fivehundred magazine > > Interview with… Joel Luís Thomaz Bastos, partner, Thomaz Bastos, Waisberg, Kurzweil Sociedade de Advogados

Interview with… Joel Luís Thomaz Bastos, partner, Thomaz Bastos, Waisberg, Kurzweil Sociedade de Advogados

What are the biggest challenges facing the Brazilian legal market in the next 12 months?

I believe there are number of challenges the market will be facing, especially given the upcoming elections and world events (the war in Ukraine, the lingering effects of the pandemic etc.). Chief among these difficulties I think will be inflation and its corrosive effects. We have a long history with inflation in Brazil but its are always numbing and affect the less fortunate the most. The legal market, as all other ones, will have to adapt.

Do you consider sustainability credentials important to your firm’s business?

Of course. How a company keeps itself in sync with the environment and social aspects is of paramount importance.

Have ESG considerations prompted you to re-evaluate the service you provide?

It has prompted us to re-evaluate how the firm affects and is affected in the bigger context of things, which includes the service we provide.

Where do you feel your clients need the most legal support in the next 12 months?

Litigation and debt restructuring, certainly.

What sets your firm apart from competitors?

We have been blessed with a team that has worked in, if not all, at least the greater part of the most complex and challenging restructuring and litigation cases in the last years, both in and out of court over the years, which uniquely positions our firm with proven expertise, innovation and outstanding track records in all sectors of the economy.

How much progress has there been with the government’s privatisation programme in the last 12 months and what are the wider ramifications of this process?

The main headline on the that issue is the Eletrobrás privatisation, which, albeit lengthy, has been successful thus far and serves as an example of what can be done.

Brazil faces a particularly polarised election in October 2022 do you have any particular concerns for the business environment – or in a more extreme scenario, for judicial security?

The extreme polarization raises grave concerns, since candidates and acting governments may go to foolhardy measures to simply try to gain advantage. Such extremism pervades all society, including the judiciary branch, not to mention attacks on the democratic system itself.

As regards restructuring and insolvency, are you expecting an uptick in restructuring processes due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic this year or next?

We expect basically the same flow we have seen in the past months. Inflation, more so even than the outstanding effects of the pandemic, will likely prove more challenging to the market so how the country adapts and corrects inflation will prove decisive.

Your firm has established a strong reputation in restructuring. What in your opinion are the skill-sets required by an aspiring insolvency and restructuring lawyer today, in order to build a successful career?

On the legal side a comprehensive knowledge of business, civil and procedural law are essential requirements. It is hard to find experienced lawyers who are knowledgeable in these fields but that also work them together in an efficient manner. Restructuring never has only one aspect to a problem so it is important to not be one sided in any given situation. However, the lawyer must never neglect to cultivate relationships, especially in a distressed market.

Are there specific practice areas you see as particularly thriving, which you intend to bolster in coming years? Are there any new areas of practice that have emerged recently?

I feel that, given the future challenges from elections and inflation, litigation (both judicial and arbitration) will likely see an upbeat workflow. Specifically when coupled with corporate and shareholders conflicts.

How active are members of your team in terms of thought leadership?

Very. A boutique law firm which essentially depends on how good or team is to needs to always have that the forefront.

What are your firm’s policies on diversity and inclusion? Does your firm have any specific diversity initiatives?

Our firm endeavours to provide opportunity and assistance to all the diverse groups and peoples, without prejudice to any.

What does innovation mean to you? Can you tell us about any specific innovation initiatives at your firm?

Innovation is both coming up with something new out of nothing, but also looking at old problems and issues in new ways. Our firm is prodigious in coming up with innovative solutions to legal challenges our legislative and judiciary systems present.

What technological changes have you implemented at your firm to improve the legal services you provide to your clients?

Especially new systems to control and run legal filings and proceedings, which, given the numerous and different systems each State uses is of paramount importance to not loose only clients’ time and value, but also quality and timing in a service providing context.

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