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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Victor Madeira Filho

Victor Madeira Filho

Madeira, Valentin & Gallardo AdvogadosRua Ramos Batista 19812th floorSão PauloBrazil04552-020

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Victor Madeira Filho is praised by peers for his contentious and non-contentious practice. They also highlight that he “has good experience and is renowned in the construction industry”.

Questions & Answers

Victor Madeira Filho, founding partner of the Brazilian law firm Madeira Valentim & Gallardo Advogados and vice president of the Brazilian Institute of Construction Law, is recognised by the construction industry as one of Brazil’s most notable construction lawyers. He has over 20 years of experience in the construction and infrastructure sectors, being highly specialised in the drafting and negotiating of construction contracts, public tenders and PPPs; the financing of major projects; and related complex arbitrations and litigation. Victor Madeira also has a significant role as an arbitrator and member of dispute boards in national and international conflicts involving the construction and infrastructure sectors.

What were the challenges of setting up your own firm? How did your background in construction help?

After working for a decade at one of the largest law firms in Brazil, and having the opportunity to work at a top-tier construction law firm in the USA – and as an in-house counsel at one of the largest infrastructure companies in Brazil – my goal was to open one of the first law firms in Brazil that specialised in the construction and infrastructure sector. So, the challenges were not only the usual ones related to creating a law firm from scratch, but also the difficulties of building something new in a legal market that was controlled by large, full-service law firms.

My solid background in national and international construction projects, as well as my experience of having already worked as a service provider and as a client, were very important for the success of my firm, allowing me to offer creative and tailor-made solutions that took into account the specifics of the infrastructure market and the expectations of the infrastructure client. 

In this sense, being a pioneer in creating a law firm highly specialised in this sector, with attorneys that deeply understand the details of a construction project, the related problems and the needs of the in-house counsel – these were the drivers to overcome the challenges of developing a new firm in the Brazilian legal market.

What are the most common sources of construction disputes and how do you think clients can minimise the risks of them occurring?

Construction projects are an unlimited source of conflict. According to my experience, the most common causes of disputes in such projects include unbalanced risk allocation; lack of clarity and ambiguities in contract documents; design or specification errors and incompleteness; variations and change orders; unforeseen conditions; poor contract administration; and problems with communication between the contracting parties.

To minimise the risks of disputes, I recommend: having construction lawyers assisting the parties on drafting and negotiating the construction agreements; using standard drafts of agreements; using building information modelling; having clear and detailed contractual provisions addressing variations, change orders and force majeure events; investing in proper contract administration, with the assistance of counsel (which includes having a proper record of the work performed and communication); and establishing contractual collaborative methods to avoid disputes, such as negotiation, mediation and dispute boards.

How do you seek to continually develop and maintain sector-specific knowledge to effectively handle disputes?

My firm is the Brazilian member of Construlegal, the working alliance of construction law firms for the Americas, and I am the vice president of the Brazilian Construction Law Institute (IBDiC). Both Construlegal and IBDiC are formed of leading local and international construction lawyers, and are a fertile environment for high-quality discussions about new trends in this field as well as research on improving tried and true methods.

In addition, it is important to invest in continuous education by attending specialised events and courses, as well as reading new books and articles produced by local and international authors. These measures are essential to maintain sector-specific knowledge.

What attributes make a successful construction lawyer?

As in any kind of profession, the key to success for a construction lawyer is hard work; understanding the sector and the expectations of your client; and delivering positive results to your clients.

What impact has the recent change in Brazilian government had on the construction legal market?

In the early stages of the Brazil’s current federal government, neoliberal policies were adopted, including privatisations of public companies and the establishment of public–private partnerships. In addition, a consistent decrease of interest rates was determined by the Brazilian Central Bank, reaching levels that discouraged investors to keep their funds in bank accounts.

This created a favourable scenario for new private investments in the construction sector, and consequently more work for construction lawyers.

What makes Madeira, Valentim & Gallardo Advogados stand out from its competitors in the market?

Besides the fact that Madeira, Valentim & Gallardo Advogados is a pioneer for highly specialised construction law in Brazil, our firm stands out from its competitors in the market because of the quality and expertise of its professionals; the effective involvement of the partners and senior associates in all projects and cases; and the collaborative relationship that we maintain with our clients.  

What is the most memorable case that you have been a part of?

It is hard to choose one, so I will mention three. First is the first arbitration for which our firm was hired to represent a client – the case was one of the largest construction disputes in Brazil at that time, and involved an alliance agreement. Second, a five-year project in which we assisted an international mining company in several contracts involving the construction of an iron ore beneficiary plant, a port and a pipe connecting the plant to the port. Third, the dispute board project for the 2016 Olympic Games, in which my firm – together with Peckar & Abramson and the Resolution Board Foundation – assisted the Olympic Committee on creating and managing dispute boards in the temporary facility agreements.    

You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?

I am driven by challenges and the current one is to expand my role as an arbitrator in international construction disputes.

Global Leader

Construction 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Victor Madeira Filho is "one of the best in construction" according to impressed peers who rate his litigation expertise.

Biography

Victor Madeira Filho is a founding partner and head of the construction and engineering practice at Brazilian law firm Madeira, Valentin & Gallardo Advogados. He is recognised as one of the best construction lawyers in Brazil.

His practice areas within construction, engineering and infrastructure include: civil construction projects; steel production projects; mining projects; logistics projects; energy projects; sanitation; contract negotiation; public bids; claims mitigation and dispute avoidance techniques; dispute boards and mediation; and litigation and arbitration.

Victor Madeira Filho’s accumulated practical experience includes: complex negotiation; strategic pre-litigation; ADRs; arbitration and strategic litigation; and financing agreements.

Victor Madeira Filho is also an experienced arbitrator and has been consistently appointed to be part of arbitration panels in complex construction disputes in both domestic and international arbitrations.

He is the vice president of the Brazilian Institute of Construction Law; a member of the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation; division eight of the construction forum of the American Bar Association; the Construction Law Society; and Construlegal.

He received his Bachelor of Laws degree (JD equivalent) from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP) and was a foreign associate at Peckar & Abramson PC, USA.

He speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish.

National Leader

Brazil - Construction

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Victor Madeira Filho is praised by peers for his contentious and non-contentious practice. They also highlight that he "has good experience and is renowned in the construction industry".

Biography

Victor Madeira Filho is a founding partner and head of the construction and engineering practice areas of the Brazilian law firm MVA Advogados – Madeira Valentim & Gallardo and is recognised by the construction industry as one of the most prominent Brazilian lawyers focused in construction law.

His practice areas within construction, engineering and infrastructure include: civil construction projects, steel production projects, mining projects, logistics projects, energy projects, sanitation, contract negotiation, public bids, claims mitigation and dispute avoidance techniques, dispute boards and mediation, and litigation and arbitration.

Victor Madeira Filho’s accumulated practical experience includes: complex negotiation, strategic pre-litigation, ADRs, arbitration and strategic litigation, and financing agreements.

He is a member of the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation, division 8 of the construction forum of the American Bar Association, the Brazilian Institute of Construction Law, Construction Law Society, the committee of dispute boards of CAM / CCBC and Construlegal.

He received his Bachelor of Laws degree (JD equivalent) from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP) and was a foreign associate at Peckar & Abramson PC, USA.

He speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish fluently.

Brazil - Project Finance

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Victor Madeira Filho draws strong praise from sources who highlight his impressive work on a range of projects, from mining to construction.

Biography

Victor Madeira Filho is a founding partner and head of the construction and engineering practice areas of the Brazilian law firm MVA Advogados – Madeira Valentim & Gallardo and is recognised by the construction industry as one of the most prominent Brazilian lawyers focused in construction law.

His practice areas within construction, engineering and infrastructure include: civil construction projects, steel production projects, mining projects, logistics projects, energy projects, sanitation, contract negotiation, public bids, claims mitigation and dispute avoidance techniques, dispute boards and mediation, and litigation and arbitration.

Victor Madeira Filho’s accumulated practical experience includes: complex negotiation, strategic pre-litigation, ADRs, arbitration and strategic litigation, and financing agreements.

He is a member of the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation, division 8 of the construction forum of the American Bar Association, the Brazilian Institute of Construction Law, Construction Law Society, the committee of dispute boards of CAM / CCBC and Construlegal.

He received his Bachelor of Laws degree (JD equivalent) from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP) and was a foreign associate at Peckar & Abramson PC, USA.

He speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish fluently.

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