City focus - Overview in Brazil

The Legal 500 City Focus sections look at the high-end work being handled by firms with offices beyond São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, from Manaus in the north to Porto Alegre and Curitiba in the south, via Brasília, Belo Horizonte, and Recife and Salvador in the northeast. Some of the names may already be familiar, as indeed several São Paulo-headquartered firms have recognised the importance of local markets and set up offices there. On the other hand, some of the firms which originally grew up in cities outside São Paulo have gained national prominence and have since set up additional branches in São Paulo. As the capital city since 1960, Brasília is home to a large number of law firms, both independent, Brasília-based firms and full-service firms with offices in multiple cities. Tax lawyers in particular are no strangers to the city thanks to the presence of the Brazilian Administrative Council of Tax Appeals (CARF). Regulatory bodies such as the Brazilian Competition Authority (CADE) are also based in the Federal District, as are the country’s superior courts. As such, litigation, public law and regulation, and tax tend to be key areas of focus for lawyers working out of Brasília. Belo Horizonte is the capital of Minas Gerais, which, as the name suggests, is known for mining and natural resources. Many lawyers in Belo Horizonte’s active and sizeable legal market are therefore well versed in mining sector regulation and projects, while other notable areas of practice include tax, labour law and technology. Succession and wealth planning is also increasingly relevant for some Belo Horizonte-based firms as wealthy families seek assistance in this area. In the south region, our coverage includes both Porto Alegre and newly established Curitiba rankings. The south region as a whole is known as a prosperous one, and these cities – the capitals of Rio Grande do Sul and Paraná states, respectively – are key hubs. Agriculture continues to form an important part of both states’ economies; in addition, the automotive sector is particularly relevant in Paraná, as is the services sector in Porto Alegre. The northeast region is well recognised for its culture and history, and as such is a popular tourist destination during normal times. Our research covers both Recife and Salvador, each of which rely on their own specific industries. Of increasing importance in the northeast – as in Brazil as a whole – is renewable energy; as one of the sunniest regions in Brazil, this area has significant potential for solar energy, while the windy northeast coast makes it well placed for many of the country’s wind farms. Manaus in the north, though host to a relatively small number of law firms, also has its own peculiarities and legal market. The capital of Amazonas state is known as a major hub and gateway to the Amazon itself, making tourism particularly relevant. The city is also known for the Manaus Free Trade Zone, which was originally established with the aim of enhancing regional economic development.