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THE LEGAL 500 > EVENTS > Roundtable: The Changing Role of the Brazilian GC

The Legal 500 Latin America Round Table Series: Brazil

The evolving role of the Brazilian GC

A select and prestigious group of Brazilian and Brazil-based regional general counsel attended The Legal 500 Latin America's roundtable on the evolution of the role of the Brazilian GC in the sunlit offices of sponsor firm, Barbosa Müssnich Aragão on Sao Paulo's Avenida Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek.

Key corporate sectors attending included those in tech, such as Oracle, Facebook and the Brazilian arms of both SAP and IBM; pharma, with Sanofi, GsK, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever all present; commodities group Bunge, retail multinational Carrefour; agrochemical and biotech giant, Monsanto; finance entities Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch-Bank of America; as well as others including TOTVS, Natura, Cofco, Grupo Abril and Votorantim Metais.

Starting from a consideration of the different facets of the development of the GC’s role (the increasing weight of compliance, data privacy obligations and cyber-security, reputational management, etc.), the conversation considered the in-house structures necessary to ensure a compliance function that could be considered “fit for purpose”. Next up was: ‘winning the cultural battle’ – i.e. the requirements necessary for moving from gaining in-house counsel a seat at the managerial top table, to firm-wide acceptance of a culture of compliance.

Final words sought to look towards future developments and the growing relations between human rights and business law. As the Temer administration limps towards the end of its term, Brazil remains mired in the ongoing political fallout of a corruption scandal -Lavo Jato- that has engulfed the entire political establishment. It remains to be seen to what extent congress will seek to neuter ongoing judicial processes. What is clear, is that it is increasingly the multinational private sector that is at the forefront of the maintenance of regulatory and ethical frameworks in the face of a broad public sector abdication of such responsibilities. Elections beckon in October.

Scroll down to see photos from the event