It is with great pleasure and excitement that we, on behalf of The Legal 500, extend a warm welcome to the GC Powerlist: Brazil 2023. This highly anticipated publication is dedicated to recognising and celebrating the exceptional accomplishments of the top in-house lawyers in the country.
This publication showcases the remarkable contributions made by in-house legal professionals to businesses in Brazil. It serves as a testament to their expertise, leadership, and dedication to excellence. This year’s edition highlights the outstanding achievements and innovative approaches adopted, as those selected navigate the complexities of the Brazilian legal environment, tackling issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic, technological advancements, relationship with business partners, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and many others.
Within the pages of this edition, you will find detailed profiles and exclusive interviews with the most influential and respected general counsel across a diverse range of industries. These individuals have consistently demonstrated their ability to drive legal strategy, manage risks, and provide strategic guidance to their respective organisations. Their accomplishments serve as an inspiration to the legal community and exemplify the impact that in-house lawyers can have on their organisations’ business strategy and success.
This research brings to light several key findings, including the resilience and adaptability of companies during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the numerous challenges faced, business operations did not come to a halt. This was made possible through the remarkable efforts of in-house counsel, who worked tirelessly to navigate new regulations and guidelines, ensuring business continuity during these testing times. With growing concerns about the effects of the pandemic on mental health, several legal departments acted on it, including Petrobras’ legal team who, in the words of its general counsel, Taísa Maciel, ‘created a diversity, inclusion and welfare committee, to discuss relevant topics that affect our employees and society as a whole. This way, we are attentive to the care of people, without forgetting to look at the company’s business.’
Furthermore, the research emphasises the ongoing need for improvement in the relationship between the legal team and business partners. While in-house counsel demonstrated their value during the pandemic, there is still room for progress in fostering stronger collaboration and understanding between legal and business functions. As Carolina De Nardi, senior director and chief counsel for Latin America at Zoetis, affirms: ‘putting yourself in the shoes of your business partners is key to understand their priorities and needs. Once this happens, an in-house lawyer will have the ability to anticipate most concerns and questions. As a result, the relationship will develop and become strong with good level of communication and trust.’ As this research has recognised, by enhancing communication and alignment, companies can leverage the full potential of their legal teams to drive strategic decision-making and risk management.
The research also underscores the importance of embracing technology for the benefit of companies. With the ongoing acceleration of digital transformation, the introduction of technology has proved invaluable in ensuring business continuity. Interviewed in-house counsel emphasise the need for continued encouragement and adoption of technology to optimise efficiency, streamline processes, and unlock new opportunities for companies. As voiced by many interviewees, echoed by Fernando Borges Porelo, general counsel at AIG Seguros Brasil, ‘a technological advancement that I believe will greatly impact the role of any in-house legal team in the future is artificial intelligence. This technology presents itself as an important milestone for any employer of any industry to perform their work, and the legal sector is no exception to that rule. I believe AI will be a very useful tool, making our work more cost effective, simplifying tasks, and automating other duties that we find timewasting and unproductive.’ Technological advancements are inevitable and legal departments should embrace them and use them to maximise their efficiency as, like Ciro Azevedo, head of legal at Braskem, states, ‘it is up to managers to constantly monitor new technologies and functionalities that can improve the management of legal departments’.
There are many other relevant topics and challenges exclusively discussed in this publication, so we invite you to explore The GC Powerlist: Brazil 2023 and discover the extraordinary stories of these exceptional individuals. Through their experiences and insights, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the legal landscape in Brazil and the invaluable role played by in-house legal teams.
We would like to express our gratitude to all the in-house lawyers featured in this publication for their valuable contributions and for sharing their journeys with us. I am delighted to present to you this distinguished list of Brazil’s most exceptional, diligent, and celebrated in-house lawyers.
Francisco Faria e Castro | Lead researcher | GC Powerlist Series
The Legal 500, in partnership with Cescon Barrieu, held the long-awaited launch event of the GC Powerlist: Brazil 2023, on June 13th, at the Palácio Tangará, in São Paulo. Welcoming over 140 guests, the reception received the most renowned and diligent in-house lawyers in Brazil, celebrating their incredible and well-deserved achievement.
The Legal 500’s editorial lead for the GC Powerlist: Brazil 2023, Francisco Castro, started the ceremony with opening remarks, before introducing Cescon Barrieu’s founding partner, Maria Cristina Cescon, who brilliantly congratulated those selected. Speeches ended with guest speaker, and selectee, Lara Piau, executive legal director at Neoenergia, providing some remarks on the challenges and accomplishments of an in-house lawyer in Brazil, as well as highlighting the comeback of the GC Powerlist series to Brazil and the positive impact the publication has on the professional growth and recognition of those selected.