2021 Latin Lawyer Elite firm
Stakes are high for Brazilian firms, some of which are being forced to raise their game in the battle for talent and work. Against a backdrop of ongoing economic challenges, it is remarkable how Veirano Advogados has been able to maintain consistency and high standards across its multiple practice areas. This is a rare example of a firm that can rightfully boast of real strength-in-breadth across its transactional, disputes, labour and tax work areas. Its sophisticated, internationally-minded approach and powerful market position secure Veirano Advogados a place among the very best.
The firm does not rest on its laurels and makes strategic hires to bolster practice areas where it foresees demands: in 2021, it added litigation firepower to its tax team, adding a lawyer from Pinheiro Neto Advogados as a partner. The firm reports that its tax practice still recorded one of its busiest years ever in 2020, with emergency changes to tax processes and government incentives contributing to an increased workload amid the covid-19 pandemic. The team anticipates that a surge in litigation could be on the cards if Brazil continues to debate its national tax reform before Congress.
Meanwhile, Veirano boosted its capital markets group by hiring a former in-house counsel from Citibank as a partner and targeted fellow Latin Lawyer Elite firm Pinheiro Neto again to add to its environmental and sustainability practice.
Sensible internal reforms, such as the implementation of a modified lockstep partner compensation system and the introduction of a modern management structure have helped to professionalise the firm’s operations. The firm claims that the closer alignment between individual interest and firm-wide performance has helped build a more collegiate style of working that has improved client service and brought stability.
Veirano has also comprehensively overhauled its associate career path, adding a non-equity partner level aimed at improving the retention of associates not selected for equity partnership. It has been investing heavily in innovation and training, increasing its budget for the latter. It has a 10-partner committee dedicated to promoting innovation within the firm. It also hired a consultant to coordinate the work and to make sure initiatives are given the appropriate priority.
Veirano also invests heavily in training. Young partners go through intensive programmes to enhance their business skills and learn best practices. Indeed, the firm has been at pains to establish a modern and settled management structure and culture, with equal voting rights among the partnership and decision-making power well devolved. In line with the introduction of the modified lock-step remuneration system, transparency and cross-selling incentives have improved.
At the junior level, the committee has established alternative career tracks. Unusually, many of these decisions have been guided by an external consulting board financed by the firm and comprised of business professionals and academics who have no connection to the firm. Although the advice is non-binding, Veirano Advogados says it has led the firm to return to the drawing board and to include a larger variable component in its compensation system to help retain highly productive lawyers and encourage the firm to organise foreign placement for attorneys in Asia.
The firm continues to up its diversity and inclusion initiatives, following policies and actions set out by its committee that was created in 2015. In 2020, it hired an analyst dedicated to the topic and has recently launched a mentoring programme for women.
Veirano has an acumen for assisting international investors printed in its DNA – a legacy of its founding partner, Ronaldo Veirano, who was Baker McKenzie’s representative in Brazil for 25 years before creating the firm. The firm doesn’t rest in its laurels and is out there building new connections and cherishing old ones.
Although it has always been recognised as a powerhouse in its hometown Rio de Janeiro, Veirano Advogados’ once small São Paulo office has grown rapidly to become its biggest in terms of both headcount and revenues, while smaller offices in Brasília and Porto Alegre justify the firm’s reputation as a truly national firm.
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, Veirano represents 32 of 100 of the largest companies in the region.
Ricardo Veirano is on his third term as managing partner. A member of the managing board, Paula Surerus, oversees the firm's practice areas. Founder Ronaldo Veirano is the senior partner, bringing his wealth of experience and impeccable international credentials. The firm’s executive committee also includes non-legal professionals.
Founded in Rio de Janeiro, the firm’s largest office is now in São Paulo after several years of rapid growth. Outposts in Brasília and Porto Alegre complete its network.