Firm Profile

TozziniFreire Advogados

Brazil

Innovative and dynamic elite

LL 250 Elite

Established: 1976

Partners: 96

Lawyers: 532


Female partners: 43%

Partner to associate ratio: 4.6

Work areas
21

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

With a broad and deep bench across an extensive range of practice areas, combined with a modern structure and focus on technology and innovation, TozziniFreire sits comfortably among the Elite law firms in Brazil.

TozziniFreire is highly respected for its comprehensive transactional offering, including M&A, finance and capital markets. It has also built excellent disputes, technology and anti-corruption and compliance departments. Several practice heads are among the best in their fields and the large teams that they oversee allow the outfit to specialise in a way many rivals cannot. The full-service approach and practice area reach – which make TozziniFreire stand out – are supported by a structure that incentivises cross-selling and multi-disciplinary groups. As clients demand an ever-more tailored service based on real industry knowledge, the practice has organised itself into the sector and country-based groups, be it fintech, agribusiness, healthcare, engineering or construction.

The outfit combines its impressive reach with investments in innovation and technology. TozziniFreire has been operating its ThinkFuture programme since 2018, which is designed to take the culture of innovation to the core of its work areas by establishing close relationships with lawtechs and fostering the engagement of its lawyers and employees with modern technology and ideas. As a result, the outfit has implemented due diligence systems for M&A transactions as well as other areas which, among other matters, include the revision of companies in sectors with ongoing privatisation processes. Cost reduction, efficiency enhancement and more time for lawyers to oversee complex tasks are some benefits resulting from this strategy.

TozziniFreire has already spent several years testing AI systems, which it uses for performing research and investigations. It doubled down on its efforts to protect its data from cyberattacks by creating its own cybersecurity department under the guidance of consultancy firm EY. Such heavy investments come at a time when the demand for data protection legal services is high, and the firm is committed to continuing these. More recently, it has developed an internal system to manage and control sensitive information sent by service users.

TozziniFreire invested in compliance long before it was fashionable and can now duly boast a truly excellent, experienced 25-lawyer compliance and investigations team, which is led by some of the best in the field and makes a real impact to the outfit's bottom line. The team has multiple leniency agreement negotiations under its belt following a surge in activity by prosecutors in the wake of the Car Wash investigation.

This innovative culture was imbued by TozziniFreire’s founders and is part of the practice's DNA. As a result, the firm is now at the forefront of the latest trends, including fintech and green bonds. In line with this, it launched five new practice groups in 2020 that focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, crisis management, impact investing, business and human rights and financial innovation. They may all develop in the same way as its cybersecurity and data protection group, which is well established in the market. Indeed, some of these newer practice groups have already demonstrated their strength. The outfit helped the company that rolled out the open banking system in the UK provide infrastructure solutions to do the same in Brazil. Other examples include sustainability-linked bond issuances and technology projects for the automotive industry. Venture capital investments in start-up and fintech companies are other examples. TozziniFreire’s visibility on both big-ticket and day-to-day transactions across a broad range of practice areas demonstrates that it has become a trusted partner to high-profile companies.

Like others in Brazil’s competitive legal market, TozziniFreire competes heavily for talent. It has so far taken a more relaxed approach to partner appointments since the start of 2022, except for hires of finance, technology and administrative law partners. However, this is probably a sensitive strategy, because the practice added 17 partners in 2021 – seven of these through promotions – and may need some time to settle in. Partner additions in 2021 boosted several of the departments, including M&A, tax, disputes, energy and restructuring. While some partners have also departed, most recently from the tax and disputes groups, TozziniFreire has boosted its partner count over the last few years and is getting closer to the 100-partner mark.

Prominent litigator Fernando Serec acts as CEO and is driving force on day-to-day and strategic matters. The seven-person executive committee provides strong guidance and has overseen important successes recently. The management team is also continuing the practice’s excellent work in providing a diverse place to work – that two-thirds of the management committee are women, together with around one-third of the partners, is notable and commendable. It has also allocated more resources to internal groups advocating for diversity, including LGBT+ and racial diversity. As a result of the focus, the outfit has boosted its recruitment of transgender professionals in recent years. Finally, with the older generation of partners getting closer to retirement, the practice will eventually turn to the planning table to draw up a succession plan.

TozziniFreire has a scorecard evaluation system for its partners, intended to make performance appraisals more objective. This comes on the heels of changes to the practice's corporate governance rules to give junior partners greater say over management decisions and more authority to the partners’ general meetings. Its mitigated lockstep compensation system, which avoids big gaps between the gains of senior and junior partners, is reportedly working well and creates ownership among young partners while inspiring associates to see real opportunities for developing their careers within the outfit.

Client satisfaction is evident, with many describing the lawyers as competent, sharp and capable of providing smart solutions. A service user from an investment group, which has worked with TozziniFreire for several years, claimed that the lawyers “excel from a technical standpoint, they are consistent in terms of quality, and they have good knowledge about our profile and issues that matter to our group.” Another investment client asserted that the practice is problem-solving oriented and takes care of issues before the client even realises there was one. The high praise is endless. “It is a very responsible and committed firm with a marvellous legal background,” adds an in-house lawyer from a power company.

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, TozziniFreire represents 27 of 100 of the biggest companies in the region.

Management

TozziniFreire has an executive committee formed of seven partners: CEO Fernando SerecFlávia Cristina Moreira de Campos AndradeLuis Renato Ferreira da SilvaPatrícia Helena Marta MartinsMarcelo CalliariMaria Elisa Gualandi Verri and Shin Jae Kim.

Offices

TozziniFreire maintains offices not only in São Paulo, where its innovative campus-like headquarters are located, and the main hubs of Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, but also in regional strongholds in the south such as Porto Alegre, and industrial centres like Campinas. It also has a representative office in New York.

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