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. 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.
Questions & Answers
Thought Leaders 2021 - Interview with Pedro Maciel
Can you briefly describe your career to date?
My career has always been focused on dispute resolution. It began in litigation and, given the expertise in construction and corporate disputes, my litigation practice naturally evolved into arbitration.
After almost two decades representing clients in high-profile corporate disputes and construction disputes, I proudly embraced the work as an arbitrator. At the same time, I continued to represent clients as counsel in arbitration. This combination, working as counsel and also, from time to time, working as an arbitrator, gave me a deeper perspective on the disputes, which I can now use to advise clients.
What do you enjoy most about being a lawyer in your practice area?
The work in disputes practice is always enjoyable. Every case is a new case and I am always learning and developing new skills and knowledge.
What was the most challenging case or transaction you have ever worked on and why?
It is very difficult to choose one single case because every case is challenging in its own way. Some are challenging because they are too complex and, therefore, difficult to explain in the courts or to the arbitral tribunal. Others, because the dispute develops not only in the arbitration or in courts, but also other fields such as the press, regulatory agencies and inside the mind of the clients. A case worth mentioning because it stands out from most and is fought in multiple jurisdictions, multiple arbitrations and multiple court cases is the dispute between J&F and CA over the sale of Brazilian pulp-maker Eldorado.
What are the greatest challenges for lawyers in your practice area in your country this year?
The year 2020 proved to be a very challenging year for lawyers in disputes practice, and 2021 will not be different. It will be challenging given the huge number of contractual conflicts that arose and continue to rise out of the effects of the covid-19 pandemic, which is still going strong in Brazil. That being said, the greatest challenge will be to handle the disputes in a way that lawyers help their clients and, in times like these, the best way to help clients may be to settle 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 recognition among competitors that our team can be brought into complex, ongoing cases to assist with the strategy and/or in handling elements that are part of any arbitration case such as complex cross-examination, or the presentation of opening and closing arguments.
What do clients look for when selecting you as a lawyer?
Typically, clients look for a combination of experience in complex disputes with a business-oriented view.
How would you like to see your law firm develop in the coming years?
In the coming years, I’d like to see my firm consolidate the growth and recognition it has achieved during 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 see and help make partner an increasing number of lawyers that have worked with me since they were law students.