Ricardo Madrona is a founding partner of Madrona Advogados. He holds an LLB from the Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas; a postgraduate certificate in corporate law from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo; and an applied business law certificate from the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV). Ricardo works on M&As, corporate law, contracts, succession and estate planning, and arbitration. He is on the list of arbitrators of the Arbitration Chambers of FGV, and the Federation of Industries of the State of Paraná. He teaches M&A on FGV Law’s graduate programme, and between 2001 and 2011 taught corporate law and capital markets law on the MBA at the Institute for Accounting, Actuarial and Financial Research (FIPECAFI) in connection with the Brazilian Institute of Investor Relations (IBRI). He is a member of the Brazilian Chamber of Arbitration and IBRI.
Questions & Answers
Thought Leaders 2018 - Interview with Ricardo Madrona
Why did you decide to specialise in corporate law?
Corporate law fascinates me because it allows me to help clients structure M&A transactions, make their decisions based on risks and rewards, and negotiate the terms and conditions of the relevant contracts.
What was the most memorable transaction you have ever worked on and why?
It is hard to settle on one transaction. I am lucky enough to have taken part in some very interesting M&A deals during my 23-year career. Recently I assisted a big mining company to acquire a company that holds a patent in many different jurisdictions.
What are the biggest challenges facing M&A lawyers in Brazil?
One of the biggest challenges is working with attorneys’ negotiation skills to make them fit the current circumstances. I believe negotiations must be based on objectivity and transparency. Another central issue is maintaining the quality of the work produced in view of the low fees firms have been charging, given the rise in competition between firms. Lastly, I think M&A attorneys will need to have a better understanding of how technology will change the way deals are conducted.
In your opinion, what should the government prioritise in order to improve the country’s business landscape?
I know I won’t say anything new, because these measures are featured in the press all the time, but I believe this administration needs to support the social security reform towards achieving a review of the tax system as a whole, strong regulatory agencies, heavy investment in education and safety, and less participation in the economy, by privatising more or having less intervention in the market.
President Bolsonaro has announced ambitious plans to privatise in Brazil. Do you see any specific opportunities on the horizon for investors?
The administration does indeed have ambitious plans, and there are lots of opportunities in different sectors, especially energy, logistics, airports, and oil and gas.
You are also an experienced arbitrator. Can you describe how the mediation and arbitration landscape has developed in Brazil over the past few years?
There’s no doubt arbitration is here to stay and it has been used more and more in deals that involve high values or complex structures. I have, however, seen concerns from the arbitration chambers with respect to reducing costs to make arbitration more accessible. I believe mediation has not been used a lot in Brazil, because players have not yet felt its effects in practice.
Why did you decide to start your own firm?
I decided to start my own firm so I could make sure the values I believe in are actually applied in our work environment. These values are freedom of speech, equal opportunities, incentives to grow and develop personally, we value human beings and constantly strive for quality and respond to our clients’ needs effectively.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far, but what is your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement is seeing people who have worked in my firm go through amazing transformations, some of them becoming partners – as was the case with Milena Mazzini, Danilo Mininel, Priscilla Carbone, Luciana Renouard and Rodrigo Machado – and to see others working jobs that make them personally and professionally happy. That’s what makes me really proud!