing levels of demand for product liability defence services lawyers are jostling for top spots representing the major corporate entities in the market. The eight professionals listed below are those consistently upping their games and providing world-class legal services.
Project finance work is high on the agenda in Brazil as it prepares to play host to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. The following 20 lawyers are selected as the leading experts in this field for projects both at home and abroad.
Brazil is the largest government buyer in Latin America, with an annual budget of 364 billion reais for goods and services for more than 20,000 companies. Key sectors for procurement include transportation, construction, infrastructure, medical products, ports, airports and information technology and all areas relating to the upcoming sporting events, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. This year we list six lawyers for their knowledge and reputation in the area.
Brazil is home to a small but vibrant real estate bar and our research indicates that the following seven lawyers are leading the expansion of the practice area in the country.
The communications sector in Brazil is evolving at a rapid pace, the market is increasing in size and sophistication and competition is picking up. The mobile market is an area of major activity: Brazil recently held its 4G licensing auction and those who won their bids are committed to providing coverage by the time of the FIFA World Cup in 2014. There have also been changes to regulations regarding pay-TV and lawyers are reported to be very active advising on compliance. We select 22 of the leading individuals in this sector.
The Brazilian shipping legal marketplace continues to be dominated by the well-established firms that specialise in this area with eleven lawyers from six firms featured this year.
In testing times for most of the world’s economies, Brazil continues to be the source of high levels of international trade. This sustained level of activity has seen a growing number of practitioners stand out in our research as experts in trade and customs, and we highlight 17 lawyers as market leaders in this chapter
Trademark lawyers in Brazil have been exceptionally busy this year. There is an increase in local clients expanding abroad and seeking international trademark enforcement. At the same time international companies are increasingly focused on Brazil due to the upcoming World Cup and Olympics. Twenty-three lawyers are recognised in this chapter for their outstanding work in this area.
Barbosa Müssnich & Aragão has a well-deserved reputation in Brazil and around the world for being a corporate powerhouse and capitalises on it to secure work for large Brazilian and foreign companies, commercial and investment banks, as well as energy and telecommunication companies. It counts Apax Partners, JP Morgan and Gafisa among its clients. Its strengths lie in mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, capital markets and intellectual property. This year the firm enjoys 16 listings in eight chapters.
Demarest e Almeida Advogados is considered “one of the most reputable firms in Brazil”, demonstrating a wealth of expertise in all areas of business law. As one of the largest firms in Latin America, with a permanent office in New York City, it is renowned for its quality of service across a diverse range of practice areas. Unsurprisingly, our research identifies the firm as a key player across 10 chapters, with a total of 17 listings.
Established in 1972, Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados is one of Brazil’s “elite” firms. With more than 300 lawyers, the firm offers national and international clients a seamless service across a full range of practice areas. The firm has five offices in Brazil (in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre) in addition to an office in New York. In recent times Machado Meyer has concentrated on bolstering its Rio corporate and energy teams and this effort sees the firm retain its position as a “market leader” across the board. The firm achieves 26 listings across 15 practice sectors.
Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados began as a corporate boutique in 1992. Fast forward 20 years and Mattos Filho has more than 200 lawyers specialised in a full range of legal sectors. Most impressively, the firm has achieved this growth without diluting its stellar reputation in the corporate arena. Mattos Filho is well known for its role in many of the biggest and most important deals in Brazil, largely due to its client base which includes a significant portion of the Fortune Global 500. The firm is headquartered in São Paulo and has two additional offices in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia as well as an office in New York. The firm earns 20 listings across 11 practice sectors.
Established 70 years ago Pinheiro Neto Advogados is one of the most respected law firms in Brazil and one of the largest firms in Latin America. It boasts 79 partners and a total of 362 lawyers, and has offices in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília – as well as an extensive network of correspondents throughout the country. The firm is well regarded for its impressive connections with the country’s leading banks and a long list of notable clients. The firm’s commitment to delivering excellence has made it a key reference point in the legal marketplace that other firms compare themselves to. This is evidenced in our research with 36 lawyers from the firm (across 47 listings) featuring in this edition, more than any other firm.
TozziniFreire Advogados was established in 1976 and is a “leading name” in the Brazilian legal marketplace. The firm has more than 300 lawyers operating out of five strategically placed regional offices and an international office in New York. The firm’s distinct characteristic is its depth of expertise which is maintained across a full range of legal sectors enabling it to provide the appropriate skills for each deal and client as required. This is reflected in our research, with the firm receiving 17 listings across 12 practice sectors.
Veirano Advogados was founded 40 years ago this year by Ronaldo Veirano and is now one of the country’s leading law firms. It is also one of the largest firms in Latin America with 43 partners and 242 lawyers spread across offices in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasília and Porto Alegre. The firm is allied with several highly respected international firms including Beretta Godoy in Argentina and Heuking Kuhn Luer Wojtek in Germany. It has a fantastic reputation among clients for providing an individualised and responsive service.
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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.