Firm Profile > MdME Lawyers > Macau, Macau

MdME Lawyers

Leading firms Tier 1

MdME's client portfolio includes some of Macau's largest corporations from the gaming, banking, insurance, real estate and energy sectors, as well as TMT, pharmaceuticals, retail and construction clients. Managing partner Rui Pinto Proença and 'standout' IP leader João Encarnação are recommended, as are José Leitão, who heads the construction and infrastructure, regulatory and compliance, and banking and finance practices; litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution head, Francisco Leitão; and retail sector specialist Tiago VilhenaTirso Olazabal heads the firm's recently opened representative Hong Kong office, which marked the first Hong Kong branch to be opened by a Macau law firm. Further growth in 2020 included the recruitment of business law expert Rui Filipe Oliveira, and employment and immigration law specialist Helena Kok, from Riquito Advogados and Galaxy Entertainment Group, respectively. At senior associate level, Fátima Dermawan is a dispute resolution expert, while Carlos Eduardo Coelho is experienced in corporate matters.


João Encarnação is a standout IP leader.

Key clients

Bank of China Limited, Macau Branch

The Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic of China

MMC Treasury Holdings (UK) Limited

Huafa Group

Emperor International Holdings Limited

Legal market overview

A special administrative region of China, Macau is a formal Portuguese Empire colony, which remained under Portuguese sovereignty until 1999, when it was transferred back to China. As a special administrative region, Macau’s system of government is legally separate from that of mainland China, while Macau law is broadly based on Portuguese law - Macau's legal code is written in Portuguese but all current legislation is now also available in Chinese – which itself originates from Roman law and is based on written statutes and codes. Widely known as China’s Las Vegas and making up about 50% of Macau’s economy, gambling tourism is the jurisdiction’s largest source of revenue, with visitors mostly comprising Chinese nationals from mainland China and Hong Kong. In 2018, the casinos in Macao generated a revenue of approximately $37.59bn, over three times larger than that produced by Nevada’s casino gaming industry. A transparent, non-discriminatory, and free-market economy, there are no restrictions in place in relation to foreign investment in Macau; both overseas and domestic firms are subject to the same business regulations, including Macau's Commercial Code. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, Macau’s economy faced huge challenges in 2020. In addition to its notable decrease in gross gaming revenue, Macau’s tourism, restaurants, transport, and retail sectors, among others, were also heavily impacted. In response, the government announced an Economic Stimulus Package that aimed to lessen Covid 19’s impact on the economy by providing financial assistance to SMEs, boosting domestic consumption, and protecting employment. A second financial package was also introduced, which aimed to complement the existing measures through further assistance to employees, businesses, self-employed professionals, and residents. There are a number of long-established law firms in Macau, all of which assist international gaming sector operators with their investments in Macau. Several of the jurisdiction’s legal practices are also full-service, and able to advise on financing, capital markets, insurance, real estate, and construction matters, along with IP, pharmaceuticals, telecoms, and commercial disputes and arbitration. Although a relatively small jurisdiction, the increasing levels of investment in Portuguese-speaking countries by mainland China and Hong Kong companies, as well as the ongoing development of economic links between Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau (Greater Bay Area) - a megalopolis that is also known as the Pearl River Delta - have resulted in some Macau law firms seeking out additional opportunities within the Greater Bay area. In late 2018, MdME Lawyers became the first Macau law firm to launch an office in Hong Kong; the office's establishment coincided with the opening of the 55km, Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, which is the longest sea crossing in the world.

Since its establishment in 2006, MdME Lawyers has put its particular brand of excellence, responsiveness and innovation at the service of major local and international clients, assisting them in some of the largest and most complex transactions, financings and disputes in Macau.

The firm has since expanded its footprint to include presences in Hong Kong and Lisbon. This presence in key markets, together with the membership of the Lex Mundi Network, allows the firm to extend its reach globally.

With its team of professionals qualified to practice in multiple jurisdictions, and positioned at the heart of key initiatives of the People’s Republic of China such as the Greater Bay Area, One Belt, One Road and the Chinese investment in Portuguese-speaking countries, MdME Lawyers is uniquely poised to take a relevant role in assisting clients in the context of both their inbound and outbound investments.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner; Head of Corporate | M&A, Gaming and Insurance Rui Pinto Proença +853 2833 3332
Partner; Head of Construction & Infrastructures, Data Privacy, Regulatory & Compliance José Leitão +853 2833 3332
Partner; Head of Finance and Real Estate, Capital Markets Tirso Olazábal +853 2833 3332
Partner; Head of Litigation, Arbitration & Dispute Resolution Francisco Leitão +853 2833 3332
Partner; Private Notary; Head of Intellectual Property João Encarnação +853 2833 3332
Partner; Head of Corporate Services, Employment and Retail Tiago Vilhena +853 2833 3332
Partner; Private Notary Rui Filipe Oliveira +853 2833 3332
Partner; Head of Employment and Immigration Helena Kok +853 2833 3332
Photo Name Position Profile
Ms Fátima Dermawan  photo Ms Fátima Dermawan Senior Associate
Mr Carlos Eduardo Coelho  photo Mr Carlos Eduardo Coelho Senior Associate; Private Notary
Mr João Encarnação  photo Mr João Encarnação Partner; Private Notary
Mr José Espírito Santo Leitão  photo Mr José Espírito Santo Leitão Partner
Mr Rui Filipe Oliveira  photo Mr Rui Filipe Oliveira Partner; Private Notary
Ms Helena Kok  photo Ms Helena Kok Partner
Mr Francisco Leitão  photo Mr Francisco Leitão Partner
Mr Tirso Olazabal  photo Mr Tirso Olazabal Partner; Head of MdME’s foreign law firm in Hong Kong
Mr Rui Pinto Proença  photo Mr Rui Pinto Proença Partner
Mr Tiago Vilhena  photo Mr Tiago Vilhena Partner
Partners : 8
Fee-earners : 25
Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin)
Lex Mundi - The World's Leading Association of Independent Law Firms
Employment Law Alliance (ELA)