Christiano Rehder is a partner at Lefosse who specialises in corporate law and capital markets, having acted through different perspectives most notably in mergers and acquisitions, equity public offerings, tender offers (OPA) and debt issuances for local and foreign clients of various profiles. He has also advised clients in corporate restructurings, private equity investments, project finance, foreign investments, setting up of local businesses and joint venture formation. Previously, Christiano was in-house counsel at Dufry Group, in Zurich/Basel, Switzerland, and associate at Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Ad-vogados, in São Paulo.
Questions & Answers
Thought Leaders 2021 - Interview with Christiano Rehder
Describe your career to date
My first contact with the legal practice was at the Departamento Jurídico XI de Agosto, a centenary institution of the Law School of the São Paulo University (Largo de São Francisco) created to provide free legal assistance for those in need. After two years of this enriching experience with family, labour and civil matters of low complexity, my passion for corporate and commercial law classes got me inclined to seek exposure to the private practice and corporate environment. I was then admitted for an internship at Pinheiro Neto in the corporate department. Just over one year later, I received a proposal from Mattos Filho to work in their capital markets department. I worked with that talented group of people (led by Carlos Mello, Rodrigo Junqueira and Luiz Octavio Lopes) for two years until, right after graduation, I accepted a proposal to work for Dufry Group at their headquarters, in Switzerland – Dufry was a client at the time. My in-house time with Dufry lasted for almost three incredible years until I moved back to Brazil. It did not take long to get back in touch with my former colleagues, who had at the time recently made a move to Lefosse to foster the corporate team of the firm and develop the capital markets practice. It has been nine amazing years now that I have been with Lefosse, having developed my skills in a rather good range of corporate transactions – from M&A to capital markets, from private equity to restructurings.
What do you enjoy most about being a lawyer in your practice area?
What I enjoy the most is, mostly in my transactional work, the sense of contribution for the development and improvement of the Brazilian business environment, which still has so much further to grow and the potential to outstand.
What was the most challenging case or transaction you have ever worked on and why?
Hard to name one transaction only. But, if I may, I would combine the many deals we closed for our German client E.ON (later renamed Uniper) involving their investment in Eneva – from their first investment in 2012 (back when Eneva was still MPX), then the formation of a controlling block in 2013, a major debt restructuring in 2015, the judicial recovery of Eneva in 2016 until the follow-on offerings leading to Uniper’s exit in 2018 and 2019. That was a fantastic all-around exposure to the Brazilian corporate legal system.
What are the greatest challenges for lawyers in your practice area in your country this year?
Not surprisingly, covid-19. No need to say the obvious, but the pandemic has been demanding enormous efforts from corporate lawyers to be up to speed to daily changes and to anticipate risks of a much wider range of legal issues than we were used to.
How do you expect your practice to evolve over the next five years?
I expect the corporate law practice in Brazil to evolve further to a global-level standard and, also, to be advocating in a much more efficient, reliable and attractive business environment.
What do clients look for when selecting you as a lawyer?
Objectiveness, efficiency and availability.
How would you like to see your law firm develop in the coming years?
I would like to see Lefosse further consolidating its brand, both at national and international levels, as a Tier 1 full-service firm, consistently ranked at the top in all our practices and continuously ahead of the largest transactions, disputes and discussions taking place in Brazil and involving our larger-than-ever client base. Our recent investments in our infrastructure, (including energy and oil and gas), project finance, public law and regulation and white-collar practice areas were major steps in that objective and just part of what is about to come.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
I would like to develop managerial and marketing skills and be positioned to contribute more to the firm’s growth from non-legal perspectives.