This Special Report covers 37 practice areas.

This will search all specialists in Brazil.

Brazil In Brief

As Brazil continues to recover from its recent economic instability, a corporate crisis in the form of the Lava Jato corruption investigation (also known as Operation Car Wash), and political unrest following the arrest of President Dilma Rousseff in August 2016, it is unsurprising that distress work has remained the bread and butter of domestic lawyers’ work over the past year. The Brazilian legal market has remained extremely active, as lawyers continue to advise clients on how best to survive their current financial difficulties and help them to look forward to future opportunities. Despite the recent turmoil, the economy has shown recent signs of recovery. Although foreign direct investment into the country declined between 2014 and 2016, the beginning of this year saw an increase, sparking lawyers to forecast a positive outlook for the next few years. 

Crisis Work and Dispute Resolution

It is unsurprising that the country’s economic situation has perpetuated the amount of crisis management work throughout the legal community. Multiple sources underlined the growth in restructuring work, with the recent financial difficulties affecting all sectors across the country. Many lawyers described their current workload as advising clients on the restructuring of their existing assets and assisting them with the reorganisation of their wealth. They also noted a trend towards out-of-court reorganisations. Despite this, the Brazilian legal market has highlighted the expected rise in litigation work coming out of the crisis as a current major source of work. Companies have become much more aggressive in protecting their assets and market shares, and as a result lawyers have seen an increased appetite for litigation. 

Consequently, the Brazilian market has also witnessed a surge in matters relating to alternative dispute resolution – most notably arbitration. Lawyers cite broken contracts as the main driver of this type of work, seen most prominently across the construction industry. One arbitration practitioner noted: “Almost 50 per cent of my caseload now involves some type of construction dispute.” With companies unable to financially fulfil their contractual obligations, arbitration continues to grow in Brazil, and is becoming an increasingly respected form of dispute resolution. Indeed, many sources highlighted a recent growth in support for arbitration moot competitions across the country, with most of the major universities putting forward teams and investing time and effort into competing at a high level. The domestic legal community seems to be focusing greatly on how to prepare the younger generation for a future in the arbitration field. As one lawyer put it, “We are expecting to see a vintage of great young arbitration practitioners soon.”

Foreign Interests

Foreign interest in the Brazilian market seems to be in a state of flux, with sources across various practice areas providing differing accounts as to the current situation. In many cases, European clients in particular are said to be reconsidering their business plans, and looking to close down some operations in Brazil and shift some of their investments and assets elsewhere. This trend is unsurprising given the current state of crisis across the country. Indeed in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business survey, the country ranks 123 out of 190 countries. However, corporate immigration practitioners have noted an uptick in foreign interest, most notably from China, where companies are seeing Brazil as an opportunity for investment, and are making inroads into plans to send foreign personnel over to work in the country.

One sector that seems to have flourished and performed particularly well over the last 12 months is aviation. According to lawyers we spoke to, the industry has shown signs of recovery, and has witnessed “a lot of movement in the area of foreign investment”. One obstacle for companies looking to invest in the Brazilian aviation industry is the foreign-stake limit on airlines, which currently sits at 20 per cent. However, over the past year, the government has contemplated adapting its airline ownership rules in order to create more attractive opportunities for foreign entities, in a bid to boost investment in the sector. In January, the administration began to draft a decree permitting 100 per cent of foreign ownership of local airline entities. Following this announcement, the share prices of many airlines jumped, including Azul SA, which saw an increase of 9 per cent.

The potential for increased foreign investment in the country’s aviation sector seems promising, with practitioners confident that the next few years will see an uptick in activity in the area for both the corporate and legal markets.

The Legal Market

Despite the presence of many international firms in the Brazilian market, including White & Case, Holman Fenwick Willan and Proskauer Rose, national outfits remain dominant in the country. This is reflected in our research this year in which the top 10 firms by number of listings are all Brazilian. The six firms with the highest number of nominations this year are highlighted in the following pages; between them they comprise almost 30 per cent of the total listings. The continued prominence of national firms in Brazil is evident, as is their entrenched position as leading choices for businesses seeking top-tier legal representation in the country.

The majority of the work in Brazil is conducted between its two largest cities – São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro – where over 95 per cent of this year’s nominations are based. Indeed, São Paulo stands out as the main legal centre in the country, boasting over 70 per cent of the total listings in this edition.


WWL: Brazil 2017 highlights the leading firms and most prominent practitioners in the country. Our research comprises 764 listings across 38 practice areas and features lawyers from over 260 firms, who are considered the most impressive names in their respective fields. 

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Analysis: Brazil

Brazil: Administrative Litigation 2017

Five practitioners are among the top litigators focusing on administrative law matters and related disputes between entities and government authorities.

Brazil: Agribusiness 2017

In this chapter, we highlight nine leading lawyers known for their expertise advising clients active in the Brazilian agribusiness sector. The featured practitioners advise on both contentious and non-contentious issues, including transactional advice, investment fund formation, contract drafting and litigation.

Brazil: An Interview with Rafael Dantas


In an exclusive interview with Who’s Who Legal, Rafael Dantas – legal director of corporate and litigation at Bayer SA – discusses his position in the company, the ever-changing role of in-house lawyers, the qualities he looks for when instructing external counsel and the challenges of practising in the life sciences sector in Brazil.

Brazil: Arbitration 2017

In this chapter we feature 41 practitioners who are highlighted for their abilities and expertise in domestic and international arbitrations. 

Brazil: Asset Recovery 2017

This year eight leading asset recovery specialists have been highlighted for their outstanding expertise assisting domestic and international clients with the tracing and recovery of assets.

Brazil: Aviation 2017

We identify 20 leading practitioners who are considered standout names in the field of aviation law. They are highlighted for their top-tier work handling a range of related matters including finance, regulations and litigation for airlines, insurers, aviation manufacturers, airports and regulatory agencies.

Brazil: Banking 2017

This year we identify 28 leading practitioners who are recognised for their expertise representing financial institutions and their corporate clients in complex transactional and regulatory matters.

Brazil: Business Crime Defence & Investigations 2017

We identify 15 leading practitioners in this chapter who stand out for their expertise in business crime law, as well as in the conduct of internal and regulatory investigations. 

Brazil: Capital Markets 2017

In this chapter, we recognise 36 leading capital markets practitioners. The featured lawyers are identified for their expertise in debt and equity capital market transactions, advising issuers and underwriters in IPOs, secondary offerings including rights issues, placements and other debt and equity issuances.

Brazil: Commercial Litigation 2017

This year’s research highlights 35 leading litigators who stand out for their top-quality advice and representations in contentious commercial contexts. 

Brazil: Competition 2017

In this chapter we highlight 43 pre-eminent lawyers who have been identified by market sources for their outstanding expertise in merger controls, cartels and abuse of dominance cases. 

Brazil: Competition Economists 2017

In this chapter, we highlight 14 eminent economists for their high-quality advice, analysis and testimonies in complex competition law matters including M&A transactions and disputes concerning alleged exclusionary conduct. 

Brazil: Construction 2017

Six leading construction lawyers are recognised as the eminent practitioners in the field. Their knowledge spans both contentious and non-contentious matters including transactions, project finance and disputes.

Brazil: Construction Review 2017

Construction Review - Julio Cesar Bueno

The Construction Industry and the Call for Concerted Action by Júlio César Bueno of Pinheiro Neto Advogados

In this article, Júlio César Bueno explores the issue of corruption throughout the international construction industry, highlighting not only the current problems that the industry faces, but also the way in which it can progress and move towards a future of transparency and good governance. 

Brazil: Corporate Governance 2017

We recognise 26 lawyers as the foremost corporate governance experts in Brazil this year. Their expertise spans advising national and international corporate entities on issues of compliance and regulatory matters alongside general governance issues.

Brazil: Corporate Immigration 2017

We feature five standout practitioners who are noted for their exceptional expertise assisting corporations with the immigration and naturalisation of skilled workers.

Brazil: Corporate Tax 2017

This year’s research identifies 57 leading corporate tax specialists who draw praise for their expertise in a range of complex domestic and international taxation issues.

Brazil: Corporate Tax Review 2017

Corporate Tax

In this article, Igor Nascimento de Souza at Madrona Advogados explores recent developments in the Brazilian corporate tax space. 

Brazil: Energy 2017

This year, we recognise 26 leading energy practitioners for their transactional, advisory and regulatory work across numerous industry sectors including oil and gas, electricity, power and renewables.

Brazil: Environment 2017

In this chapter, we identify 24 lawyers who stand out for their expertise advising clients in transactional, litigation and regulatory matters such as compliance, strategic planning, environmental due diligence, liability and deal structuring.

Brazil: Forestry Investment 2017

In this chapter we identify 11 leading players in Brazil’s forestry investment market. The featured lawyers advise on corporate, commercial and finance transactions in the industry.

Brazil: Franchise 2017

This chapter sees 10 practitioners recommended for their expertise in franchising and distribution matters, including structuring, management and disputes relating to both franchisees and franchisors.

Brazil: Government Contracts 2017

This year eight prominent practitioners are recognised for their excellent work handling PPPs and concessions, bidding for government contracts and public procurement.

Brazil: Insurance & Reinsurance 2017

This year, we identify 22 leading lawyers in the field recognised for their exceptional work handling advisory and contentious matters across multiple industry sectors for insurers, reinsurers and insured parties.

Brazil: Labour & Employment 2017

In this chapter we identify 28 impressive practitioners who stand out for their exceptional work in the field of labour and employment law. 

Brazil: Life Sciences 2017

This year we identify 13 leading practitioners who have been highlighted for their expertise in the life sciences sector across a broad range of areas including transactional, regulatory, product liability defence and patent litigation matters.

Brazil: M&A 2017

This chapter sees 55 esteemed practitioners listed for their expertise in corporate and commercial transactions in the Brazilian and international market across numerous industry sectors.

Brazil: Mining 2017

In this chapter, we identify 11 leading practitioners known for providing counsel and representation to companies operating across the mining sector. 

Brazil: Patents 2017

In this chapter, we highlight 19 leading patent litigators who have been recommended for their outstanding performances in disputes proceedings. The lawyers listed here represent Brazilian and foreign companies and have been recommended by market sources for their expert counsel and superb representation in contentious settings. 

Brazil: Patents Review 2017

Patent Review Luiz Leonardos

In this article, Ana Paula Jardim, Luiz Leonardos and Gustavo Leonardos at Luiz Leonardos Intellectual Property highlight recent updates in the Brazilian patent industry. 

Brazil: Private Client 2017

We recognise 11 practitioners in this chapter who stand out for their exceptional work advising on domestic and international private client law.

Brazil: Private Funds 2017

We recognise 17 leading private funds experts in this chapter who have been highlighted for their extensive expertise in structuring and managing alternative asset classes and advising on regulatory issues.

Brazil: Product Liability Defence 2017

In this chapter six leading lawyers are recognised for their outstanding expertise in product liability defence.

Brazil: Project Finance 2017

In this chapter, we recognise 21 project finance experts who are renowned in the market for their expertise advising sponsors and lenders on major project financing and refinancing transactions. 

Brazil: Project Finance Review 2017

Project Finance Julio cesar

Death, Taxes and Cost Overruns by Júlio César Bueno of Pinheiro Neto Advogados

Júlio César Bueno of Pinheiro Neto Advogados discusses the growing costs involved with construction and infrastructure projects as well as ways in which this "cost overrun" can be minimised. 

Brazil: Real Estate 2017

In this chapter, we feature six of the country’s leading real estate lawyers, who excel in commercial, retail, public and private real estate transactions alongside investment, REITs and disputes.

Brazil: Restructuring & Insolvency 2017

We feature 12 practitioners who stand out for their excellent work advising on corporate and financial restructurings and insolvency proceedings.

Brazil: Shipping and Maritime 2017

Seventeen leading lawyers are highlighted for their expertise across a wide array of contentious and non-contentious matters ranging from charter party disputes and salvage cases to construction and financial matters. 

Brazil: Sports & Entertainment 2017

Twelve leading practitioners are recognised for their excellent work handling sports and entertainment-related contentious and non-contentious matters.

Brazil: TMT 2017

We feature 33 individuals who standout as leaders in the Brazilian telecommunications, media and technology legal market. 

Brazil: Trade & Customs 2017

This year 23 leading trade and customs lawyers are highlighted for their expertise in the full remit of international trade and customs issues. 

Brazil: Trademarks 2017

In this chapter we recognise 33 of the country’s premier trademarks specialists. The featured lawyers have a proven track record of advising and representing companies from a wide range of industry sectors on trademark portfolio management, infringement proceedings, anti-counterfeiting and domain names.

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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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