Law Firm of the Year: Brazil: Pinheiro Neto
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While 2017 signaled the end of Brazil’s recession, growth in 2018 hovered around 1% amid large fiscal deficits, legislative deadlock and political uncertainty ahead of the country’s presidential election. Still, it proved to be a busy year for Brazilian lawyers.
“We have been extremely active,” says Alexandre Bertoldi, a managing partner at Pinheiro Neto.
In January, Pinheiro Neto advised the global coordinators and bookrunners for PagSeguro’s IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, the largest Latin American tech IPO in history. The firm also provided legal counsel to the airline company Azul in its $1.2bn dual issuance on the US and Brazilian stock exchanges in September.
Also in January, Pinheiro Neto concluded a year and a half legal battle surrounding the Oi restructuring process. Pinheiro Neto advised an ad hoc committee of bondholders to ensure the independence of the restructuring from conflicting shareholder interests in what was the largest judicial reorganization proceeding ever filed in Brazil.
The election of Jair Bolsonaro in October ushered in more opportunities in what historically had been a quiet period. “In election years, we generally have a strong first semester, and things slow down in the second semester, because people would rather wait to see what happens in the election. But the 2018 election was different. Once Bolsonaro won, everyone benefited from the optimistic pro-market climate, which has carried over into this year,” Bertoldi says.
This optimism and potential market reforms convinced the firm to hire seven new partners and open new offices. “We opened up an office in Palo Alto, California in August designed to serve our tech clients. After many years without a presence abroad, we thought a Silicon Valley office would be different since it’s a unique market from which to serve our Brazilian clients,” Bertoldi says.