City focus - Overview in Brazil

The Legal 500 City Focus sections take a closer look at the thriving local markets and high-end work led by firms with offices outside of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s main economic centres.From Manaus in the North to Porto Alegre and Curitiba in the South, and via Brasília, Belo Horizonte, and Recife and Salvador in the Northeast, the rapid economic growth and urbanisation experienced by Brazil in the last two decades has boosted an array of industries, most notably infrastructure, manufacturing, retail, agribusiness and technology, beyond the Rio-São Paulo region.In fact, some of the well-known national players and large São Paulo-based firms have already recognised the importance of setting up practices in local markets to cater for the specific nuances of their local business culture. On the other hand, some of the local and regional powerhouses which originally grew outside São Paulo have gained national prominence and since have expanded into São Paulo or elsewhere.Near the centre of the country sits Brasília. Founded in 1960 by President Juscelino Kubitschek to shift power towards and economically stimulate the interior of Brazil, it is the home of the National Congress, the superior courts and regulatory agencies such as the Brazilian Competition Authority (CADE). As such, Brasília is a national hub for litigation and public law lawyers and has become a key destination for the increasing number of firms offering government relations services (a close cousin of lobbying). Tax is another area of strong focus for Brasília-based lawyers as the city hosts the Brazilian Administrative Council of Tax Appeals (CARF).Best known for its natural resources and mining sector, Belo Horizonte is the capital of Minas Gerais, which along with São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro sits in the wealthy Southeast region of Brazil. Although many firms in Belo Horizonte are particularly skilled in large energy and mining-related projects and regulations, its dynamic M&A market and growing technology and start-up scene generate a strong flow of work for tax, corporate, dispute resolution and labour lawyers.In the South, our research focuses on Porto Alegre and Curitiba, the capitals of Rio Grande do Sul and Paraná, respectively. The South has long been a wealthy region with important agribusiness and manufacturing industries. Firms in Curitiba are therefore well versed in tax, disputes, and succession and wealth planning. Recently, Porto Alegre has seen a sharp increase in venture capital and start-up activity thanks to government-led initiatives, while its robust services sector keeps tax, M&A and dispute resolution lawyers busy all year round.In the Northeast, our coverage turns to Recife and Salvador, the capitals of Pernambuco and Bahia, respectively, two popular tourist destinations thanks in part to the region’s warm climate and famous coastline. The Northeast has become a promising hub for renewable energy, particularly solar and wind power projects. Key industries in the region include agriculture, oil and gas, manufacturing and retail, with lawyers in both Recife and Salvador often specialising in corporate, tax, labour law or litigation.At the top of the country, in the North region sits Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, Brazil’s largest state. The city is well known for its major inland port and vibrant tourism sector. As home to the Manaus Free Trade Zone, an initiative aimed at boosting economic development in the region, the city hosts many large multinational companies, including manufacturers of vehicles, electronics and pharmaceuticals, among others. As such, its legal market is specialised in tax, dispute resolution and labour litigation.