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Brazil > Environment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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São Paulo-based boutique Milaré Advogados is an environmental powerhouse noted for its ‘outstanding environmental permitting work’ and for its strength in litigation. In 2015, it assisted Norte Energia in administrative proceedings for the licensing of the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant. It has also been representing pulp and paper company Fibria in public civil actions concerning the alleged need to perform environmental impact studies regarding the cultivation, felling and transportation of eucalyptus trees; and successfully defended RB Properties against a public civil action aiming to void the environmental licensing process for the construction of a logistics complex due to its alleged location in a permanent preservation area and wetland. Recommended individuals at the 17-lawyer firm include Édis Milaré, who is ‘the go-to lawyer for legal opinions’; managing associate Rita Maria Borges Franco, who coordinates work relating to contaminated sites, solid waste, sanitation and the chemical industry; and managing associate Roberta Jardim de Morais, who focuses on the agribusiness, forestry and paper sectors and is ‘an excellent negotiator’.

Pinheiro Neto Advogados stands out for its experience in contamination matters, particularly in brownfield land recovery, and has a notable health and safety practice. Another strength is the handling of accidents; the group recently acted in relation to the flooding of the city of Ferreira Gomes due to increased water flow coming from three hydroelectric power plants which had been affected by heavy rainfall, representing one of the plant operators, Empresa de Energia Cachoeira Caldeirão, in discussions with federal, state and municipal authorities. The firm is also representing Monsanto and Syngenta in litigation before the superior court concerning the obligation to obtain environmental licences to perform research on genetically modified organisms. Antonio José Monteiro leads the five-partner group, in which Werner Grau Neto and the ‘professional’ Alexandre Jorge are also recommended.

Demarest Advogados’ eight-lawyer team has niche experience in historic heritage protection, and reverse logistics for the tyre, lamp and packaging industries. It assisted Compromisso Empresarial para a Reciclagem in negotiating an agreement for the implementation of a nationwide take-back system for packaging; and advised GE, Havells Sylvania and Osram on a reverse logistics system for lamps. On the contentious side, the group continues to act for Eli Lilly do Brasil in a public civil action claiming compensation for workers after alleged soil and groundwater contamination. The key figure is practice head Luiz Fernando Henry Sant’Anna. Also recommended are senior associates Lourdes de Alcantara Machado, who joined in January 2015, and Marise Hosomi Spitzeck.

The ‘very responsive’ Rio de Janeiro-based team at Lobo & Ibeas includes four partners, and has been acting for Chevron in civil actions and administrative proceedings concerning the Frade field oil spill; Petróleo Ipiranga in a case concerning its liability for an oil spill allegedly caused by a transportation company; and Andrade Gutierrez in two civil actions concerning alleged environmental violations in two large urban mobility projects in Rio de Janeiro. Practice head Oscar Graça Couto and Guilherme Leal are standout names.

TozziniFreire Advogados manages to ‘juggle tight deadlines and high work standards’, advising in relation to contaminated sites, groundwater contamination, waste matters and environmental accidents. It regularly handles administrative and judicial litigation, and is experienced in criminal proceedings. On the M&A side, the group advised Beraca on the acquisition of 30% of its shares by Clariant. The ‘intelligent’ Bianca Signorini Antacli and ‘customer-focused’ Adriana Mathias Baptista co-lead the team.

Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados, associated with Baker & McKenzie’s ‘strong footprint in Brazil matches perfectly with its global outlook’. The environmental group provides services ‘with the quality, personal approach, and flexibility in fee agreements that only small boutique firms are normally capable of offering’. Recent work includes advising an agricultural company on environmental, and health and safety matters. The two partners in the team are Hércules Celescuekci and Renata Amaral, who ‘communicates even the most complex issues in a cut-clear, solid, and business-friendly way’.

Veirano Advogados covers the full range of environmental matters, including solid waste, air emissions, waste water, and environmental licensing and permitting. It recently advised Microsoft on developing a strategy to ensure that electronic waste will be classified as non-hazardous. On the contentious side, it represented Vale Fertilizantes in litigation concerning emissions allegedly violating air quality standards; and Refinaria Riograndense de Petróleo in civil, criminal and administrative litigation caused by alleged contamination. Ana Luci Grizzi provides ‘precise recommendations’, and is ‘very competent’.

Dispute resolution specialist Andrade & Fichtner Advogados has ‘strong practical environmental experience’, particularly in the areas of infrastructure and construction. It advised Prumo Logística on the environmental aspects of the construction of the Superporto do Açú port and adjacent industrial complex, and assisted ThyssenKrupp concerning the construction and operation of the R$8bn Sepetiba Bay steel mill. The three partners in the team are the ‘pressure-resistantJosé Antonio Fichtner, the ‘very pragmaticVivianne Fichtner and Julio Rebello Horta.

With a well-known timberland and forestry practice, Gasparini, De Cresci e Nogueira de Lima Advogados covers the full range of environmental matters relating to forest land acquisition, contaminated land and the new forest code. Regularly undertaking environmental due diligence, it recently acted for Tree Florestal in relation to an acquisition of rural property. The practice is broadening to include other areas, such as animal rights. Aldo de Cresci Neto is recommended together with senior associate Bruno Kerlakian Sabbag.

L.O. Baptista, Schmidt, Valois, Miranda, Ferreira, Agel has a strong litigation practice, and provides ‘adequate solutions to complex problems’. It regularly handles environmental licensing proceedings, particularly in the oil-and-gas sector; its recent work includes advising Parnaíba Gás Natural on the construction of a gas processing and treatment unit as well as pipelines; and assisting Santana Exploração e Produção de Óleo e Gás in relation to the licensing procedure for a natural gas underground storage facility to be developed in the Recôncavo Basin. Marcio Silva Pereira was involved in both matters, and is ‘very easy-going, with solid knowledge of environmental issues and a very good network’.

Roberta Danelon Leonhardt leads the ‘accurate’ eight-lawyer environment team at Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados, which acts in areas such as solid waste, contaminated land and climate change. It advises BR Properties on all environmental issues arising from its real estate portfolio, including solid waste management matters and environmental licensing processes; and is representing Samarco in class actions and individual claims seeking indemnification and injunctive relief in the aftermath of a dam breach in November 2015.

Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga Advogados is particularly rated for waste and contaminated land matters and brownfield projects, and regularly handles environmental matters relating to infrastructure projects. The ‘friendly, intelligent and very capableLina Pimentel Garcia has ‘fantastic expertise in remediation matters’, and recently advised Rosneft on the transfer of environmental liability in taking over the operation of an oil-and-gas exploration and production project. Flávio Pereira Lima and Eduardo Damião Gonçalves are the other two partners in the team.

Motta, Fernandes Rocha Advogados is noted for its ‘admirable results-oriented approach’. Recent contentious work includes defending Construtora Queiroz Galvão against a public civil action concerning environmental damage arising from repair works on a state highway. On the advisory side, the firm assisted Vale in relation to climate change regulations, and several energy producers with day-to-day issues concerning the operation of their plants. However, as we go to press, key partner Luiz Gustavo Bezerra has left for Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga Advogados.

Pinheiro Pedro Advogados is a highly acclaimed environmental boutique with a strong profile in contentious work. Founding partner Antonio Fernando Pinheiro Pedro comes highly recommended, and has recently assisted clients with risk assessments and the obtaining of environmental licences for infrastructure and forestry projects. Another strength is acting for government agencies.

Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown delivers ‘timely advice’ and covers a broad range of environmental matters. Practice head Paulo de Bessa Antunes advised Transpetro in the aftermath of a pipeline break caused by burglars, which led to a 30,000-litre diesel spill, a water consumption stoppage and the closure of public facilities in three municipalities. In other work, the group advised the operator of thermoelectric plant Pecém on indigenous community issues encountered during the construction of a port, and assisted a real estate company on the sale of a remediation site.

BMA – Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão is ‘the complete package’ when it comes to environmental advice. Practice head Miriam Mazza is ‘always available and extremely knowledgeable on environmental matters’, and regularly acts on the environmental licensing of real estate projects. Another key quality is the emergency response team’s experience in handling environmental accidents.

Bichara Advogados specialises in infrastructure and construction-related matters. Luciana Gil Ferreira is valued for her ‘technical knowledge, positive approach and in-depth analysis of the subjects’, and recently represented MRS Logística in a public civil action seeking indemnification for noise disruption caused by railroad activities.

With particular strength in land acquisition, DDSA – De Luca, Derenusson, Schuttoff e Azevedo Advogados advised Global Fund Reflorestamento e Exploração de Madeira and BTG Pactual on their respective acquisitions of forest land. Practice head Flávia Marcilio Barbosa is experienced in handling real estate-related environmental work.

Recent work for Dannemann Siemsen Advogados, under the lead of Andrea de Menezes Carrasco, includes advising on compliance matters affecting mining sites; defending a client against an infraction notice concerning access to genetic resources; and negotiating compensation for the installation of natural gas facilities.

With a strong solid-waste practice, Felsberg Advogados advises numerous clients, such as the industry association of personal care, perfumes and cosmetics ABIHPEC, and the electronic equipment manufacturers’ association Eletros, on the implementation of a reverse logistics system. Other work included advising on the licensing of infrastructure projects, land contamination and biodiversity issues. Practice head Fabricio Soler is ‘diligent and dedicated’, and associate Luiz Carlos De Castro Vasconcellos has a strong niche in criminal environmental matters.

Lilla, Huck, Otranto, Camargo Advogados’ strengths include representing clients in civil class actions concerning environmental permits for infrastructure projects. The group is also experienced in matters relating to pesticides and other agricultural products. Founding partner Estela Maria Lemos Monteiro Soares de Camargo gives ‘sound and reliable advice’, and is recommended along with Gabriel Felício Giacomini Rocco.

Lobo & de Rizzo Advogadosalways strives to find an excellent solution’, and is particularly active in the licensing of new projects; it recently assisted Mercedes-Benz in relation to the environmental licensing procedure for a R$500m industrial site, and acted for Nestlé in negotiations regarding a research centre. The remediation of contaminated sites, prevention work in solid waste, and climate change matters are further areas of strength. Renata Soares Piazzon is highly recommended.

Public law specialist Manesco, Ramires, Perez, Azevedo Marques Sociedade de Advogados regularly handles environmental matters relating to public contracts, particularly sanitation and waste disposal contracts. Wladimir Antonio Ribeiro is the name to note.

Belo Horizonte-based Thiago Pastor leads Rolim, Viotti & Leite Campos Advogados’ environment practice, which focuses on energy and natural resources projects. It recently advised Kinross on the regularisation and environmental licensing of a mining project expansion, and also acted for Carpathian Gold, FEMSA and Vale.

Siqueira Castro Advogados handles environmental matters ranging from licensing proceedings and due diligence through to litigation. Simone Paschoal Nogueira has ‘excellent energy industry experience’, and co-heads the team with Renato Otto Kloss.

Lawyers at Souto Correa Cesa Lummertz & Amaral Advogados are ‘hands-on, competent and capable’. The group, which includes Porto Alegre-based Fabiana Figueiró, acts for a broad range of clients including BTG Pactual, Celulose Irani, Lenovo and Odebrecht.

Working in close co-operation with the firm’s corporate and M&A department, Souza, Cescon, Barrieu & Flesch Advogados’ environmental practice is active in due dilgence matters. On the contentious side, it defended Sany Indústria do Brasil against a civil class action concerning the installation of an industrial plant allegedly located in a permanent preservation area. Associate Rebeca Alves Corrêa de Lima Stefanini is the key name.

Tabet Advogados is highly recommended for crisis management advice following environmental accidents, and also covers due diligence, risk assessments and litigation. Founding partner Fernando Tabet is held in high esteem.

Specialist mining firm Azevedo Sette Advogados acts for names such as Belo Sun, Samarco Mineração, Reserva Real Empreendimentos Imobiliarios and Tiberina Automotive MG. Belo Horizonte-based associate Svetlana Maria de Miranda is the key figure.

In 2015, Campos Mello Advogados advised on environmental permitting proceedings relating to infrastructure projects, as well as on waste matters and on environmental law compliance. Terence Trennepohl heads the practice.

Lefosse Advogados has ‘excellent risk assessment capabilities’, and has recently acted in relation to telecoms tower permits and noise and odour emissions, as well as defending a class action concerning a contaminated area. Collaborating with the firm’s corporate and M&A department, the group handles environmental due diligence, and assisted Bayer on the carve-out of its hi-tech polymers business. Paula Chaccur de Cresci is ‘very astute and capable of dealing with the demands of foreign clients’.

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