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Latin Lawyer 250 2017

Mundie e Advogados

Brazil

Growing corporate and disputes clout from TMT experts

  • Established: 1996
  • Partners: 14
  • Total lawyers: 57

Mundie e Advogados was founded as a telecoms boutique, and although it retains a very high profile in that field, the firm has long since expanded, first into regulatory work and then into a broader corporate practice. Besides the firm’s flagship telecoms practice, power, aviation and mining are key areas. It also has a strong reputation across the corporate spectrum – indeed, it provides proof that smaller firms can provide excellent quality to clients even as transactions become more complex and multi-disciplinary. Infrastructure, administrative law, trade and tax litigation are among the practice areas tipped for growth in the coming years and the firm is scouting out possible lateral hires at both associate and partner level to strengthen its offering. Mundie e Advogados is also, like many others in this market, transitioning to a more professional model, bringing in new partners and responding well to the increasingly competitive marketplace. It recently created committees to oversee finance, billing, marketing and professional career development, and a COO has responsibility for the day-to-day management of the firm; freeing up senior partners to concentrate on strategic planning. To build stability into its junior ranks, the firm says it pays associates very well and places particular emphasis on them continuing their professional development through training, further education and experience abroad. A long-term strategy has been to establish boutique-style practices and focus on high-quality service provision, an approach that the firm confirms is paying off after a very successful few years. Clients line up to praise the high level of partner involvement in deals and cases and commend this team’s business savvy, industry-focused approach. Brazilian logistics company TNT Mercurio in-house Ana Eliza Franco Augusto, who hired the firm for corporate, labour, litigation and tax matters, goes on record to praise the “very professional, highly demanding and qualified lawyers”, while Richard Wolfson, a representative of a US filtration system manufacturer Clarcor, extols the “capable, practical and timely advice” he received relating to corporate and securities and labour and employment law.

Offices

Added to its base in São Paulo are established offices in Rio de Janeiro and Brasília.

Clients

Mundie e Advogados’ telecoms expertise is reflected in a strong showing of clients from the TMT sector, including TIM mobile, Sky Brasil and US payment products company FleetCor. Brazilian industrial machinery manufacturer Tractorbel and Heineken are examples of other big-name clients. 

Practice Areas

Telecoms & media

Key partners: Kevin Mundie’s telecoms expertise, knowledge and practice are together a point of reference in the field. Elinor Cotait is another esteemed player, with an impressive CV, while Ana Claudia Beppu is the third partner in the practice.

Analysis: Telecoms work is the foundation of the firm’s reputation and remains a key strength as a market-leading practice. Telecom Italia, along with its mobile subsidiary TIM, are regular clients and hire the team to assist on bids for radio spectrum. Mundie e Advogados’ TMT team has also been kept busy with an auction for satellite slots, and advised one of the winning bidders, UAE’s Star Satellite Communications, in an auction in 2015. One telecoms client praises Mundie e Advogados’ “superlative technical competence”, which is bolstered by excellent value-for-money, client service, quick execution and a team that is able to offer “realistic solutions to complex legal issues”.

Work highlights: The team is currently advising several foreign and domestic TMT companies in public auctions of the rights to use radiofrequencies and spectrum being conducted carried out by Brazil’s telecoms regulator ANATEL.

Corporate and M&A

Key partners: Kevin Mundie, who is prominent for corporate work, and Rodolpho Protasio, who wins glowing praise from one client as a “gifted lawyer who impresses with his intelligence, amazing memory, attention to details and creativity” and comes recommended in LACCA Approved.

Analysis: The firm has been heavily focused on developing its general corporate practice, and it is now a noted and busy market participant. The firm’s substantial TMT expertise is also evident here, with several clients from the sector hiring the firm to assist on M&A deals and corporate matters. A major deal saw the team help US payment products company FleetCor Technologies buy Brazil’s largest electronic toll payment company Sem Parar for just over US$1 billion in 2016. Energy clients are another source of corporate work. Electricity company Engie Brasil Energia – which recently drew on the firm to sell renewable energy assets to Brazilian thermal power producer Companhia Energética de Petrolina – and CPFL Energias Renováveis are two customers. Private equity and banking clients also feature on the department’s client books and include Vinci and BTG Pactual, while Heineken is an example of a major blue-chip company to use their services.

Top deals

Antitrust & competition

Key partners: Practice head Guilherme Ribas, a former president of the board at Brazilian Institute for Studies on Competition, Consumer and Foreign Trade, who comes recommended in LACCA Approved.

Analysis: Mundie’s antitrust division grew out of the firm’s regulatory and administrative law practice and continues to have a strong overlap in both areas. The modest six-lawyer team has a strong boutique feel, long ago electing to concentrate on conduct investigations and counselling, rather than the merger filings preferred by some other firms in the market. Telecoms, broadcasters and manufacturers feature on its client list. 

Work highlights: The team is assisting an electronics company in an investigation into an alleged cartel in the market for telecommunications components, giving counsel to a major pay TV broadcaster as an interested party in the review process of a merger between several rival companies and successfully obtained reductions in fines handed down by CADE on behalf of clients involved in a marine hose investigation.

Litigation

Key partners: Carlos Forbes heads the firm’s three-partner litigation group and receives glowing acclaim for his superlative litigation skills and dogged determination in securing the best results for his clients. He is also president of the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce Arbitration Centre and is recommended in LACCA Approved. Cristiano Kozan and Marco Gasparetti make up the trio.

Analysis: Mundie e Advogados’ regulatory expertise comes to the fore in its litigation and arbitration practice. Besides attracting a lion’s share of companies in regulated industries to the department, the firm’s unrivalled knowledge gives it the edge over many other firms in the market and helps make it a formidable opponent on contentious cases. A subscription television client, which relied on the firm for assistance on regulatory and litigation matters, says the firm’s regulatory expertise guarantees outstanding results and praises the well-organised, knowledgeable and responsive attorneys in the practice. 

Work highlights: The team helped a publicly owned energy transmission company in an arbitration to enforce an EPC agreement, represented an energy generation company in a collection lawsuit against a Brazilian state-owned energy company regarding credits for the use of fossil fuels and gave counsel to a business executive in an arbitration seeking unpaid wages and other payments from companies that hired his services.

Administrative law

Key partners: Elinor Cotait and Rafael D’Avila co-head the practice.

Analysis: Mundie Advogados’ foundation in telecoms and competition law has contributed to an administrative law department that is adept in regulatory matters at federal, state and municipal level, earning it praise from clients. For an energy client, it was the “very objective and detailed analysis” he received that made the team stand out, while the legal counsel for an administrative body in the telecoms sector, commends the “agility and technical knowledge” displayed by the firm’s lawyers. Long-standing clients, such as Brazilian shipping company Wilson Sons, say they retain the firm because of the consistently excellent service they receive. 

Work highlights: Mundie’s ongoing work includes assisting clients in the shipping, pharmaceutical and telecoms sectors on their participation in public auctions, registration of their products and defence before administrative bodies at federal, state and municipal level for alleged non-compliance with public agreements.

Sport & entertainment

Key partners: Elinor Cotait, Ana Claudia Beppu and Guilherme Ribas jointly lead the practice.

Analysis: The firm’s class-leading TMT practice feed through to its sports and entertainment practice, where broadcasters, pay-TV and internet providers all feature on its books. The multidisciplinary practices of the three joint heads is reflected in work undertaken by the team, with cases often including competition, regulatory and administrative elements.

Work highlights: A major mobile phone company recently hired the firms to assist on the development of an entertainment service that integrates audio, video, and other media over the Internet and pay-TV content, with free-to-air channels; requiring the team to advise on competition, net neutrality and regulatory matters. Ongoing work includes helping a pay-TV broadcaster to oppose a joint venture between some of its rivals and giving counsel to a Brazilian internet provider on several aspects relating to internet media regulation and Brazilian internet law.

Tax

Key partners: Practice head Antenori Trevisan Neto, who provides excellent support to the firm’s M&A team and helps clients in complex tax-planning processes.

Analysis: The firm has been developing its tax litigation area of late, with early significant wins for clients in disputes over tax liabilities. Like many other firms with a tax focus, Mundie Advogados’ team has been kept particularly busy helping clients challenge tax assessments relating to new rules on how PIS and COFINS social security contributions are contributed. Among the department’s clients are investment funds, which draw on the firm for assistance on tax structuring related to their Brazilian funds, and several local companies, which have hired the firm for tax advice after purchasing or selling assets.

Work highlights: US payment products company FleetCor Technologies and its Brazilian subsidiary DBTrans hired the firm to assist on tax matters arising from its US$1 billion acquisition of Brazil’s largest electronic toll payment company Sem Parar. The team also helped a Japanese athletics equipment manufacturer and a thermoelectric energy company obtain separate injunctions in lawsuits relating to the calculation of PIS and COFINS social security contributions.

Labour

Key partners: Practice head Nadia Demoliner Lacerda.

Analysis: Mundie e Advogados’ labour team assists clients on issues ranging from the structuring of salary schemes and restructuring of the workforce, to labour due diligence on corporate transactions and administrative and judicial lawsuits. A major computer hardware company and a local tobacco company feature among the firm’s clients.


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