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Latin Lawyer 250 2017

BMA - Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão

Brazil

Class-leading corporate titans

  • Established: 1995
  • Partners: 55
  • Total lawyers: 285

BMA is undoubtedly among the very top corporate and M&A players in the country, with a succession of high-profile transactions year after year that ensures its place among Brazil’s best firms is comfortably assured. Such is the reliably high quality of BMA’s service offering that clients return to the firm time and again, helping it to maintain healthy deal flow even during the all too frequent vicissitudes of the Brazilian market. This has helped ensure that despite a challenging year for virtually all large, full-service firms in the market in recent years, BMA ended 2016 on something of a sweet note. After a year of belt tightening, it says it struck to its conservative budget and exceeded its – albeit modest compared with Brazil’s headier years – targets. However, BMA’s budgeting was not extended to the handful of high-demand areas of the firm, which continued to receive sustained and notable investment. Among these was compliance, which more than doubled its headcount over the year and is set to increase further in the near future. Debt restructuring, litigation and arbitration have also seen high demand; BMA hired a partner with experience in all three disciplines from a smaller firm in its Rio office in 2016. Elsewhere, the government’s focus on boosting infrastructure spending led the firm to put together an infrastructure team to handle an expected uptick in demand for assistance on public law and related matters, while a growing workload in its environmental area (not least stemming from the firm’s involvement in the eye-watering settlement for the Samarco dam burst) has made it another area tipped for expansion, potentially through a lateral hire in 2017.  

Characteristically, the firm is tempering its optimism about these areas with a healthy dose of caution about the coming year. Plans to add headcount in the capital markets area, for example, have been put on hold owing to increasing uncertainty about growth in 2017. The firm also lost a string of senior lawyers in 2016, with several joining rival firms; an indication of quite how difficult it is to retain top talent within Brazil’s current, febrile market. Furthermore, corporate and M&A work, the areas that have done most to earn the firm its excellent reputation, have also not performed as well as previous years and yet continue to overshadow some other areas of the firm. Nevertheless, many of these challenges are also shared by its competitors on the market and do not detract from the truly exceptional foundation of talent and experience that underpins the firm. Several practices are truly excellent: IP, real estate, antitrust, sports and trade among them. Consequently, clients confirm again and again that it offers first-class service, while in litigation and arbitration, a continuing area of focus for the firm, increasingly clients are avowing that it is just as good at helping to pull failed deals apart as it is at putting them together in the first place. But whether in M&A or in one of the other practice areas, clients know this firm as a true partner in business; they themselves are clearly very business-focused, and they are able to translate this commercial acumen into their client work to help companies achieve their strategic goals.

Management

Key partners: Paulo Cezar Aragão and Franscisco Müssnich loom large at the head of their firm, running it with a vigour and authority that has helped it race to the top of the market – and stay there. Recently elected Amir Achcar Bocayuva Cunha became the firm’s first part-time managing partner after taking over from Elaine Palmer (who returns from sabbatical in 2017) and will balance his managerial duties with private practice. Luiz Antonio CamposBarbara Rosenberg, Camila Goldberg and founding partner Plinio Barbosa complete the eight-partner management committee.

Analysis: In a period of renewal for the Brazilian legal market, rivals point to BMA as a firm in which the founding partners are so strong that the next generation has struggled to build their own reputations, or gain power and responsibility within the firm. BMA insists that its succession plan is strong, and that the second generation has plenty of power and influence within the firm – particularly those on the executive committee. There is also an administrative committee, made up of the practice heads, which supports the executive committee in its strategic work and acts as a training ground for new members. Steady focus is also placed on succession planning, which is still a work in progress. The pie, while expanding, is also getting cut into ever more slices too through successive rounds of promotions; BMA added five new partners – all of whom have equal voting rights – in the tax, labour and competition practices in 2016. However, the perception issue around the generational handover remains, and largely comes from the fact that for the market to see genuine succession, not only must the younger generation grow but the founding partners must also step out of the limelight – not something which is terribly likely for people with the prominence and ability of BMA’s founders. Beyond that, however, the firm has made notable other strides towards a modern management ethos, designed to help the firm compete in a marketplace in which the bar is moved ever higher: its training programme for young lawyers has been fundamentally overhauled, in order to allow its lawyers to provide a deeply practical style of advice but nonetheless steeped in theoretical knowledge; and its social responsibility programme has been significantly expanded and deepened, including a new and well-thought-out pro bono programme.

Offices

One of a very small group of Rio firms that can be truly judged to have outgrown their roots to become a national firm, BMA’s São Paulo office is probably the more prominent these days; the firm also has an established Brasília office.

Clients

The firm’s expansive client lists includes blue chip companies including Ultrapar, Rede D'Or São Luiz, Banco BTG Pactual, OI, BHP Billiton and Abengoa, among many others.

Practice Areas

Corporate and M&A

Key partners: Paulo Cezar Aragão is a titan of the practice, having worked on many of the country’s landmark deals in his time, and is renowned as an authority on corporate law in Brazil; Francisco Müssnich is also one of the leading M&A lawyers in Brazil and respected for his closing and rainmaking skills; and Luiz Antonio de Sampaio Campos is another very highly regarded corporate practitioner, earning praise from clients for his proactivity, fact-based lawyering and strategic view. Other key names are Monique MavignierPlinio BarbosaAmir Achcar Bocayuva CunhaPatrícia SabinoHenrique BelochFabiana Fagundes and Tatiana Amorim, who is described by one client as a hard-working, skilful and deal-oriented rising star of the department. Aragão and Mavignier come recommended in LACCA Approved. Roberto Dias Carneiro left to join Dias Carneiro Advogados in 2016. 

Analysis: It is no mean achievement to ascend to the top ranks of Brazil’s transactional elite; to remain there and set the standard for corporate and M&A deals takes something quite special. But that is a feat BMA’s corporate team has manged to accomplish with aplomb. A combination of the department’s excellent international profile and its lawyers’ impressive experience and skill-set has helped ensure a steady flow of blue-chip clients and precedent-setting transactions ever since the firm was established 20 years ago. Rarely does one of the country’s landmark deals go by without their involvement at some stage; whether measured by value or volume, the firm’s name appears in Latin Lawyer’s M&A league tables year after year. One significant client goes as far as to say BMA is probably the best M&A firm in Brazil, and notes that even after a long history working together, it has nothing but praise for the quality of its work. “BMA have all the qualities a client usually looks for to select a firm to advise in a M&A transaction, such as diligence, commitment, efficiency, competence, work ethics and, of course, very developed negotiation skills,” the client adds.

Top deals

Most recent deals

Corporate governance

Key partners: Paulo Cezar Aragão, who was legal director of the Brazilian securities regulator (CVM) between 1978 and 1981, and Luiz Antonio de Sampaio Campos, who was commissioner of the CVM between 2001 and 2004.

Analysis: BMA’s corporate governance practice is widely regarded to be among the very elite in Brazil by virtue of the talent on the team. Aragão’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the CVM and other relevant rules and the ability to apply them effectively and ingeniously for clients is undoubtedly a major draw for clients. CSN retains him for corporate restructuring. 

Antitrust & competition

Key partners: Practice head Barbara Rosenberg, who is vice-president of the Brazilian Institute of Competition, Consumer Law and International Trade, and comes recommended in LACCA Approved, and José Inácio Ferraz, who was promoted to partner in 2016. José Carlos Berardo left to join a rival firm in 2016.

Analysis: BMA’s competition practice is one of the very best in Brazil, boasting an outstanding team of antitrust lawyers at the top of their game. The large team of two partners and 22 associates provides the breadth and depth to allow the firm to handle multiple, complex cases simultaneously. The department frequently teams up with BMA’s excellent corporate and M&A practice; creating a highly skilled multidisciplinary team that has helped make the firm the first port of call for companies undertaking complex or precedent-setting mergers, acquisitions or joint ventures. For example, Itaú Unibanco hired the team to win approval for its joint venture with Mastercard, which will see the pair launch a new debit card into an already highly concentrated market despite Brazil’s antitrust regulator issuing an opinion earlier in the year suggesting it should be blocked. Another string to the department’s bow is assisting clients on cartel investigations. Two recent high-profile examples saw the team help Samsung reach a settlement and avoid a fine over its participation in an international memory chips cartel, and help Telecom Net Logística Digital, which sells pre-paid mobile phone credit, avoid penalties in an investigation that was initiated by the company’s submission of a leniency application. BMA’s regular appearance in Brazil’s highest-profile cases has helped it win clients. One client was not disappointed, saying Rosenberg and her team provide the whole package: coupling exceptional service and deep understanding of CADE’s review process with thoughtful strategy, tactics and good communication. The departure of Rosenberg’s highly regarded second-in-command José Carlos Berardo, who left to join Lefosse Advogados after 15 years at the firm, will have been felt by the team. But the promotion of a gifted associate to partner the same year hints at the depth of talent waiting in the wings and illustrates the solid foundation that has helped BMA become one of the leaders in the field.   

Work highlights: BMA is representing Royal Bank of Canada in CADE’s investigation into 15 banks suspected of rigging the Brazilian currency between 2007 and 2013; one of the highest-profile cases undertaken by the antitrust authority in recent years. The team is also assisting Brazil’s largest airline LATAM in two joint business agreements with American Airlines and Anglo-Spanish holding company IAG (which was established following the merger between British Airways and Iberia) and is giving counsel to DuPont in its complex, multijurisdictional merger with The Dow Chemical Company.

Private equity

Key partners: Luiz Antonio CamposFrancisco Müssnich and Paulo Aragão – the triumvirate of corporate partners at the firm – are the key names too in the private equity field, although they call in a range of both corporate and finance partners as necessary.

Analysis: The firm has an excellent practice advising the private equity funds determined to increase their exposure to the long-term opportunities offered by the Brazilian economy. Advent, Carlyle, Gávea, Apax, BTG and GP Investments are notable clients. A snapshot of notable work from 2016 included assisting the founders of Gávea buy back the investment fund from JP Morgan and helping GP Investments-owned distressed refractory ceramics manufacturer Magnesita sell a 50 per cent stake to Austrian counterpart RHI. Usaflex, a leading national footwear company, and housebuilder Gafisa both also drew on the department for the sale of stakes to Axxon Group and US private equity investor Jaguar Real Estate Partners, respectively.

Top deals

Real estate & tourism

Key partners: Rio-based Cristiana Moreira, a former general counsel of real estate company Mudar, and Cristiane Mamprin, who is based in São Paulo.

Analysis: BMA has a highly regarded real estate practice that draws notable strength from the significant in-house experience of one of its leading lawyers. Among the department’s regular clients are local homebuilder Gafisa and hospital operator Rede D’Or. The department earns praise from clients for its knowledge and professional. One real estate company describes the team as “great professionals” and says they provide invaluable support on complex transactions. 

Top deals

Banking & finance

Key partners: Camila Goldberg, who leads by example with broad corporate, banking capital markets and project finance experience; Rafael Dutra, who focuses on projects work; Anna Carolina Malta, who is particularly visible assisting real estate, construction and energy companies in matters involving investment funds; and Paulo Ceppas Figueiredo, who is investment funds officer at the Brazilian Mediation and Arbitration Centre. Luiz Antonio CamposPaulo Aragão and Monique Mavignier also have noted finance strains within their excellent corporate practices. Campos, Mavignier and Dutra come recommended in LACCA Approved.

Analysis: BMA’s banking and finance practice may be somewhat overshadowed by its excellent M&A practice, but it is nevertheless a solid practice that has earned its salt by representing blue chip clients on major financing deals. Given BMA’s strength in corporate law, it is unsurprising that the department derive notable strength (and clients) from that area of the firm; its team is often seen following up on landmark M&A deals by coordinating the financing. Steel producer Gerdau, paper and pulp company Suzano and mining company Magnesita are among the department’s corporate clients. A headline transaction from 2016 saw the team help Boston cable developer Seaborn Networks obtain US$500 million from a syndicate of banks to build the first direct undersea fibre optic cable between New York and São Paulo. Major local companies and their owners also feature prominently on the firm’s books; the Mariani family, which formerly controlled Banco BBM before the sale of a majority stake to China’s Bank of Communications, and investment services firm XP Investimentos, are two examples. Banks and financial entities form another notable contingent and include Société Genérale and Banco Pacúnia. The team is organised into a blended banking, projects and capital markets practice – a multidisciplinary structure that wins praise from clients. XP general counsel Fabrício Cunha de Almeida, who hired the firm for banking, tax, corporate and labour advice, commends the “quality of the services” he received.

Top deals

Most recent deals

Project finance & infrastructure

Key partners: Practice head is Rafael Dutra, who has experience in renewables and takes the lead on project financing work. Other key figures include founding partner Plínio Barbosa, who also has a noted projects string to his bow, and Eduardo Carvalhaes, who handles regulatory matters.

Analysis: Not traditionally known for project finance and infrastructure work, BMA has been expanding its presence in both areas in recent years through its participation in several high-profile deals. A welcome boost in its efforts came in 2016 with the government’s renewed focus on infrastructure investment after years of political and economic crisis, which the firm says helped increase demand in the department. A new client in 2016 was Boston cable developer Seaborn Networks, which hired the firm to help obtain US$500 million in funding to build the first direct undersea fibre optic cable between New York and São Paulo; a major project that hints at the department’s excellent reputation among its international client base. Spanish technology solutions company Abengoa is another example of a big-name foreign client and drew on the firm for its multibillion dollar financing of power projects in Brazil, Mexico and Chile. Clients from the banking, maritime logistics and construction industries also feature among the firm’s regular customers.

Top deals

Most recent deals

Capital markets

Key partners: Camila Goldberg and Rafael D'Avila are the main names in the practice and a big draw for clients. Corporate partner Luiz Antonio de Sampaio Campos, who is a former commissioner at Brazil’s securities regulator, CVM, comes recommended for his capital markets work in LACCA Approved. Newer partners Anna Carolina Malta and Paulo Ceppas Figueiredo complete the offer.

Analysis: Capital markets work is not the firm’s biggest focus (particularly on the more commoditised work, in which price competition is fierce), but it certainly has a relevant practice in the field, particularly in helping big-name clients with their capital markets work as part of the pantheon of corporate and finance advice. In 2016, the team was kept busy assisting some of Brazil biggest companies (many regular clients) on debt issuances; insurance company Sul América, port operator TCP, fuel distributor Ultrapar, steelmaker Gerdau, online retail company B2W and bioethanol, sugar and energy company Cosan, are examples. Although the market-wide uptick in corporate debt issuances led the firm to consider strengthening its capital markets practice through lateral hiring earlier in the year, it says it has now put such plans on hold owing to increased uncertainty over how Brazil’s capital markets will perform in 2017.

Top deals

Most recent deals

Intellectual property

Key partners: Antonella Carminatti and Claudia Schulz, who both come recommended in LACCA Approved, and Ana Müller.

Analysis: BMA’s highly regarded IP practice is one of the largest among full-service firms, with three partners and 12 associates dedicated to the area. The firm has built its reputation off the back of its adept handling of complex mandates, such as counterfeiting and patent portfolio protection, on behalf of companies in a range of sectors. Retail clients feature prominently on its books and include L’Oréal, which regularly retains the team for trademark protection. BMA’s top-notch service style and superlative technical knowledge are among the features most often commended by clients; one goes as far as to describe the team as outstanding in every way. IP partner Paula Mena Barreto left the firm in 2016 for another Latin Lawyer 250-listed firm.

Work highlights: French perfumery Coty hired BMA for its US$1 billion acquisition of the personal care and beauty business of Brazilian conglomerate Hypermarcas, which required the IP team to draft and negotiate various agreements involving trademarks and patents. The firm is also defending long-term client L’Oréal in a case brought by a competitor of its right to use the term “Color Show” to describe its Maybelline range of nail polishes, and was called upon to draft a research agreement following the merger of two bioethanol companies.

Arbitration

Key partners: Practice head Sergio Fagundes and founding partners Francisco Müssnich, who acts as an arbitrator on the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and Paulo Aragão, who is currently vice-chairman of the arbitration chamber of BM&FBOVESPA. Other key names include Luis Fernando Fraga, who is a member of the special commission on mediation, conciliation and arbitration of the federal council of the Brazilian Bar Association, and Mario Gelli, who was promoted to the partnership in 2015.

Analysis: There are few partners in Brazil with similarly elevated profiles as BMA’s founding partners; far fewer still that have proven to be quite so successful in using their reputations to build a practice that is not their primary focus. Although corporate work continues to occupy much of their time and is the area of law for which both are widely known both at home and abroad, their proven track record as accomplished arbitrators in high-level disputes has helped make BMA a firm fixture within Brazil’s arbitration community. Müssnich’s reputation is such that he was among the arbitrators convened to hear doping-related disputes as a first-instance authority during the 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro – the first time in the history of the event such cases were handled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The firm’s large group of clients clearly appreciates the two hats worn by the founding partners, comforted by the fact they are available to help should deals fall apart. Expressing a view shared by many others, one satisfied client commends the thorough and analytical approach adopted by lawyers in the department when handling his case, as well as the firm’s visible commitment to their clients’ values and ethical approach generally.

Work highlights: BMA represented one of the largest investment banks in Brazil in an ICC arbitration initiated by one of the country’s biggest business groups related to the share purchase agreement of a major retail bank. The team also defended a major chain of hospitals in an arbitration brought by a related party seeking reparation for losses caused by refusal to comply with an agreement. It is giving counsel to one of Brazil’s largest construction companies in an arbitration proceeding and counterclaim related to a refinery plant operated by one of the world’s major oil companies.

Litigation

Key partners: Practice head Sergio Fagundes and Pedro Oliveira da Costa, who both come recommended in LACCA ApprovedLuiz Fernando Fraga is another highly regarded member of the practice.

Analysis: BMA’s large litigation and arbitration department comprises seven partners and more than 40 associates focused on disputes work. Although the inclusion among its number of several superstar arbitrators means the firm’s litigation work has occasionally been overshadowed, the practice has been steadily growing its profile in recent years and now makes an important contribution to the firm’s bottom line. A major boost to both the department’s revenues and reputation has undoubtedly come from the firm’s ongoing assistance to BHP Billiton, which jointly owns the Samarco mine with Vale, and which hired the team for the mass of litigation stemming from a catastrophic dam burst at the end of 2015 that led to Brazil’s worst-ever environmental disaster. Credit for the department’s development must go to its practice head, under whose careful stewardship the provision of sophisticated, top-quality client service has become its raison d'être. Such an approach is clearly going down well among those at the receiving end. A satisfied client says the department’s lawyers work well as a team, are always proactive and constantly provide feedback on the status of the company’s claims, adding overall that they are easy to work with and respect the needs of the client. Another client comments on the team’s focused service style: “It is very clear to me that BMA want to achieve a high level at legal services, and they are on the right track.”

Work highlights: BMA helped BHP Billiton to reach a settlement worth at least US$1.8 billion with the Brazilian government over a deadly dam burst at the end of 2015 that led to Brazil’s worst environmental catastrophe. The team also helped health technology distributor Biomedical Cosmetic International Distribution successfully challenge a precautionary action filed by minority quota holders of the company seeking to suspend the effects of two administrative council meetings until a final decision is rendered by an arbitration court, and is representing a group of investment companies and funds in Brazil in 10 lawsuits relating to contractual discussions and defaulted loans connected with a new hospital in Minas Gerais state.

Mining & metals

Key partners: Practice head Eduardo Carvalhaes.

Analysis: BMA’s mining practice is part of the firm’s infrastructure department, which was established during the wave of privatisations in Brazil during the 1990s. BMA prides itself on its ability to attend to its clients in all phases of transactions in regulated markets.

Work highlights: BMA is advising BHP Billiton, as stated above. The team also assisted CSN in the reorganisation of mining assets ahead of a merger and gave counsel to Asgaard on the potential combination of its business with Manabi and its subsidiaries, which required the analysis of regulatory aspects related to the reorganisation of all the mining rights held by the companies.

Sport & entertainment

Key partners: Practice head Amir Achcar Bocayuva Cunha, whose experience includes a stint working in-house at Rio football club Flamengo.

Analysis: Given the strong commercial underpinnings of modern football, it is fitting a corporate partner with experience working in-house at one of Brazil’s leading football clubs should lead the firm’s sports law department. His unusual skillset has helped attract several high-profile clients, not least former Brazilian footballer Ronaldo, whom he has represented for several years. The organisational committee for the Brazilian World Cup and the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol are also clients of the firm.

Most recent deals

Labour

Key partners: Cibelle Linero Goldfarb, who comes recommended in LACCA Approved, and Luiz Marcelo Góis, who was promoted to partner in 2016, jointly lead the practice. Former co-head Luiz Felipe Tenório da Veiga and Maurício Pessoa both left to establish their own labour boutiques.

Analysis: BMA’s labour team has experienced the difficulty of retaining top labour talent in Brazil’s challenging economic climate. In 2016, two partners (including the department’s former co-head) both left with three associates each to set up their own labour boutiques. The departure of both experienced partners was undoubtedly sorely felt within the practice, but BMA responded in true style; promoting an experienced associate to partner to co-lead the practice and remaining committed to developing the elements legal service that matter most to clients. Client reviews show its efforts have not been in vain; one satisfied customer says the department distinguishes itself by its assertive and rapid responses to their enquiries, backed by a top-quality and professional service approach. The labour team advises its broad base of clients on individual and collective labour litigation; social security and employment issues following M&A deals, privatisations and corporate restructurings; and compensation packages, lay-offs and business process outsourcing, among other matters.

Work highlights: The team is advising Energia Sustentavel do Brasil in a range of labour and employment issues, including the preparation and review of agreements, assistance in collective bargaining negotiations and review of policies and benefits. Other ongoing work includes assisting a US cosmetics company and a consumer credit company on a range of matters including the structuring of compensations packages, profit sharing plans and terminations, and giving counsel on labour litigation cases.

Trade

Key partners: Adriana Dantas heads the practice and has a particular focus on trade defence actions.

Analysis: BMA’s small trade practice nevertheless packs a punch largely due to the reputation of its practice head. A long spell in Washington, DC has provided Dantas with valuable, first-hand experience of trade remedy cases, specifically countervailing duties or subsidy-based actions, that has helped her to build the profile of the practice. Notable work includes representing clients in international disputes cases before the WTO.

White collar crime and compliance

Key partners: Practice head Adriana Dantas, who also oversees the trade practice, and comes recommended in LACCA Approved.

Analysis: BMA’s white-collar crime and compliance may only be three years old, but it is already enjoying a growing profile within one of the newest areas of law in the Brazilian market. Credit for this must go to Dantas, who has ably leveraged her experience overseeing the trade practice to help build the practice. Brazil’s ongoing Car Wash corruption probe has helped generate deal flow as the firm’s construction clients have engaged the small team to conduct internal investigations.

Most recent deals

Tax

Key partners: Practice head Paulo BentoJosé Otávio Haddad FaloppaDébora Bacellar and Lígia Regini (who comes recommended in LACCA Approved).

Analysis: BMA has a large tax team of 10 partners and 30 associates, which provides the department with the necessary firepower to staff multiple, complex deals simultaneously. Given the firm’s elite M&A practice, it is not unusual to for its tax lawyers to work closely with the corporate practice on high-profile transactions. Indeed, compared with some of its rivals, BMA’s tax team has traditionally been content playing a supporting role, focusing more on tax advice and planning than contentious cases. But this is not to diminish the quality of talent the department contains among its ranks. Big name clients rely on the team for tax structuring on their most complex transactions; proving the team’s reputation as a cool head and a safe pair of hands on the deals that matter most.

Work highlights: BMA is helpin Brazil’s BM&FBovespa and São Paulo clearing house Cetip reach an agreement to merge, following half a year of talks and two false starts, and is helping Totvs, Latin America’s largest producer of enterprise software to negotiate and structure the acquisition of Brazilian rival Bematech, which required the team to handle complex tax issues related to the transaction, including the taxation of capital gains derived by the resident and non-resident shareholders of Bematech upon the redemption of the preferred shares. The firm is also acting as deal counsel in the public tender offer for the acquisition of shares of BHG and cancellation of the company’s registration as a publicly held corporation and delisting from Bovespa’s Novo Mercado.

Administrative law

Key partners: Practice head Eduardo Carvalhaes, who comes recommended in LACCA Approved.

Analysis: BMA’s compact administrative law practice counts one partner and seven associates dedicated to the area. Although the firm may be overshadowed by others in the field of public law, it is steadily increasing its profile through its advice to several high-profile clients on administrative proceeding related to contracts with local government and state-owned entities.

Work highlights: BMA is advising both a well-known private education company and a manufacturer of industrial tubing on administrative proceedings related to its contracts with several municipalities and with a state-owned company respectively, and helping a concession holder to analyse a concession model proposed by the municipality of São Paulo for an urban passenger transportation system.

Pro bono

Analysis: BMA is recognised as a Leading Light due to its long-standing commitment to a pro bono programme and recently overhauled its provision into a much more structured and thus successful offer. Two partners – Ligia Regina and Felipe Evaristo dos Santos – led the overhaul, as a determined effort to lead from the top; today there is a pro bono committee which decides which work to take on, within the lens of the firm’s three main foci: education, culture and socially-aware entrepreneurship. Senior lawyers have been tasked with reviewing time spent and work completed on all pro bono projects, and pro bono hours are counted like any other in the billable hour system. A recent project saw the firm’s lawyers teach the concept of ethics to high school students in Rio de Janeiro. Previous work includes supporting Ashoka, a non-profit organisation that supports social enterprise globally, to design and provide mentoring and workshops for local entrepreneurs.


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