Pedro Maciel heads the litigation and arbitration practice and handles complex international and domestic disputes. He focuses on advising foreign and Brazilian companies in various sectors such as banking, construction, energy, entertainment, mining, oil and gas, and telecommunications. Pedro specialises in corporate, infrastructure and construction disputes. He is also an expert in crisis management, focused on achieving the best results for his clients. His experience as a lawyer is also enhanced by his continued handling of disputes as an arbitrator in Brazil and abroad. Pedro obtained his law degree from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. His early career highlights include nearly two years as an associate in the international practice group of a leading US law firm, where he gained knowledge of international business transactions and IT.
Questions & Answers
Thought Leaders 2020 - Interview with Pedro Maciel
Describe your career to date.
My career has always been focused on dispute resolution. It began in litigation and, given my expertise in construction and corporate disputes, my practice naturally evolved into arbitration. After almost two decades representing clients in high-profile corporate and construction disputes, I proudly embraced the work as arbitrator and at the same time I continued to represent clients as counsel in arbitration. This combination of working as counsel and, from time to time, as arbitrator gave me a deeper perspective on the disputes, which I can use to advise clients.
What do you enjoy most about being a lawyer in your practice area?
The work in the disputes practice is always enjoyable. Every case is a new case, and I am always learning and developing new skills and knowledge.
What is the most challenging case you have ever worked on and why?
It is difficult to choose one single case because every case is challenging in its own way. Some cases are challenging because they are too complex and therefore difficult to explain in the courts, or to the arbitral tribunal. In other cases, the dispute develops not only in the arbitration or the courts, but also in the press and regulatory agencies, and inside the mind of the clients. A case worth mentioning, because it stands out from most cases and is fought in multiple jurisdictions, multiple arbitrations and multiple court cases, is the dispute between J&F and CA regarding the ownership and control of Eldorado.
What are the greatest challenges for lawyers in your practice area in Brazil this year?
I think 2020 will be a very challenging year for lawyers in disputes practice, given the huge number of contractual conflicts that will arise from the effects of covid-19. That being said, the greatest challenge will be how to handle the disputes in a way that lawyers actually help their clients to solve the disagreements. In times like this, the best way to help clients may be to settle the disputes rather than trying to win them.
How do you expect your practice to evolve over the next five years?
I expect my practice to evolve over the next five years to be more focused on strategic cases involving complex construction and corporate disputes. Also, I expect that my practice will evolve towards the recognition among competitors that our team can be brought into complex ongoing cases to assist with the strategy, and/or with handling multifaceted activities that are part of any arbitration – such as cross-examination, or the presentation of opening and closing arguments.
What do clients look for when selecting you as a lawyer?
Typically, the clients look for the combination of experience in complex disputes with a business-oriented view that seeks to address their needs.
How would you like to see your law firm develop in the coming years?
In the coming years I would like to see my firm consolidate the growth and recognition it has achieved over the past few years.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
My goal is to develop other partners within the disputes group in my firm. I want to help many lawyers that have worked with me since they were law students to become partners.