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Brazil > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Dispute resolution
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

A heavyweight in energy and environmental disputes, Andrade & Fichtner Advogados is currently acting for clients such as Odebrecht Ambiental, Parnaíba Gás Natural and Companhia de Transmissão de Energia Elétrica Paulista. It is representing the latter client in proceedings concerning the liability for the payment of R$2bn of debt, with Eletrobrás as alleged creditor; the highly recommended José Antonio Fichtner and Sergio Nelson Mannheimer are the lead partners on the case. The team, which comprises 36 fee-earners based in Rio de Janeiro, continues to expand its arbitration practice, with recent work including representing Arena Pernambuco Negócios e Investimentos in proceedings against the State of Pernambuco concerning the construction and operation of a football stadium.

Specialist dispute resolution firm Ferro, Castro Neves, Daltro & Gomide Advogados is regularly instructed by significant Brazilian companies in complex civil and commercial litigation; clients include Odebrecht, Cosan, Petróleo Ipiranga, AmBev, Embratel and Prumo Logística. Its recent work includes acting for a major gas company in a R$1.5bn dispute regarding a supply contract; and, on the arbitration side, representing the sellers of a pharmaceutical company in a R$400m case against the buyers concerning an escrow account, and acting for an international private equity firm in a $500m dispute concerning the annulment of a share purchase agreement for the controlling shares of a local company. Marcelo Roberto Ferro, José Roberto de Castro Neves and Eduardo Pecoraro are the names to note.

The highly recommended Gilberto Giusti leads Pinheiro Neto Advogados’ 33-partner team, which is particularly recommended for complex arbitration; standout practitioners, along with Giusti, are Renato Stephan Grion and Rodrigo Carneiro de Oliveira. Celso Cintra Mori is recommended for both arbitration and litigation, and is one of the partners leading the defence of Chevron in proceedings concerning the recognition in Brazil of a $9bn award rendered in Ecuador. In another case, the group represented Câmara de Comercialização de Energia Elétrica in relation to a claim by ABEEólica concerning alleged losses of approximately $265m relating to the issuance of injunctions in favour of hydropower plants.

Dispute resolution focused firm Sergio Bermudes Advogados covers the full range of litigation and arbitration, for clients including Dufry do Brasil Duty Free Shop and Merrill Lynch Capital Services. ‘Very experienced’ founding partner Sergio Bermudes heads the team together with Marcio Vieira Souto Costa Ferreira. Also recommended are arbitrators Marcelo Lamego Carpenter and Henrique Ávila.

Wald e Associados Advogados is a heavyweight in dispute resolution, with a longstanding reputation in the Brazilian market. A recent highlight was representing the chairman of Usiminas, Paulo Penido, in a dispute between the joint holders of the group, Ternium of Techint Group and Nippon Steel, concerning the dismissal of Usiminas’ high-level executives. Arnoldo Wald attracts high praise from peers and clients, as both ‘a very talented arbitrator’ and ‘an expert in litigation’. Alexandre de Mendonça Wald and the ‘excellent’ Arnoldo Wald Filho are also held in high regard.

BMA – Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão receives a steady flow of mandates through its signature corporate practice, and is particularly experienced in civil litigation. It recently represented DuPont in a collective action filed by a farmers’ union concerning the collection of royalties related to technology owned by Monsanto, which is allegedly applied to soybean seeds sold by the client. Luiz Fernando Fraga and Sergio Fagundes co-head the practice, with André Abbud also recommended. The three split their time between the firm’s Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo offices, while André Macedo is the name to note in Brasília. Marcelo Gandelman left for Souto Correa Cesa Lummertz & Amaral Advogados in August 2015.

Clients are ‘very pleased’ with Demarest Advogados’ service, ‘assertive manner’ and ‘strong dispute resolution skills’. Luiz Fernando Henry Sant’Anna’s group includes Luciana Goulart Penteado, who is ‘very committed and efficient’; Rafael Gagliardi, who ‘connects business acumen with legal expertise’ and has ‘a modern view of the legal market’; the ‘hands-onCelso Xavier; and the ‘brilliant and talentedMarcelo Inglez de Souza, who is ‘trustworthy’ and ‘very available’, and ‘excels in attending to the client’s demands’. The latter is representing Unilever in a lawsuit seeking reimbursement of R$390m for compulsory loans taken out in the early 1980s to finance the expansion of Brazil’s electrical infrastructure. Camila Biral Vieira da Cunha and Newton Marzagão were made up to partner in January 2016.

Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados is well versed in representing investors, controlling shareholders and administrators in corporate and banking disputes, and also covers environmental, regulatory and antitrust cases. In a recent environmental case, Eliane Cristina Carvalho defended Hines do Brasil Empreendimentos against a civil class action filed by São Paulo’s public prosecutor’s office to avoid the building of the Mococa Residencial. The firm also acted for Seripatri, the owner of a helicopter which crashed in April 2015, in proceedings filed by the owner of one of the houses affected as well as in negotiations with the families of the deceased. Carvalho leads the team together with Gláucia Mara Coelho.

Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga Advogados’ partners are noted for their ‘attentive participation’, covering litigation and arbitration. Flávio Pereira Lima acted for Companhia Energética de São Paulo in proceedings against the federal government claiming R$6.7bn compensation for assets returned to the state after the expiry of the public concession for the operation of the Três Irmãos hydroelectric power plant. ‘Sensational’ practice head Eduardo Damião Gonçalves is ‘one of the most outstanding lawyers in international arbitration’. Fernando Dantas Motta Neustein joined from Mattos Muriel Kestener Advogados and Cassio Gama Amaral joined from DR&A Advogados, while Eduardo Secchi Munhoz and Paulo Bezerra de Menezes Reiff left for E. Munhoz Advogados and DR&A Advogados, respectively. Since the end of research, the team has been further strengthened with the hire of Alex Hatanaka, formerly a director of the legal department at BoA-Merrill Lynch.

TozziniFreire Advogados is praised for its ‘quick response times’ and ‘excellent client service’, and has a team of arbitrators with strong cross-border experience, based in Brasília, Campinas, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. On the litigation side, it is particularly active in the energy and agriculture sectors. It recently defended Caterpillar against a R$25m indemnification action filed by thermoelectric power plant Xavantes concerning the sale of allegedly defective generators; and Coteminas against three farmers claiming the return of farms worth approximately R$150m which had previously been transferred to the client as payment of a debt. Other clients include Claro, Facebook and Ford. Flavia Andrade, Fernando Eduardo Serec and Antonio Marzagão Barbuto Neto are recommended.

At Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados, associated with Baker & McKenzie, the lawyers are ‘on top of every single detail of a case’, and have ‘a culture of strict ethical standards’. In 2015, the firm obtained preliminary injunctions for 11 clients against an order issued by the Commercial Board of the State of São Paulo requesting large companies to publish their financial statements. The group also defended Siemens against three class actions concerning damages arising from alleged cartels and bid-rigging in relation to train and metro company contracts. A ‘natural leader’, practice head Marcio de Souza Polto ‘has the capacity to identify the main issues at hand on the spot, providing very pragmatic solutions’, and Andrea Brick is highly rated for arbitration. Juliano Rebelo Marques left to become managing partner at Lautenschlager, Romeiro e Iwamizu Advogados.

KLA – Koury Lopes Advogados has a growing arbitration practice, recently handling cases concerning M&A and distribution agreements, and building contracts. On the litigation side, it is increasingly instructed in insurance cases, covering areas such as directors’ and officers’ liability. Other recent work includes assisting Votorantim Cimentos in relation to a claim aiming to annul a R$3.1bn decision in a cartel case against a former executive. Maria Cristina Junqueira and Tiago Cortez jointly lead the practice.

The ‘service-orientedL.O. Baptista, Schmidt, Valois, Miranda, Ferreira, Agel is a standout firm for arbitration, with practice heads Maurício Almeida Prado and Adriana Braghetta highly recommended. André Camerlingo Alves is well respected on the litigation side, and recently acted for Cetelem in a contract termination dispute with a large retailer. Renowned arbitrator Luiz Olavo Baptista left in March 2015 to found Atelier Jurídico.

Rogério Carmona Bianco heads Lilla, Huck, Otranto, Camargo Advogados’ dispute resolution group, which specialises in financial litigation but covers the full range of disputes. In an environmental case, the group is defending Enerpeixe, as concessionaire of the AHE Peixe Angical hydroelectric power plant, against civil actions filed by the public prosecutor and state public prosecutor concerning alleged non-compliance with environmental regulations. Hermes Marcelo Huck and Alexandre Domingues Serafim are also recommended.

The ‘fast and reliable’ team at Siqueira Castro Advogados has ‘a strong network in the political, economic and legal arena’, and its French desk is an asset for clients looking for ‘excellent intercultural negotiation skills’. Carlos Roberto Siqueira Castro and Fábio Coutinho Kurtz are acting for Vale in litigation filed by Instituto AERUS de Seguridade Social concerning a contract determining a restatement rate for the sale of gold. João Daniel Rassi is a key name for white-collar crime cases, and Adriana Conrado Zamponi is also recommended.

Veirano Advogados has recently been active in cases across the shipping, mining, telecoms and finance industries, including representing Eletropaulo in litigation filed against twelve cities which denied or failed to respond to a request to take over the administration and maintenance of public lighting systems from utility companies. Daniel Coelho and Sergio Laclau Marques are standout practitioners, and Priscila Sansone was promoted to partner in January 2016. Felipe Bastos Esteves left to found Pimentel, Bastos & Vega Advogados (PBV Advogados) in June 2015.

Arruda Alvim & Thereza Alvim Advocacia e Consultoria Jurídica’s contentious practice covers collective actions, civil procedures and arbitration, and is increasingly active in the latter area. José Manoel de Arruda Alvim Netto is ‘one of the best litigators of all time’, and Araken de Assis and Thereza Celina Diniz de Arruda Alvim are also recommended.

Castro, Barros, Sobral, Gomes Advogados has seen an increase in credit collection and contractual disputes, and recently represented Telespazio Brasil in litigation claiming compensation from telecoms regulator Anatel for applying unlawful requirements causing the loss of first-mover advantage. Advice on this case was led by José Augusto Leal; he heads the five-partner group, which includes the ‘very dedicated’ Alexandre Espínola Catramby and the ‘accurate and fastMarco Deluiggi. Eleonora Coelho left in April 2015 to found Eleonora Coelho Advogados.

Leite, Tosto e Barros Advogados Associados is active across a range of sectors, and excels in infrastructure, energy and construction disputes. It successfully represented JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company, in litigation against Banco Safra, which claimed repayment of debt owed by a company from which the client had purchased production units. Paulo Guilherme Lopes and Ricardo Tosto are ‘very committed, well prepared and professional’. In October 2015, Alexandre Paranhos and Carlos D’Ávila were promoted to partner.

Levy & Salomão stands out for its ‘stellar commitment to clients’. It is representing the competitive telecoms association Telcomp in litigation challenging the constitutionality of municipal taxes for the use of a public right of way to instal fibre-optic cables. The firm has niche expertise in aircraft accident cases, and counts Airbus among its clients. The key names are Bolívar Moura Rocha and Angela Di Franco, who is a ‘strong team manager and a delight to work with’.

Lobo & de Rizzo Advogados has wide-ranging experience in corporate and commercial disputes. Luis Fernando Guerrero is now a partner and has taken over as practice head from Ana Paula Hubinger Araujo, who founded APH Araujo Sociedade de Advogados. Guerrero acted for Colfax in proceedings regarding the dissolution of a joint venture, and defended Votorantim Cimentos against a lawsuit filed by Jnm Comercio de Pedras em Geral claiming the partial termination of a real estate purchase agreement and repossession of equipment.

The ‘timely and efficient’ team at Souza, Cescon, Barrieu & Flesch Advogados acts for a variety of major Brazilian companies, covering both litigaton and arbitration, where it has particular expertise in contractual disputes. Tiago Lopes, who has a ‘strong legal background and good business judgement’, represented Videolar-Innova in a claim filed against Inepar concerning the termination of a supply and services agreement for an industrial plant. The four-partner team also includes Gabriel Seijo Leal de Figueiredo, Carlos Braga and Ana Carolina Beneti. Since research ended, the team has been further strengthened with the hire of Helena Najjar Abdo from Gasparini, De Cresci e Nogueira de Lima Advogados, but Ana Carolina Beneti has left the firm.

Vella Pugliese Buosi e Guidoni Advogados regularly defends banks in class actions filed by the public attorney’s office regarding financial agreements and guarantees, and construction and oil companies against environmental class actions. The team also has a focus on cases in the real estate sector. Practice head Antonio Celso Fonseca Pugliese is ‘experienced, efficient and technically strong’.

Azevedo Sette Advogados has gained Anglo American and Grupo Pão de Açúcar as clients, and recently defended the concessionaire of Belo Horizonte airport against actions filed by passengers who missed flights because transportation equipment was not available. Ricardo Azevedo Sette and Paulo Ciari de Almeida Filho are key partners; former practice head Mauricio Marques Domingues left to found Lopes Domingues Advogados. The group acquired significant expertise in TMT-related disputes by taking over Barretto Ferreira e Brancher (BKBG) in July 2016.

Lefosse Advogados has a very active arbitration practice, and on the litigation side recently represented development bank KfW in proceedings concerning guarantees granted to secure loans extended to Brazilian companies for the construction of biomass power plants. Pedro Maciel is ‘experienced and calm’, and ‘adds value by focusing on the most important matters’. Carlo Verona and Raphael Nehin Corrêa are the other two partners in the team.

Newly established arbitration boutique Muriel Medici Franco Advogados is one of three firms resulting from the split of Mattos Muriel Kestener Advogados in February 2016. Marcelo Muriel, Fernando Médici Junior, Nancy Gombossy de Melo Franco and Álvaro Brito Arantes are all former partners of the latter firm, and now focus on agribusiness disputes.

Souto Correa Cesa Lummertz & Amaral Advogados has a team of five partners and 15 associates across Porto Alegre, São Paulo and Brasília, and provides ‘an excellent service’ and ‘timely and technical advice’, covering consumer, energy and environmental disputes. Its recent work includes defending Elektro Eletricidade e Serviços against a class action filed by a consumer association, claiming R$347m in damages arising from allegedly wrongfully calculated energy tariffs. Marcelo Gandelman joined from BMA – Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão in August 2015, and Roberta Feiten Silva was promoted to partner in December 2015. Guilherme Rizzo Amaral is another name to note. Since publication, the firm has hired Eliana Baraldi, former head of arbitration and mediation at De Vivo, Whitaker e Castro Advogados in São Paulo, as co-head of the firm dispute resolution practice alongside Gandelman.

Stocche Forbes is highly recommended for its work in the agribusiness and real estate sectors. Rafael Passaro recently defended Gerdau Açominas in a class action filed by the federal public prosecutor’s office of Minas Gerais, concerning alleged routine violation of weight limits for trucks travelling on federal roads. Passaro and the ‘experiencedDomingos Fernando Refinetti were joined in January 2016 by Luis Guilherme Aidar Bondioli, previously of Dinamarco, Rossi, Beraldo & Bedaque Advocacia.

Energy sector heavyweight Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown has invested strongly in the dispute resolution area, with the latest addition being Bernardo Weaver, who joined the firm’s São Paulo office in March 2016 and strengthens the anti-corruption and compliance side of the practice. Tax litigation is also an area of growth. Gustavo Fernandes de Andrade, Roberto Figueiredo, Leonardo Morato and Luciana Celidonio head the group, which acts for international clients such as ArcelorMittal, HSBC and Sonangol. Adriana Dias left the firm in October 2015.

Delivering ‘accurate work to a high standard’, Advocacia Fernando Rudge Leite is highly recommended by clients. Its expertise spans the construction, manufacturing, distribution, and retail sectors, with recent work including product liability and employment litigation cases. The ‘dedicated’ Luiz Antonio Gomiero Júnior is the name to note.

Ayres Ribeiro Advogados’ impressive client base includes FEMSA, Fiat, Samarco Mineração and Companhia de Telecomunicações do Brasil Central. Elisa Silva de Assis Ribeiro is recommended.

Adriana Astuto’s team at Bichara Advogados has been particularly active in the education sector, including representing Associação Nacional das Universidades Particulares in litigation challenging three state laws imposing new obligations and restrictions on private higher education institutions. Diogo Ciuffo joined from Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados in January 2016, reinforcing the firm’s arbitration practice.

CMT – Carvalho, Machado e Timm Advogados recently acted for Gerdau in filing a lawsuit concerning the renegotiation of a R$1.879m gas sale contract with Linde Gas; São Paulo based Luciano Benetti Timm is leading the advice on this, and is the key name for arbitration. Rafael Bicca Machado leads a strong Porto Alegre based team.

Covering litigation, arbitration and pre-litigation dispute resolution, Dias Carneiro, Arystóbulo, Flores, Sanches e Thomaz Bastos Advogados has an impressive client base. Notable lawyers include Joel Luis Thomaz Bastos, Arystóbulo de Oliveira Freitas and Ivo Waisberg, who is ‘very experienced in high-level disputes’; Waisberg joined the team together with Ricardo Pomeranc Matsumoto and 11 other lawyers in April 2015, from what is now Costa e Tavares Paes Sociedade de Advogados.

Gasparini, De Cresci e Nogueira de Lima Advogados has a broad dispute resolution practice, and is highly rated for insurance cases. It recently acted for ABB in a reimbursement action filed by Itaú Seguros concerning direct and indirect damages resulting from an insurance claim. Pedro Paulo Wendel Gasparini and Helena Najjar Abdo are the key names. Since research closed, Helena Najjar Abdo has moved to Souza, Cescon, Barrieu & Flesch Advogados.

Belo Horizonte-based Grebler Advogados is a dispute resolution heavyweight in Minas Gerais, with a second office in São Paulo, treating every client ‘in a highly professional manner’ and ‘as though it was the only one’. Eduardo Grebler and Flávia Bittar Neves are highly recommended arbitrators, and recently acted in an international arbitration concerning a contractual dispute between a Brazilian mining company and a foreign equipment supplier.

Newly established firm Inglez, Werneck, Ramos, Cury e Françolin Advogados already has a strong and diverse client base; particularly active in the automotive sector, it acts for major brands such as Nissan, Volkswagen and Volvo. Other areas of expertise include competition and pharmaceutical sector cases. Andréa Pitthan Françolin combines ‘excellent civil law knowledge with strong business acumen’; and Renato José Cury is ‘always available’ and ‘cares about the client’s needs’.

Real estate and education disputes are specialisms of Nogueira, Elias, Laskowski & Matias Advogados. The firm is representing Topázio Brasil Empreendimento Imobiliario in precedent-setting litigation concerning the possibility of transferring to real estate purchasers the responsibility to pay brokerage fees direct to brokers. Former judge Rubens Carmo Elias Filho and Carla Maluf Elias head the team.

Belo Horizonte-based Luciana Goulart Ferreira leads Rolim, Viotti & Leite Campos Advogados’ dispute resolution team, which is well regarded for arbitration. In litigation, the team represented Fiat and Mercedes-Benz in contractual disputes with dealers, and defended Viação Itapemirim against civil actions filed by the public prosecutor’s office concerning the allegedly excessive weight of buses travelling on federal highways. João Dácio Rolim is the key name in São Paulo.

Soares Bumachar Chagas Barros Advogados represents numerous clients in class actions, recently defending Companhia Energética São José in a civil class action filed by the public prosecutor’s office seeking compensation for damages resulting from the alleged unlawful burning of sugar cane. Laura Bumachar leads the five-strong team.

The ‘diligent and accurate’ team at Almeida Advogados covers strategic disputes and mass litigation. Andréa Rodrigues Seco leads the team of ‘excellent problem solvers’, which recently represented Jindal Steel & Power in a $20m collection claim against a Brazilian company.

Belo Horizonte based Campos, Fialho, Canabrava, Borja, Andrade, Salles Advogados handles dispute resolution work for clients such as Banco Mercantil, Usiminas, and Construtora Terrayama. Leonardo Canabrava Turra is particularly recommended for arbitration. The firm also has offices in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Cascione, Pulino, Boulos & Santos Advogados stands out for its competition expertise. The ‘experiencedAurélio Marchini Santos recently acted for White Martins in litigation against CADE, which had imposed a fine for alleged collusion in the industrial and medical gases market.

LL Advogados is building a strong practice in environmental and infrastructure-related class actions, with particular experience in litigation relating to ports. Arbitration is another mainstay of the practice. Luiz Eduardo Lessa Silva is a key name.

Lehmann, Warde & Monteiro de Castro Advogados’ Walfrido Jorge Warde Júnior is ‘sharp in detecting the strengths and weaknesses of different parties and negotiating in favour of the client’, and is acting for Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional in litigation against the Brazilian securities and exchange commission regarding Ternium’s mandatory public offer.

Lobo & Ibeas recently represented Eletronuclear in litigation filed by seven of the largest public contractors aiming to terminate two contracts for the construction of a nuclear plant currently being undertaken by the client. Name partners Carlos Augusto da Silveira Lobo and Hugo Ibeas are recommended for litigation and arbitration.

Name partners Ane Elisa Perez and Floriano de Azevedo Marques Neto are the key names for dispute resolution at Manesco, Ramires, Perez, Azevedo Marques Sociedade de Advogados. The firm specialises in public sector disputes, and regularly handles construction-related arbitral proceedings.

A specialist in energy and telecoms sector disputes, Mundie e Advogados represented various energy generators in litigation challenging the obligation to pay the generation scaling factor as of January 2015; and also represented mobile telecoms services providers in litigation challenging the new interconnect costs billing procedure introduced by Anatel. Arbitrator Carlos Forbes, Cristiano Carlos Kozan and Marco Vanin Gasparetti are recommended.

Perlman Vidigal Godoy Advogados’ dispute resolution team receives a steady flow of cases from the firm’s corporate practice, and has particular strength in arbitration. Practice head Luciano Godoy is ‘an excellent negotiator’. Since publication, the practice has been further strengthened with the hire of reputed family lawyer Ricardo Zamariola Junior (as partner) and his team.

Rio de Janeiro-based Raphael Miranda Advogados has a team of ‘well-trained and personable’ lawyers, specialising in the insurance sector. In 2015, founding partner Raphael Miranda acted for Eólica in insurance loss adjustment and indemnity litigation filed against Zurich Minas Brasil Seguros and ACE Seguradora.

Tax litigation is a key part of Roberto Ferraz Advogados S/C’s dispute resolution practice, with recent work including representing Robert Bosch in a dispute with the City of Curitiba. Name partner Roberto Catalano Botelho Ferraz leads the team.

Ulhôa Canto, Rezende e Guerra Advogados has a strong focus on arbitration, and particular strength in tax and administrative matters. Marcelo Beltrão da Fonseca is the key name.

Regulated sector disputes account for a significant share of Vieira, Rezende, Barbosa e Guerreiro Advogados’ caseload. Carlos da Costa e Silva Filho and Mauro Tortorelli are the names to note.

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