Rodrigo Junqueira is a partner at Lefosse Advogados, specialising in mergers, acquisitions and a large range of financial transactions, including both equity and debt capital markets work, where he has acted as counsel for issuers and underwriters in securities offerings. Rodrigo has acted as counsel in some of the most important M&A and capital markets transactions in Brazil, including Project Arcachon, the global restructuring of Groupe Casino’s e-commerce business, in preparation for Cnova’s NASDAQ listing. He obtained his law degree from the Catholic University of São Paulo and his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Getulio Vargas Foundation. Rodrigo is recognised by LACCA Approved and has been nominated by Chambers Latin America as one of the leading lawyers in Brazil.
Questions & Answers
Thought Leaders 2020 - Interview with Rodrigo Junqueira
Describe your career to date.
I started my career in 2000 and since then have been working in the corporate finance field, mainly in M&A and equity capital markets. I became a partner in 2009 and have developed and increased my network and client portfolio. I have worked on complex and sophisticated matters through my career and believe that this experience gave me the opportunity to become a better lawyer in terms of understanding client needs, perception of the businesses and the objective of being a good and proactive professional.
What do you enjoy most about being a lawyer in your practice area?
First, I believe that it was the opportunity to work with people, and thus, help individuals and clients during the past 20 years in capital markets and M&A. Working in these practice areas involves big elements of business, and therefore I manage to combine my two degrees. This is also why, I understand, that I am successful and relevant.
What is the most challenging case or transaction you have ever worked on and why?
The most challenging cases are those which force us to work with many components of various practice areas – for instance, a case where we have an M&A that leads to a capital markets transaction later on, either from the standpoint of a credit or as a consequence of the M&A. Another challenging deal would be one that triggers a tag-along tender offer or big corporate restructuring in Brazil or abroad. I have worked on cases like that and they are intellectually challenging and sophisticated, involving senior professionals, principals and controlling shareholders.
What are the greatest challenges for lawyers in your practice area in your country this year?
I believe that the main challenge will be how to navigate the covid-19 crisis and its aftermath. That means that lawyers must prepare even more in terms of knowing the clients, their business, and how to address their main issues and concerns when developing new opportunities and matters.
How do you expect your practice to evolve over the next five years?
After the covid-19 crisis, I would say the next two years will be very challenging with the number of Brazilian companies that were thinking of IPOs and follow-ons being reduced. Despite that, I expect to see some activity in the field because of the privatisation programme that is expected to be carried for the majority through capital markets. Thus, the next five years will show some activity – but far from what we were expecting at the beginning of 2020.
What do clients look for when selecting you as a lawyer?
I like to think they look for integrity, personal involvement in their cases, excellence in the delivery of our work, perception of what is going on during the different phases of each deal, and business judgement.
How would you like to see your law firm develop in the coming years?
I would like to see the firm developing and growing more and more in the future through some pillars that we think are essential: integrity; ethics; diversity; excellence in our work product; a good environment for our lawyers and employees; and opportunities for all who believe in our governance and way of doing things.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What do you think are the key aspects of your success?
There are some elements that I can point out as being key to my success so far, and I believe that they are pillars to the success of any lawyer. First, an understanding of the client’s business. That allows the lawyer to contribute to the case, to the client and to solving problems. As a second key point, I shall mention the importance of perception. When we are involved in a transaction, we need to be aware of the opposite side, its view and goals, and how they must be managed. And each case is a different case. That means that we need to adapt ourselves according to each case, each client and each opposite side in a way that enables us to stand out. It is by being a lawyer that you manage to understand the situations and issues; add value; and work for the client to be protected, to mitigate risks and to enter into a better transaction. Having said that, my main goal as a lawyer is to become a trusted adviser for clients, providing not only the pure technical advice but recommendations on how to decide in certain business situations.