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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Fernando Marcondes

Fernando Marcondes

LO Baptista AdvogadosAvenida Paulista, 12948th FloorSão PauloBrazil01310-100

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Fernando Marcondes is regarded as “one of the best” and “a leader in the construction field”.

Questions & Answers

Fernando has been involved in law for 40 years, and his first contact with construction matters took place 29 years ago. He has written several books and papers on construction, infrastructure, arbitration and dispute boards. He also teaches these topics on postgraduate courses, and at workshops and conferences around the world. Fernando acts as a lawyer and sits as an arbitrator and dispute board member in infrastructure projects.

Describe your career to date.

I started my career as a court clerk in 1980. After almost nine years, when I finished law school, I began work as a lawyer in 1988. 

In 1996, arbitration became a reality in Brazil. Identification with the construction market was immediate, so disputes in construction projects had quickly migrated to an arbitration environment. Since then, I have been acting as a lawyer and sitting as an arbitrator in several cases – more than 100 so far. I also sit as a dispute board member.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a construction lawyer in Brazil?

Being a construction lawyer means being ready to face hostile environments, such as construction sites, where lawyers are not normally welcome. It also means being prepared to go deep into very complex matters and to investigate a huge number of documents, searching for clues that can lead us to the heart of the matter.

Your firm recently expanded into China. What changes and benefits do you expect this move to bring?

We believe that Asia, and China in the main, is the future. The Belt and Road Initiative will change the face of the world, and Chinese companies are going to be involved in most of the mega infrastructure projects worldwide. Our clients are aware of the need to have China on their radar, so we decided to provide legal services to Brazilian companies in China, as well as assist Chinese companies in Brazil. To realise this goal, we allocated one of our partners to Beijing.

You combine your advisory and contractual work with dispute resolution, notably arbitration. How do the skills required for both activities complement one another?

Thinking as an arbitrator helps the lawyer in their strategy and teaches them how to behave properly in arbitration proceedings. You learn how to distinguish what really matters and what doesn’t. It’s a great advantage. Besides, thinking as a lawyer when you are sitting as an arbitrator helps you to be more tolerant of a lawyer’s behaviour and to be sensitive to their needs. 

You have been deeply involved with dispute boards as a way to settle disputes in the infrastructure area. To what extent is this a growing trend in Brazil?

After more than 15 years “preaching” dispute boards in Brazil and Latin America, I can finally see the increasing interest of owners and contractors in this fantastic tool. I have been part of a dispute board in the São Paulo Metro expansion works since 2017, and the experience has been highly worthwhile. 

What are the main challenges in terms of infrastructure for the new government in Brazil?

The new government must improve legal certainty and provide clear rules to future concession and PPP projects. There is a very competent technical team dedicated to doing so, and I believe that Brazil is about to see a significant increase in its infrastructure and economy. 

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in the field of construction law?

First, make yourself available to go wherever your client needs you to be. Be prepared to learn and understand lots of non-legal concepts, and to recognise totally different terms and language from what you learned in law school. Forget wearing a tie; don’t forget a hard hat and boots. And keep in mind that engineers want to build – try to respect their space and decisions. You must help them, not drive them crazy with formalities. 

What’s the secret of your success?

Wake up early. Be empathetic with your client and even-handed with other parties. Seek solutions, not problems. Go deep into your client’s business and try to understand all the aspects of it. And give opportunity to everyone. Success is something to reach as a group, never alone. There is no happiness in loneliness. 

Thought Leaders - Construction 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Fernando Marcondes is regarded as “one of the best” and “a leader in the construction field”.

Questions & Answers

Fernando has been involved in legal area for 40 years. His first contact with construction matters happened 29 years ago. He wrote several books and papers about Construction, Infrastructure, Arbitration and Dispute Board. He also teaches these matters in Post grade courses, workshops and conferences around the world. Fernando acts as a lawyer and sits as an arbitrator and Dispute Board member in Infrastructure projects.
What qualities make for an effective construction dispute specialist?
Construction business is an environment where the real, direct experience matters. It is not a place for abstractions. So, the real construction lawyer has to be ready to go to the worksites, deal with engineers on a daily basis and be conscious that his/her role is to help the client in business, and not transform the works in a legal battlefield.
Mediation is noted as an increasingly popular method of disputes resolution in Brazil. Why do you think this is the case?
Mediations are better for business. Arbitration is also a good way but it is not as quick and efficient as it used to be. The construction sector is very dynamic and demands quick solutions for disputes. It is even better when the solution comes still during the execution of the contract, so mediation, along with dispute boards, are preferable.
How has the new Brazilian administration impacted construction projects and disputes in its first year?
The new Government is working hard to put new concessions in progress. A very competent Infrastructure team is developing studies and creating way out of the historical difficulties that Brazil used to face. The covid-19 event is jeopardising such work, but Government is committed to go on in spite of any trouble.
The new regulatory law about basic sanitation is now a reality and we are looking for airports and roads concessions very soon.
In what ways is covid-19 affecting the Brazilian construction market?
Works that were already underway in March kept going normally, only respecting some restrictions. But new businesses are now in standby, since nobody knows in what direction the market is going to go after isolation. The real estate market will certainly suffer a great impact. The commercial buildings market will never be the same again and, in the other hand, the residential sector will probably increase.
How does LO Baptista distinguish itself from competitors in the market?
We are recognised for delivering personalised services with a high level of excellence. No other Brazilian law firm has a fully dedicated Arbitration team as we have, and most of our cases are related to Construction and Infrastructure contracts. Each professional is involved in no more than three cases at a time, which ensures a deep involvement that makes difference to the clients.
How has your role as president of the Club Español de Arbitraje and your other roles in arbitration institutions enhanced your practice?
To be involved in institutions like CEA is important to exchange knowledge and to maintain a good network, but for me, the most important reason is to share the experience that I have accumulated in my 40-year career and to form a new generation of professionals that will take the flags of good practices ahead. I founded the Brazilian Institute of Construction Law in 2011 and stayed as its president for the first seven years, and now the institution is one of the most respected in Brazil and abroad. I believe that it is important to spread seeds of knowledge and good practices to the future generations.
Looking back over your career, what is the most interesting and memorable case you have been a part of?
I work in a sector where big business is the rule: power plants, airports, highways, billion-dollar arbitrations. But there was a case that I remember with special care: in the first months of my career as an attorney I found an old lady lost in the Courts building, desperate, looking for someone that could help her to understand a situation that she was incapable of comprehending.
I decided to help her, despite the fact that she had no money to pay for my services. She was about to be trapped in a very serious situation caused by dishonest people. I represented her in a lawsuit, rectified the situation and saved her few goods (an old car and some family jewels). At the end, she gave me a very simple trophy with a plaque thanking me for the services. I kept this trophy for many years until a day when it simply disappeared. But the memory of this episode will be always with me. 
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
The next step in my career will be to close my activity as a lawyer and to dedicate the next years sitting as arbitrator and dispute board member. Those activities are not new for me, I’ve been doing it along the last 15 years, but I feel that sometime in the next few years I’ll migrate definitively to this position. My idea is to have more time to act in more international cases, mainly in Latin America and Europe, where I have developed an excellent network.

Global Leader

Arbitration 2021

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

Peers and clients say

“He is the person for construction arbitration”
“Mr Marcondes is also an arbitrator, so has a unique strength as he knows how arbitrators think, the main concerns of the case and the best ways to prove the client’s arguments”
“Fernando brings strong leadership and focus on the heart of the matter”
“He is a leader in the field”
“Fernando is one of the best”

Biography

Fernando Marcondes practises in the areas of construction, infrastructure, real estate and arbitration.

He represents national and international clients in major operations involving infrastructure; industries and real estate buildings; legal management of construction contracts; negotiation; and dispute resolution. He sits as arbitrator and dispute board member in construction-related matters. He has acted as an arbitrator in a number of procedures on infrastructure projects (hydropower, thermoelectric, wind power, highways) and mining.

Fernando is the author of Arbitragem Comercial, Guia Prático para o Cidadão; and the co-author of Construção Civil e Direito, Arbitragem e Perícia; Arbitragem – Temas Contemporâneos; Operações Imobiliárias – Estruturação e Tributação; and Métodos Judiciais de Resolução de Conflitos Empresariais. He is also the coordinator and co-author of Direito da ConstruçãoTemas de Direito da Construção and Direito da Construção no Ambiente Internacional. He is also the author of several papers on arbitration and construction law in magazines and newspapers.

Fernando is a former college civil law and construction law professor.

Fernando is considered one of the leading lawyers for arbitration in Brazil by Latin Lawyer 250LACCA Approved; and Expert Guides, which also names him in its list of the “Best of the Best” in Latin America. He is also “highly recommended” for his infrastructure practice by Latin Lawyer 250. In addition, he is recognised as a leading construction lawyer by The Legal 500, and as a thought leader in construction by Who’s Who Legal; and listed by Anuário Análise Advocacia 500 among the most admired lawyers in Brazil. Recommended by Chambers Global and Chambers Latin America for his skilled construction-related arbitration practice. He was also the only Brazilian construction lawyer appointed to Lexology: Clients’ Choice in 2020.

Fernando’s professional highlights include assisting on hiring and expansion work at a Central American airport; advising on a client’s internal cultural adaptation and negotiation of an alliance agreement for running public transport works; advising on arbitration relating to the work of a large hydroelectric plant; advising a highway concessionaire in various contracts on federal highways; project structuring for the construction of private port for disposal of grain harvest; construction contract for airport expansion and retrofit; assisting a construction company in arbitration proceeding related to oil refinery; assisting companies involved in infrastructure projects concessions related to the 2016 Olympic Games; assisting concessionary companies in arbitration proceeding related to highway concession contracts and construction-related matters.

Fernando speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish.

Fernando is the founder, ex-president and permanent council member of the Brazilian Institute of Construction Law; an appointed country representative in Brazil for the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation; former vice president of the infrastructure law commission of the Brazilian Bar Association (Rio de Janeiro section); and president of the Spanish Arbitration Club’s Brazilian chapter. He is also a member of the SindusCon/SP legal committee; the Society of Construction Law (London); the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and the Brazilian Arbitration Committee (CBAr). In addition, he is a member of the list of arbitrators at the CAM-CCBC; the Chamber of Mediation and Arbitration at CIESP/FIESP; the FGV Chamber; the CBMA; Arbitac; CamARB; and the Arbitration Centre of the Bolivian Chamber of Hydrocarbons and Energy.

Construction 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Fernando Marcondes is regarded as "one of the best" and "a leader in the construction field".

Biography

Fernando Marcondes practises in the areas of construction, infrastructure, real estate and arbitration.

He represents national and international clients in major operations involving infrastructure; industries and real estate buildings; legal management of construction contracts; negotiation; and dispute resolution. He sits as arbitrator and dispute board member in construction-related matters. He has acted as an arbitrator in a number of procedures on infrastructure projects (hydropower, thermoelectric, wind power, highways) and mining.

Fernando is the author of Arbitragem Comercial, Guia Prático para o Cidadão; and the co-author of Construção Civil e Direito, Arbitragem e Perícia; Arbitragem – Temas Contemporâneos; Operações Imobiliárias – Estruturação e Tributação; and Métodos Judiciais de Resolução de Conflitos Empresariais. He is also the coordinator and co-author of Direito da ConstruçãoTemas de Direito da Construção and Direito da Construção no Ambiente Internacional. He is also the author of several papers on arbitration and construction law in magazines and newspapers.

Fernando is a former college civil law and construction law professor.

Fernando is considered one of the leading lawyers for arbitration in Brazil by Latin Lawyer 250LACCA Approved; and Expert Guides, which also names him in its list of the “Best of the Best” in Latin America. He is also “highly recommended” for his infrastructure practice by Latin Lawyer 250. In addition, he is recognised as a leading construction lawyer by The Legal 500, and as a thought leader in construction by Who’s Who Legal; and listed by Anuário Análise Advocacia 500 among the most admired lawyers in Brazil. Recommended by Chambers Global and Chambers Latin America for his skilled construction-related arbitration practice. He was also the only Brazilian construction lawyer appointed to Lexology: Clients’ Choice in 2020.

Fernando’s professional highlights include assisting on hiring and expansion work at a Central American airport; advising on a client’s internal cultural adaptation and negotiation of an alliance agreement for running public transport works; advising on arbitration relating to the work of a large hydroelectric plant; advising a highway concessionaire in various contracts on federal highways; project structuring for the construction of private port for disposal of grain harvest; construction contract for airport expansion and retrofit; assisting a construction company in arbitration proceeding related to oil refinery; assisting companies involved in infrastructure projects concessions related to the 2016 Olympic Games; assisting concessionary companies in arbitration proceeding related to highway concession contracts and construction-related matters.

Fernando speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish.

Fernando is the founder, ex-president and permanent council member of the Brazilian Institute of Construction Law; an appointed country representative in Brazil for the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation; former vice president of the infrastructure law commission of the Brazilian Bar Association (Rio de Janeiro section); and president of the Spanish Arbitration Club’s Brazilian chapter. He is also a member of the SindusCon/SP legal committee; the Society of Construction Law (London); and the Brazilian Arbitration Committee (CBAr). In addition, he is a member of the list of arbitrators at the CAM-CCBC; the Chamber of Mediation and Arbitration at CIESP/FIESP; the FGV Chamber; the CBMA; Arbitac; CamARB; and the Arbitration Centre of the Bolivian Chamber of Hydrocarbons and Energy.

National Leader

Brazil - Arbitration 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Fernando Marcondes is lauded as a  "very strategic" lawyer who "knows how arbitrators think, the main concerns of a case, and the best ways to prove the clients arguments".

Biography

Fernando Marcondes practises in the areas of construction, infrastructure, real estate and arbitration.

He represents national and international clients in major operations involving infrastructure; industries and real estate buildings; legal management of construction contracts; negotiation; and dispute resolution. He sits as arbitrator and dispute board member in construction-related matters. He has acted as an arbitrator in a number of procedures on infrastructure projects (hydropower, thermoelectric, wind power, highways) and mining.

Fernando is the author of Arbitragem Comercial, Guia Prático para o Cidadão; and the co-author of Construção Civil e Direito, Arbitragem e Perícia; Arbitragem – Temas Contemporâneos; Operações Imobiliárias – Estruturação e Tributação; and Métodos Judiciais de Resolução de Conflitos Empresariais. He is also the coordinator and co-author of Direito da ConstruçãoTemas de Direito da Construção and Direito da Construção no Ambiente Internacional. He is also the author of several papers on arbitration and construction law in magazines and newspapers.

Fernando is a former college civil law and construction law professor.

Fernando is considered one of the leading lawyers for arbitration in Brazil by Latin Lawyer 250LACCA Approved; and Expert Guides, which also names him in its list of the “Best of the Best” in Latin America. He is also “highly recommended” for his infrastructure practice by Latin Lawyer 250. In addition, he is recognised as a leading construction lawyer by The Legal 500, and as a thought leader in construction by Who’s Who Legal; and listed by Anuário Análise Advocacia 500 among the most admired lawyers in Brazil. Recommended by Chambers Global and Chambers Latin America for his skilled construction-related arbitration practice. He was also the only Brazilian construction lawyer appointed to Lexology: Clients’ Choice in 2020.

Fernando’s professional highlights include assisting on hiring and expansion work at a Central American airport; advising on a client’s internal cultural adaptation and negotiation of an alliance agreement for running public transport works; advising on arbitration relating to the work of a large hydroelectric plant; advising a highway concessionaire in various contracts on federal highways; project structuring for the construction of private port for disposal of grain harvest; construction contract for airport expansion and retrofit; assisting a construction company in arbitration proceeding related to oil refinery; assisting companies involved in infrastructure projects concessions related to the 2016 Olympic Games; assisting concessionary companies in arbitration proceeding related to highway concession contracts and construction-related matters.

Fernando speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish.

Fernando is the founder, ex-president and permanent council member of the Brazilian Institute of Construction Law; an appointed country representative in Brazil for the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation; former vice president of the infrastructure law commission of the Brazilian Bar Association (Rio de Janeiro section); and president of the Spanish Arbitration Club’s Brazilian chapter. He is also a member of the SindusCon/SP legal committee; the Society of Construction Law (London); the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and the Brazilian Arbitration Committee (CBAr). In addition, he is a member of the list of arbitrators at the CAM-CCBC; the Chamber of Mediation and Arbitration at CIESP/FIESP; the FGV Chamber; the CBMA; Arbitac; CamARB; and the Arbitration Centre of the Bolivian Chamber of Hydrocarbons and Energy.

Brazil - Construction 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Fernando Marcondes is a “very well-known name” in the space and is praised for his work representing domestic and international clients in construction contract negotiations and disputes.

Biography

Fernando Marcondes practises in the areas of construction, infrastructure, real estate and arbitration.

He represents national and international clients in major operations involving infrastructure; industries and real estate buildings; legal management of construction contracts; negotiation; and dispute resolution. He sits as arbitrator and dispute board member in construction-related matters. He has acted as an arbitrator in a number of procedures on infrastructure projects (hydropower, thermoelectric, wind power, highways) and mining.

Fernando is the author of Arbitragem Comercial, Guia Prático para o Cidadão; and the co-author of Construção Civil e Direito, Arbitragem e Perícia; Arbitragem – Temas Contemporâneos; Operações Imobiliárias – Estruturação e Tributação; and Métodos Judiciais de Resolução de Conflitos Empresariais. He is also the coordinator and co-author of Direito da ConstruçãoTemas de Direito da Construção and Direito da Construção no Ambiente Internacional. He is also the author of several papers on arbitration and construction law in magazines and newspapers.

Fernando is a former college civil law and construction law professor.

Fernando is considered one of the leading lawyers for arbitration in Brazil by Latin Lawyer 250LACCA Approved; and Expert Guides, which also names him in its list of the “Best of the Best” in Latin America. He is also “highly recommended” for his infrastructure practice by Latin Lawyer 250. In addition, he is recognised as a leading construction lawyer by The Legal 500, and as a thought leader in construction by Who’s Who Legal; and listed by Anuário Análise Advocacia 500 among the most admired lawyers in Brazil. Recommended by Chambers Global and Chambers Latin America for his skilled construction-related arbitration practice. He was also the only Brazilian construction lawyer appointed to Lexology: Clients’ Choice in 2020.

Fernando’s professional highlights include assisting on hiring and expansion work at a Central American airport; advising on a client’s internal cultural adaptation and negotiation of an alliance agreement for running public transport works; advising on arbitration relating to the work of a large hydroelectric plant; advising a highway concessionaire in various contracts on federal highways; project structuring for the construction of private port for disposal of grain harvest; construction contract for airport expansion and retrofit; assisting a construction company in arbitration proceeding related to oil refinery; assisting companies involved in infrastructure projects concessions related to the 2016 Olympic Games; assisting concessionary companies in arbitration proceeding related to highway concession contracts and construction-related matters.

Fernando speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish.

Fernando is the founder, ex-president and permanent council member of the Brazilian Institute of Construction Law; an appointed country representative in Brazil for the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation; former vice president of the infrastructure law commission of the Brazilian Bar Association (Rio de Janeiro section); and president of the Spanish Arbitration Club’s Brazilian chapter. He is also a member of the SindusCon/SP legal committee; the Society of Construction Law (London); the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and the Brazilian Arbitration Committee (CBAr). In addition, he is a member of the list of arbitrators at the CAM-CCBC; the Chamber of Mediation and Arbitration at CIESP/FIESP; the FGV Chamber; the CBMA; Arbitac; CamARB; and the Arbitration Centre of the Bolivian Chamber of Hydrocarbons and Energy.

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