Rodrigo Junqueira is the managing 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.
Questions & Answers
Thought Leaders 2021 - 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 practice, mainly in M&A and equity capital markets. I became a partner in 2009, and since then have been developing and increasing my networking and client portfolio. I have worked on complex and sophisticated matters throughout my career and believe that this experience allowed me to become a better lawyer in terms of understanding client needs, perception of the businesses and the objective of being a good and proactive lawyer.
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. It has been almost 20 years since I started working 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, and this is also why I understand that I am being successful and relevant to this practice.
What was the most challenging case or transaction you have ever worked on and why?
The most challenging cases are those that 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 later transaction in the capital markets, either from the standpoint of credit or as a consequence from the M&A, like the trigger of a tag-along tender offer or big corporate restructurings, in Brazil or abroad. I have worked on cases like that, and they are intellectually challenging, and also, from a sophistication perspective, they involve more senior professionals and there is interaction with 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 through and after the covid-19 crisis. That means that lawyers must be well-prepared in terms of knowing the clients, their business and addressing their main issues and concerns to be successful 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 challenging as only a few companies will be able to access the capital markets. This will reduce the number of Brazilian companies that were thinking of IPOs and follow-ons. Despite that, I expect to see some activity in capital markets because of the whole privatisation programme that is expected to be carried on in its majority through capital markets during the coming years. 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 that 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, which is becoming more and more important in our activities.
How would you like to see your law firm develop in the coming years?
I believe we have a firm that comprises all areas of law expertise and is full-service. 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 that believe in our governance and way of doing things.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
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, understanding 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 different. That means that we need to adapt ourselves according to each case, each client and each opposite side in a way that we can manage 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, mitigate risks and be able to enter into a better transaction.
Having said that, my main goal as a lawyer is to become a trusted adviser for clients.When I say trusted adviser, I am not only mentioning the pure technical law advice but the full meaning of orientation and recommendation on how to decide in certain situations, including law and business decisions.