Firm Profile

Stocche Forbes

Brazil

Ambitious ascendant with cross-practice power

LL 250 Highly Recommended

Established: 2012

Partners: 36

Lawyers: 185

Work areas

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

Stocche Forbes’ exponential route to success is one of the shining examples of how accelerated growth, market-leading expertise and an extraordinarily high level of talent cherry-picked from the créme de la créme of Brazil’s legal community can combine to produce a top-tier full-service firm.

2020 brought with it myriad challenges, among which market stagnation and widespread uncertainty were most prevalent. Stocche Forbes’ strong legal offering, however, can act as a case study into how transactional know-how and a fast-growing robust team of practitioners are ingredients for resilience in those adverse conditions. A cursory glance at the sheer volume and relevance of the deals Stocche Forbes advised on last year can attest to that. Moreover, the firm demonstrated its commitment to growth and promoted five lawyers to partners within its environmental, labour, corporate and real estate practices. Those promotions reflected the firm’s strategy to organically cultivate more home-grown talent as opposed to lateral hiring.

The firm did recognise notable churn last year in its headcount, however. Stocche Forbes’ ambition for growth is infectious and attorneys that leave the firm often leave for top roles at some of its elite competitors. That is a testament to Stocche Forbes’ investment in its talent, though in recent times it announced to focus on a more “cautious and organic” attitude to growth aimed at retaining its top talent. The five promotions the firm made last year replenished stock after the firm recorded departures of leading partners. The firm returned to active lateral hiring in 2021 and strengthened its tax and litigation departments with two new partners, including one from BMA - Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão.

Stocche Forbes is a highly successful outfit, and in that, it acknowledges that aggressive expansion can come with growing pains in the form of the departure of some of its sharpest talents. It is all too aware that with those challenges comes strength and progress, and the firm has continued to shine even after tectonic shifts within its partnership.

To capture as much transactional work as Stocche Forbes did in 2020 is a feat worth recognising. Its corporate group was kept incredibly busy by the deluge of distressed M&A work triggered by companies shedding assets aggressively amid the financial demands of the covid-19 pandemic. Stocche Forbes remained active advising companies in Brazil’s busy oil and gas sector, where Petrobras’ widespread divestment programme has blown open the energy industry to private sector investment. Notably, the firm helped Golar LNG in the sale of its liquefied natural gas business to US energy investor New Fortress for US$5 billion as part of the buyer’s bid to become Latin America’s largest LNG operator. The group also helped another US investor, EIG Global Energy, in its divestment of the Bolivia-Brazil natural gas pipeline GASBOL as part of the company’s efforts to make space to snap up a larger stake in the asset, which shareholder Petrobras is set to shed later this year. Stocche Forbes was also counsel to French power group Engie in the sale of its remaining interest in its TAG pipeline subsidiary, which sold for just under US$9 billion in one of the largest transactions in the oil and gas industry in recent years. Stocche Forbes has been familiar counsel to US investor Digital Colony in its prolific shopping spree for telecoms and data assets in Brazil.

Stocche Forbes tends one of the most skilled capital markets groups in the country too, and the firm is regularly visible on big-ticket and market-leading transactions. As IPOs skyrocketed in 2020, the firm was hot on the tail of that trend and steered several initial public offerings on Brazil’s B3 stock exchange– both on the side of the underwriters and the issuers. The group helped the underwriters in an initial offering launched by Brazil’s largest laser hair removal company Espaçolaser. The transaction awarded Espaçolaser with the accomplishment of being the first public services company to be listed on Brazil’s B3 exchange.

Stocche Forbes is no stranger to pioneering legal work, and its activity in Brazil’s growing renewables and infrastructure sectors last year proved this with ample promise. The firm helped renewables group Omega Geração make its first green bonds offering with an equity and a notes issuance worth US$200 million, meanwhile it also helped French investor STOA get a minority stake in Brazil’s largest public-private partnership project (PPP), the São Paulo metro concessionaire Linha Universidade.

The firm’s non-transactional offerings in tax and litigation round-off its stellar offering in corporate, finance and private equity work. Stocche Forbes regularly tops up talent outside of its core areas to cultivate organic growth at the firm and add new muscle to ensure its full-service capabilities are in an excellent condition to fend off the competition. The firm has long held the philosophy that its capabilities are embedded into the fabric of the firm. While partners may come and go in its nascent years, the young outfit has shown that it is highly skilled at handling sophisticated legal work with enviable dexterity with ongoing changes and growth co-existing in the background. The high number of partners that do stick around to witness the firm’s expansion benefit well too, as Stocche Forbes offers one of the most generous lockstep compensation packages. This instils a sense of accountability for the firm’s success within its legal team, which is popular among staff.

The firm is held in high regard by an impressive roster of elite name clients. 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, Stocche Forbes represents 18 of the 100 biggest companies in the region. Infrastructure conglomerate Votorantim is a frequent client. In the power sector, Energisa and Equatorial Energia are representative clients, while private equity groups Patria and Blackstone also provide work.

A representative of the Brazilian bank BTG Pactual, which used the firm's services, summarises that Stocche Forbes’ lawyers “are hands-on and very business-oriented, in addition to providing a highly-qualified legal service.”

Offices

The firm is based in São Paulo and has growing offices in Rio de Janeiro and Brasília. It opened in Belo Horizonte in 2021.

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