Barbara Rosenberg heads the competition and antitrust practice at Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão (BMA). She advises clients on all aspects of antitrust law, in particular those that arise in connection with complex mergers and acquisitions and cartel matters. She was formerly the head of the antitrust division at the Ministry of Justice. Ms Rosenberg and her practice have been recognised by Chambers Latin America, GCR 100 and The Legal 500, among others. Global Competition Review named Ms Rosenberg Lawyer of the Year (2015) and included in her in its “Women in Antitrust” list. She has been named one of the 13 most inspiring women in the legal profession by Acritas, and she is the only antitrust lawyer ranked as a Star Individual in Brazil by Chambers.
DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.
I was captivated by the competition/antitrust practice when I had the honour of being named director of competition at the antitrust division in the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, back in 2003. After three years in the government, I decided to move back to private practice and I joined Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão (BMA) to develop the firm's antitrust practice. I am proud of our team, which now numbers around 35, and we have been enjoying the challenge of working on very interesting merger and investigation cases.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO SPECIALISE IN COMPETITION LAW?
What enchants me the most is the possibility of getting to learn about different businesses, and the fact that it combines law, economics and advocacy. It is very dynamic and we never get bored, because every day there is a new business to dig into. I became more familiar with competition law as a student, when I was defining the topic for my Master’s thesis and competition law in Brazil was in its infancy – our legislation only dates back to 1994. I definitely enjoyed specialising in competition law during my LLM at UC Berkeley, and also during my PhD work, on antitrust and IP, one of the areas that interests me the most.
WHAT QUALITIES DO CLIENTS LOOK FOR IN AN EFFECTIVE COMPETITION LAWYER?
Clients expect that you truly partner with them to find a business-oriented solution to their issues. To make that happen, availability is key, as is a deep knowledge of the law and being up to date on all the case law. Given the international dimension of many of our cases, clients also expect that we have general knowledge of competition law elsewhere, especially to the extent it affects Brazilian cases.
HOW DO YOU EXPECT THE MARKET TO DEVELOP OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
With the consolidation of competition law in Brazil, we expect deeper and more technical reviews of competition cases. I believe CADE intends to expand the number of unilateral conduct cases, and the number of damage claims will likely also increase.
HOW DOES BARBOSA MÜSSNICH E ARAGÃO DISTINGUISH ITSELF FROM OTHER PLAYERS IN THE MARKET?
The fact that we have been involved in most of the high-profile cases in the last few years puts us in the privileged position of having a really thorough knowledge of CADE’s thinking and procedures, including interaction with other authorities and discussion of remedies. We also have a senior team dedicated to finding a solution, and willing to think out of the box.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?
I believe that the best achievements in my career are having been able to lead a team I am very proud of, and having the recognition of our work by clients and peers. In that context, I am especially proud that BMA won GCR’s award for Regional Firm of the Year – Americas in 2018. I’m also proud and honoured to have won the GCR’s Lawyer of the Year award in 2015, which goes to the most prominent individual in the field. And, most recently, I was particularly honoured to learn that I was the only individual in Brazil ranked by Chambers Latin America as a “Star Performer” in the competition field in Brazil. Those are indeed great achievements that indicate that effort and dedication are paying off.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG FEMALE LAWYERS HOPING TO ONE DAY BE IN YOUR POSITION?
Do not feel intimidated because you are a woman. Define your priorities and then go after what you aim for both in personal life and work. If you have the opportunity, find a woman to mentor you and network with other women as well. And, like any job you want to succeed in, you will need a lot of dedication, you will have to study and work hard, but it’s just as important to make sure you are happy and enjoy what you do, also balancing your work with other things that are equally valuable for you. In my case, for instance, it has been always key to make sure I would secure quality time with my husband and kids, even though work has been so demanding.