Firm Profile

SiqueiraCastro

Brazil

Mass litigation titans on modernising drive

LL 250 Highly Recommended

Established: 1948

Partners: 93

Lawyers: 972

Work areas

This firm is highly recommended for services in the following work areas.

Towering above other firms in this chapter thanks to its impressive headcount, SiqueiraCastro is also unmatched in its geographical reach. At one time, the firm had more than 1,000 lawyers on its payroll – more than double the number of the second-largest Brazilian firm listed in this guide at the time. Such size brings with it vast opportunities.

Its litigation practice area lies at the firm’s core. With a battalion of litigators across its 18 offices, SiqueiraCastro can simultaneously handle a large volume of cases on several fronts. This is an obvious attraction for companies with long supply chains and ongoing litigation across Brazil. To avoid becoming overly dependent on mass litigation cases, the firm has leveraged its ample client base and reputation to offer top-tier premium services, particularly in disputes within areas such as labour and tax.

The firm’s large partnership has only grown in recent years. The firm started 2022 by promoting nine to partner and strengthening its litigation, arbitration, environmental, labour and consumer law teams. SiqueiraCastro has also been busy with its lateral hire strategy in the last 12 months. It recruited a legal manager from a local construction company as a partner and head of its real estate group. The firm added to its public law group at the start of the year, and soon after absorbed a local data protection and digital law boutique, appointing two new partners in the process. It also welcomed back a former white-collar crime partner, following less than two years as a solo practitioner.

While the scale of the firm’s operations allows it to maintain its large headcount, its impressive scale also brings certain challenges. Smaller margins compared to complex, premium work means the firm must constantly invest in modern technology to strike a balance between cost and quality. The firm has implemented AI technology that can efficiently assimilate documents. Another challenge is maintaining oversight and quality control over such a vast network of offices, which increases the risk of patchiness in its service offering compared with more compact rivals. It faces these challenges by implementing changes to its governance system and ownership model that are now bearing starting fruit.

The firm has transitioned from an exclusively family-owned structure towards equity partners and a ‘reversible lockstep’ compensation system. For the founding partner, Carlos Roberto Siqueira Castro, and his son, Carlos Fernando Siqueira Castro, these changes have been felt as their voting stock was reduced. The process required the elimination of its non-equity partnership level. The firm’s founding family is still a reassuring presence at the firm, but any evolution necessarily takes time.

Carlos Fernando Siqueira Castro is serving as managing partner, having been elected for a second term in 2019. He will stay in the position until 2024 and leads the firm alongside an executive committee. SiqueiraCastro’s institutionalisation efforts are visible in the firm’s management, which contains several partners without the Siqueira Castro name. The structure is designed to ensure that it survives beyond the founding family, as well as to help attract talent.

Clients line up to shower praise on this firm. “What I appreciate most is the frequent availability of the firm's lawyers as well as the response time. The firm has operations in the most diverse legal areas, operating in various regions of Brazil, which is the firm's main differential,” comments an in-house lawyer from the gas sector. Other satisfied clients commend the lawyers’ quick responses and professionalism.

Offices

Siqueira Castro has an unrivalled network of offices in Brazil: Aracaju, Belém, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Curitiba, Fortaleza, João Pessoa, Maceió, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Porto Velho, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, São Luís, São Paulo and Teresina.

Alliances & networks

The firm is the Brazilian member of the ADVOC International association of independent law firms and indeed coordinates the network in Latin America.

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