Firm Profile

Lefosse

Brazil

Forward-looking corporate doyens

LL 250 Elite

Established: 1987

Partners: 55

Lawyers: 300


Female partners: 22%

Partner to associate ratio: 4.5

Work areas
11

This firm is elite for services in the following work areas.

GxR Data Vis
Rankings
Listed work areas
LACCA Approved rankings
Large company clients
Strategy and management
Gender balance
P:A ratio
Partner promotions
International training
Pro bono
Track Record
M&A deals
Capital market deals

2021 Latin Lawyer Elite firm

Lefosse is like the most durable metal from which warriors would want their armour to be made. This firm is a transactional titan that stands out from the crowd for its deep bench and impressive ability to adapt.

It was all change at the top in 2021 for Lefosse. The firm elected Rodrigo Junqueira to replace Carlos Mello as the firm’s managing partner, at the same time appointing a new executive committee – including its first female member. Junqueira will remain the managing partner until 2024. Mello continues as a partner in Lefosse’s corporate and capital markets departments, alongside his role on the firm’s executive committee, which he has held for the past three years. His arrival from Mattos Filho a decade ago is remembered to this day as a landmark move that shook a market not then used to major lateral moves. Today, most top Brazilian firms are used to the game and are prepared to protect their best talent, as well as monitor their rivals for opportunities. Lefosse’s talent acquisition strategy undoubtedly contributed to this development.

Despite the economic uncertainty and disruption that the country and the world have experienced since 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic, Lefosse’s hiring game plan remains active: it expanded several practice areas during 2021. The firm added firepower to its tax practice by hiring a partner from fellow Latin Lawyer Elite firm BMA – Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão – in July. In May, it strengthened its dispute resolution group by hiring a partner from Bichara Advogados. Back in April, the firm promoted four lawyers to partner and three to counsel, bolstering its labour, M&A, tax, technology and restructuring groups. This comes atop several hires from rivals TozziniFreire and Demarest, as well as promotions in 2020.

Lefosse is at ease with working on landmark deals. It recently advised the underwriters of the US$2.25 billion debut of Brazilian financial services company XP on New York’s Nasdaq, making it the largest Brazilian IPO in the US in nearly two years (at the time of writing). The firm is a real powerhouse when it comes to dealmaking and its capital markets and corporate and M&A teams have a highly successful record.

In the non-transactional field, Lefosse is equally spectacular, working on high-stakes matters that require excellent counsel. It is currently representing Banco Santander (Brasil) in the judicial reorganisation proceedings of Odebrecht, where Santander is one of the biggest financial creditors of the group. Another example is the firm’s involvement in one of the most sensitive arbitration cases in Brazil, which arose from a legal battle in the paper industry.

Big-name Brazilian and international corporate and financial clients are regular customers. JP Morgan, AmBev, The Carlyle Group, Petrobras, New Fortress Energy, Santander and AES are just some examples. 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, Lefosse represents 21 of 100 of the biggest companies in the region, being among the top 10 Brazilian firms in the ranking.

There are various reasons that Lefosse is such a strong contender for major transactional work in Brazil. For one, it has cultivated the international service style it developed during a former association with magic circle firm Linklaters, and it maintains a fully bilingual team. The firm’s modern governance structure was also built to international standards long before other firms in the market underwent a process of modernisation.

Stability is also a key factor for Lefosse’s success; while some of its main rivals were distracted by internal problems, this firm has kept to a trajectory of steady growth that is the envy of others in this dynamic and competitive market.

Lefosse has also been steadily building its commitment to diversity, both internally and in society. In 2018, the firm joined an initiative committing it to promote racial equality and it signed up to inclusion and diversity initiative Fórum de Empresas e Direitos LGBTI+. A year earlier, it introduced two programmes aimed at diversifying its own ranks, including measures to increase the number of black lawyers at the firm. Previous efforts to encourage a healthier gender balance now means female lawyers comprise over half the headcount of the firm, and while the ratio at partner level remains below the market average, promotions last year have significantly helped to close that gap. The firm has expanded its internal training programme to include soft skills, such as networking, and greater focus has been placed on building connections with international firms to expand foreign placement opportunities for associates. Meanwhile, Lefosse has also formalised its pro bono programme, which included signing the Pro Bono Declaration for the Americas in 2018.

Socially conscious as such policies are, they are additionally backed by a sound commercial rationale, as they help to attract, nurture and retain talent in a fiercely competitive market. Indeed, the firm is the first to recognise that its future success depends on a meritocratic structure that promotes talent above all other considerations.

Client praise for this firm is worth mentioning. One client from the banking industry highlights Lefosse’s “highly-qualified [lawyers]”, while further complimenting: “Senior partners are business-oriented and hands-on. They work around the clock and are always available in an emergency.”

Management

Lefosse elected Rodrigo Junqueira as the firm's managing partner, at the same time appointing a new executive committee – including its first female member. Junqueira will remain in his role until 2024.

Offices

The firm is based in São Paulo with an office in Rio de Janeiro.

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