Brazil is unique among emerging markets in its combination of natural, demographic and structural assets. Together, they create a ripe atmosphere for international business and finance that has naturally drawn the attention of global law firms, which have helped Brazil weather recent economic turmoil better than other countries. The importance of overseas interest is reflected in our research with a number of local firms enjoying associations and alliances with foreign outfits, such as Trench Rossi e Watanabe Advogados with Baker & McKenzie International, which is among the 10 highest-performing firms in our research. Pinheiro Neto Advogados emerges as the foremost domestic firm, boasting 47 inclusions in the research and it enjoys the accolade of being the only Brazilian firm in Who’s Who Legal 100, our list of the world’s top-performing firms. In 2013, lawyers expect to see the marketplace strengthened with more foreign firms entering the market to provide international law expertise, and competition to existing foreign firms, such as Jones Day, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, who all opened offices in São Paulo last year.
View the profiles of the leading law firms in 2012.
In July, the Brazilian Bar Association confirmed that it will not relax its ban on multidisciplinary work, effectively stopping foreign firms practising local law or formally partnering with local Brazilian firms. This is unlikely to change in the short term future but lawyers believe that as international interest grows in the market, the presence of foreign firms practicing foreign law will provide an incentive for a change in approach by the Association in the medium to long term future.