Never one to rest on its laurels, Demarest Advogados constantly strives to modernise and be the best for its clients, and its solid deep bench and international profile paired with its evolving growth strategy places it firmly among Brazil’s elite law firms.
A titan in M&A, where it is particularly knowledgeable of Brazil’s key agribusiness industry, combined with its strong pillars in disputes and tax, this full-service firm is a formidable force in the Brazilian legal market. It has worked hard to reach excellence in other areas. Its banking and finance, including capital markets, and restructuring and insolvency groups have come into their own in recent years, with blue-chip clients returning for the firm’s great service, while the environmental and insurance law departments are market leading. The partnership focuses on quality and productivity, while the firm has also embarked on a growth strategy over the last few years, and 2021 and 2022 have been no exception.
Demarest had a successful past couple of years, with all practice areas maintaining strong activity and some 350 new clients recorded. The firm promoted 11 lawyers to its partnership at the start of 2022 – Demarest’s largest single round of promotions. While internal promotions are important in the firm’s growth strategy, Demarest is also open to lateral hires. Since the start of the year, it has recruited a labour partner, formalised a TMT practice and strengthened its disputes practice with two partner hires. Those add to five lateral hires to its tax, energy and natural resources groups in 2021.
In another development, the firm spun out its corporate litigation department into a separate entity in 2021. A partner and a group of lawyers established Goulart Penteado Advogados, which will operate independently as a corporate litigation boutique practice while maintaining links to Demarest.
Constantly looking for new opportunities and ways to modernise, Demarest launched an initiative to offer tailored legal advice and flexible fees to Brazilian start-ups. The offering, which goes under the name “disrupt,” is supported by a local crowdfunding platform SMU and involves a multidisciplinary group of six partners. The firm also helped the first Brazilian special purpose acquisition company register with the local securities commission; an area of work Demarest expects to see more of in the coming years.
Demarest’s expansive client list includes numerous blue-chip companies, including América Móvil, Vale, Softbank, FEMSA and Bayer. Local energy and petrochemical groups Cosan and Ultra are also clients and so are Chilean retail giant Cencosud and the LATAM Airlines group. According to a study, ‘Who Represents Latin America's Biggest Companies,’ published by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer, Demarest represents 35 of 100 of the biggest companies in the region, being among the top 10 Brazilian firms in the ranking.
Few in the market have embraced technology and innovation like Demarest. It uses the SAPS/4HANA customer resource management tool, being the first firm in Latin America to do so. The technology integrates various functions of the firm and increases efficiency. New billing software has been implemented too.
Demarest has also remodelled its offices in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to create more open spaces and collaborative areas. This is aimed at facilitating lawyers’ flexible working between home and the office. More TV screens have also been installed around the office to present media and news updates.
Demarest has important internal initiatives in place to foster diversity. Its D Raízes, D Mulheres and D Mais internal groups are designed to respectively promote and support racial inclusion, gender equity and LGBT+ inclusion. A full-time diversity and inclusion coordinator was recently hired too, while additional training is offered to lawyers through the firm’s D Academy. Both internal and external professionals and consultants are brought to further educate Demarest’s legal practitioners.
Demarest is highly praised by clients. One client describes the firm’s lawyers as reliable and cost-effective. Others highlight their exceptional service, results, creative thinking and availability. The complimentary reviews do not end there. The firm is very responsive, has the market-leading experience and easily grasps complex structures and problems, according to other in-house counsel that turn here for advice.
José Diaz and Paulo Coelho da Rocha are credited with enthusiastically leading the firm’s growth over the past five years and continue to innovate to this day. Now only Rocha remains as CEO. The firm has a five-partner executive committee: Bruno Drago, Celso Xavier, Douglas Mota, Gabriel Kuznietz and Marcelo Inglez.
Demarest has offices in all of the key Brazilian cities – São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília – and a long-standing presence in New York.
Alliances & networks
Demarest is a member of the Lex Mundi, Interlex and Employment Law Alliance networks.