The levels of foreign investment being seen in Brazil are considerably higher than in previous decades and reaching into all areas of the economy.
The country’s law firms can however play a role in facilitating investment not only in Brazil but across the region, says Miguel Tornovsky, a corporate partner with Pinheiro Neto in São Paulo.
“We see international businesses now taking a much more joined-up approach to Latin America and this includes the role of Brazil within it. Multinationals are increasingly placing General Counsel in São Paulo not only to manage domestic Brazilian issues but to oversee their entire regional legal needs.”
Utilising the country as a base enables businesses not only to capitalise on Brazilian economic expansion – now the seventh largest economy in the world – but also to look more closely at complementary opportunities in neighbouring countries, including Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia and Peru but also Chile and even Venezuela.
“Twenty years ago we had to convince clients that things in Brazil were not as bad as they seemed. Now we have the opposite challenge, to stop them always seeing the upside. But companies are very bullish about the prospects they see in areas like retail, consumer products, construction and real estate, and how the country can be a platform for regional expansion.”
To date Pinheiro Neto has focused exclusively on Brazilian law and this remains the case, but the scale of the country and the spread of the firm’s domestic clients means that it has also developed deep project management and co-ordination expertise – skills that its lawyers are utilising to assist clients as they expand into and through the country.
“Fundamentally we are Brazilian lawyers focused on Brazilian matters, but increasingly this encompasses issues that extend well beyond our own jurisdictional borders. We have very close connections to other firms across the continent, and ultimately the challenge is to facilitate business across the region,” says Tornovsky.