We were recognized in the 2021 edition of Latin Lawyer 250 – the definitive guide to the leading business law firms of Latin America and the result of more than 20 years of intensive research by Latin Lawyer’s editorial and research team.
Dias Carneiro Advogados – Trusted mid-sized firm with an international air
Dias Carneiro has more than proven it is a multi-disciplinary force to be reckoned with. The exceptional quality of its partners’ legal skills distinguishes the firm among a dense pool of competitors and wins it a place on some of Brazil’s most relevant transactional work. A lengthy list of affluent investors from across the world enlist the firm’s expertise on cross-border financing and infrastructure work, while its restructuring and insolvency group is a particular attraction too. Dias Carneiro’s partners are internationally educated, and this provides a certain sophistication to their legal ability that clients hold in high regard.
Following the financial blow brought to the world’s economy following the eruption of the covid-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, several companies turned to the firm to realign their business structure as the pandemic unfolded. Dias Carneiro fields a busy restructuring and insolvency practice group which became even more active.
The firm also was present advising in lending deals for companies in the medical sector which leant on global development banks for emergency funding to meet sky-high demand. IDB Invest turned to the firm in several deals, including providing a multimillion loan to a healthcare provider in São Paulo and also a landmark project finance transaction: the first US dollar-denominated solar project financing. This was a power purchase agreement contract for solar projects in north-eastern Brazil.
As expert legal talent is the centrepiece of Dias Carneiro’s full-service offering, the firm is active in recruiting top-tier lawyers each year. At the beginning of 2021, it elevated a lawyer to partner in its real estate group. Meanwhile, midway through 2020, the firm hired a corporate lawyer from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP just months after it promoted one of its own to counsel in its insolvency group. It is no mystery that Dias Carneiro’s secret to success is tackling the slew of sophisticated legal work that comes its way head-on with a robust team of partners.
Dias Carneiro leads the way with its transactional finesse in finance, capital markets and corporate work, but those assets have scored the firm busy tax, venture capital and labour areas too. Notably, a proportion of clients comment that the group offers niche knowledge on venture capital work, with a dedicated practice in this area – a valuable one to have as start-ups and fintech work continue to light up Brazil’s finance industry. Dias Carneiro’s times are efficiently fast, and its understanding of both client needs and legal complexities is deeply rooted.
Dias Carneiro’s data protection and technology practice is growing too and advises major companies in the sports, entertainment and gaming industries. Its lawyers here are well versed in the legal complexities of Brazil’s new data protection law, LGPD. Within that group, there is intellectual property expertise too. The firm has diligently built up a solid offering in arbitration and litigation in recent years too, with cases often arising from its stream of restructuring and insolvency work.
Managing partner Antonio Amendola is in charge of the firm until the end of his tenure in 2022. He comments that the firm aims to capture a lot of insolvency work in the year ahead. Meanwhile, the booming fintech and financial services sectors are likely to supply a great deal of work to the firm too.
Dias Carneiro sees diversity as a priority and launched a committee in 2020, made of three partners and three senior associates. The diversity committee holds round-table discussions to raise any doubts or propose new initiatives for making the office a more diverse space. The firm also participates in pro bono initiatives and United Nations programmes that combat gender, race, and sexuality discrimination among others.
The firm has a blended model of lock-step and performance-based compensation, while a committee is held for associates to discuss options for career advancement and bonus opportunities. Dias Carneiro regularly supports its lawyers in their legal education and funds LLM degrees.
This firm is highly recommended for services in the following work areas:
Key partners: Department head Artur Fernandes Andrezo is hailed as one of the best corporate lawyers of his generation. His sharp eye for detail and incisive legal strategy allows him to provide exceptional advice in high-pressure situations. Partner Thiago Flores is another widely recognised talent with an extensive background in M&A, corporate restructurings and capital markets work. Insolvency expertise is supplied in the form of seasoned arbitrator Laura Bumachar, who has devoted time to establishing a stellar insolvency group at the firm. She is adept at corporate restructuring and company recovery work. Eduardo Turkienicz leads the firm’s data protection and IP group, through which he has substantial experience advising commercial clients. Turkienicz is commended by LACCA Approved, a survey of in-house counsel, published by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer. Luana Komatsu Falkenburger left the firm in 2021.
Analysis: Dias Carneiro’s top-tier corporate and M&A group is stocked with business-minded lawyers that possess an ever-important international outlook. The majority of its lawyers are fluent in more than one language, and this pays off in shedloads with its impressive roster of foreign clients. Notably, this group advises globally-recognised financial institutions and development banks such as BNP Paribas and IDB Invest. The group guided the China Development Bank as a creditor in the widescale and complex judicial reorganisation process launched by mobile provider Oi, which is restructuring over US$65 billion worth of debt before Brazil’s insolvency courts. It advises several clients including investors in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2020, Latin Lawyer counted Dias Carneiro within the top percentile of Brazilian firms that closed the most M&A deals over the preceding 12 months.
Key partners: This practice group is led by Thiago Flores who is backed by an impressive grasp of public law and complex project finance matters. Ricardo Sanches stands out too for his advice to national companies, international development banks and investment groups.
Analysis: Dias Carneiro’s impressive roster of international financial clients and foreign investors wins it a lot of work where the project finance practice is concerned. This agile team are capable of taking on high-profile and big-ticket transactions with ease due to an in-depth understanding of public and administrative law. Along with regular advice to IDB Invest and the China Development Bank, the firm is familiar counsel to some of Latin America’s largest companies in the energy, telecoms and paper sector such as Spain’s Telefónica and Suzano – one of Brazil’s biggest players in the pulp manufacturing industry. In 2020, it was counsel to lenders IDB Invest and DNB when British investor Actis and US conglomerate Dow Chemicals struck a renewable deal for a group of solar farms in north-eastern Brazil. The novel transaction featured the first-ever solar financing in Brazil to provide in US dollars.
Key partners: The highly praised Ricardo Sanches leads the department and comes recommended in LACCA Approved.
Analysis: Dias Carneiro’s energy and infrastructure experience translates into work for the administrative law practice group. The team is adept at public procurement matters and public contracts, including related dispute resolution and litigation. Health regulatory agency Anvisa, telecom agency Anatel and transportation agency Antt are some of the regulators this team frequently deals with on behalf of clients. The Inter-American Development Bank is a long-term client and so are Fuji and Editora Melhoramentos. More recently, the team has increased its work on behalf of renewable energy clients such as Voltalia, First Solar, and EDP Renováveis for regulatory matters relating to financial and project transactions.
Key partners: Practice head Antonio Amendola comes recommended in LACCA Approved. Well-regarded Rodrigo Maito da Silveira.
Analysis: Dias Carneiro’s solid tax department is one of this firm’s flagship areas. It is often seen working hand in hand with the other departments, assisting clients on matters ranging from the tax structuring of M&A transactions, corporate reorganisations, real estate deals and project financings, to judicial recoveries. Tax audits, representation of clients in tax and customs disputes, preventive consultations on tax and customs issues, and assistance on tax incentives and special customs regimes, are among the other wide range of services the department provides. The team also represents clients before judicial and administrative tax courts. A power company recently hired the firm to challenge the tax authorities’ decision to not accept to offset income tax payments. Clients from the energy, steelmaking and pharmaceutical industries have figured lately in this department’s client roster.
Key partners: Practice head André de Melo Ribeiro, who is an experienced labour litigator and is recommended in LACCA Approved.
Analysis: Dias Carneiro’s labour practice group has earned itself a solid reputation and loyal following through its performance on complex labour cases. It has been praised by clients for its in-depth knowledge. Besides litigation in this area, the firm also assists in the modelling and review of company labour practices and advises on collective bargaining and day-to-day issues with labour unions. More recently, the group has steered companies through restructuring proceedings, layoffs and adopting new employment legislation changes in the face of financial uncertainty triggered by the covid-19 health crisis. Businesses in the food, technology, retail, pharmaceutical and logistics sectors are among those who consistently turn to the firm for assistance on corporate restructuring, litigation and hiring and dismissal, among other matters. Recent years have also seen the firm grow its portfolio of start-up companies and investment and angel funds. It also adds online gaming platforms to that list. It features French gaming group Ubisoft and US video gaming company Epic among its roster of tech-savvy international clients. Clients continue to commend the team’s clarity, objectivity, reliability and technical excellence. In a series of ongoing cases, Dias Carneiro’s labour team are helping several of its clients implement measures in response to the covid-19 pandemic. The employment measures include changes to annual leave, salary cuts, management changes and dismissals involving up to 20,000 employees. Brazilian electrics company nVent retained the firm in the closure of its industrial site in Brazil including complex negotiations with unions.
Key partners: Joyce Ruiz Rodrigues Alves, who has worked at agencies such as the Secretariat of Economic Law, the Secretariat of Economic Monitoring, and CADE.
Analysis: Well-rounded practice head Alves is personally involved in matters, and has built up an impressive portfolio of work including merger control filings. The firm counts clients such as Marubeni, EDK Mineração and Czarnikow. It has also helped Japanese and Chinese companies comply with Brazilian Competition Law. More recently, the team defended Redex and Araguaia on a CADE investigation regarding an alleged cartel in the telecommunications sector.