Leite, Tosto e Barros is recommended by the 2014 issue of Latin Lawyer 250

The on-line version of Latin Lawyer 250 (2014 issue) was released last week.

Leite, Tosto e Barros joins the list of the Latin Lawyer recommended law firms for the eighth consecutive year.

The Latin Lawyer editorial stands out the Leite, Tosto e Barros practice in the following areas: Litigation, Arbitration, White-collar Crime and Compliance, Environment, Project Finance & Infrastructure, Administrative Law and Labour.

The name and the work of several partners have been mentioned in Latin Lawyer.

See below the text translation in full:

 

Leite, Tosto e Barros Advogados Associados

Established: 1991 Partners: 24 Total lawyers: 180

High-level litigation expertise is the foundation of this firm’s renown in the marketplace, particularly in high-value, complex disputes, in which the firm has a top-class reputation. It is also highly regarded for its careful and professional management of mass consumer claims – a service highly valuable to companies struggling under the weight of claims, but one which has become perhaps too highly commoditised at other firms in the market. However, as Leite Tosto is known for its skill in complex disputes, it offers a differentiated service across the board: one large international client says it is “our ‘first-call’ litigation firm, adding value to the strategies of most relevant and strategic litigation involving our company.” The roots of the firm’s founders are in infrastructure companies, and that remains clear within the firm today, as it continues to focus on the field. Strength in disputes has also enabled the firm to build solid practices in tax and labour. It also has a steady corporate and M&A practice – with the balance between the two helping the firm to a strong 2013, having been relatively immune to the dip in transactional work visible across the board in Brazil.

High-level litigation expertise is the foundation of this firm’s renown in the marketplace, particularly in high-value, complex disputes, in which the firm has a top-class reputation. It is also highly regarded for its careful and professional management of mass consumer claims – a service highly valuable to companies struggling under the weight of claims, but one which has become perhaps too highly commoditised at other firms in the market. However, as Leite Tosto is known for its skill in complex disputes, it offers a differentiated service across the board: one large international client says it is “our ‘first-call’ litigation firm, adding value to the strategies of most relevant and strategic litigation involving our company.” The roots of the firm’s founders are in infrastructure companies, and that remains clear within the firm today, as it continues to focus on the field. Strength in disputes has also enabled the firm to build solid practices in tax and labour. It also has a steady corporate and M&A practice – with the balance between the two helping the firm to a strong 2013, having been relatively immune to the dip in transactional work visible across the board in Brazil.

 

People & practices

•          Litigation

•          Arbitration

•          White-collar Crime And Compliance

•          Environment

•          Project Finance & Infrastructure

•          Administrative Law

•          Labour

•          Tax

Litigation

Eight partners and by far the lion’s share of the associate pool make up this top-notch litigation practice, in itself an indication of the firm’s importance in, and dedication to, this area of law. Ricardo Tosto de Oliveira Carvalho is the most prominent litigator at the firm and is seen as a leading practitioner across the market; Paulo Guilherme Mendonça Lopes is also very high-profile, and is leading the work on one of the firm’s most complex current cases, over inheritance issues in a prominent Brazilian family. Jorge Nemr is very well regarded for international litigation. Patricia Rios wins rave client reviews year on year – one banking client notes that in Brazil it is “extremely difficult is to find someone who offers the combination of accurate legal advice with a strategic view, and a high level of relationship with the judiciary. In my opinion this combination is Patricia’s best asset” – noting of course that the need to hire only one highly skilled lawyer has cost benefits for the client. Within the litigation practice are a number of specialities, including bankruptcy and credit recovery – for which this client recommends them: “[The firm’s] partners and senior lawyers are dynamic, helpful and experienced enough to analyse and provide valuable advice on business opportunities as well as satisfactorily litigate for credit recovery.” Five partners work in this area, including Tosto and Rios. Another speciality is mass consumer claims for specific clients; the sheer volume of cases which Brazil produces requires various strata of legal assistance, from a skilful management of the churn of lower-value cases to sophisticated advice on complex disputes. Tosto was one of the first law firm leaders to differentiate the “mass” service, and for a while the market as a whole followed suit; more recently, other firms have chosen to follow one path or the other, leading Leite Tosto to fill a gap for clients not happy to utterly commoditise the claims – one of whom described the service as “extremely organised, cost-efficient and responsive”. Lopes and Rios come recommended in LACCA Approved, in-house counsel research conducted by Latin Lawyer’s sister association, the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association.

Arbitration

Within the disputes excellence is a burgeoning arbitration practice: most prominent are Charles Gruenberg and Paulo Lopes; according to a client they “are committed and focused on results, they know the shortcuts and how to put the defendants on the table to negotiate”.

White-collar crime and compliance

As befits a firm with such a strong disputes practice, Leite Tosto is also well-regarded for criminal litigation. Mauricio Silva Leite focuses fully on the area, with Jorge Nemr also prominent, alongside a team of eight associates. The group has seen recent successes in cases regarding fraud, bid rigging and money laundering.

Environment

Brazil is a litigious country with incredibly strict and contradictory environmental laws, and so litigators skilled in the field are in great demand. Partners Tiago Mackey and Eduardo Nobre have a busy practice at Leite, Tosto, for example currently defending electricity generation and transmission company Alupar Investimento in its bid to build two hydropower plants in Minas Gerais. Although environmental licences have been granted, the state attorney general launched another proceeding to assess the environmental impact; the case is ongoing. Nobre also appears in LACCA Approved.

Project finance & infrastructure

The firm has a strong infrastructure practice, based in part on the founding partners’ origins as in-house counsel of an infrastructure company. Today the practice is taken care of by Cristina Alckmin Lombardi and Mariana Nogueira, who lead the firm’s international practice alongside Jorge Nemr. In one notable deal, the team counselled  the domestic investors in the expansion project for the port of Laranjeiras in the south of Brazil. Lombardi also does a broad range of corporate work. Flavio Maldonado, who has experience working in-house at a number of banks, focuses on financing and capital markets. In 2013 the team helped electricity company Alupar Investimento buy a 65 per cent share of the La Virgen hydropower project in Peru.

Administrative law

The combination of litigation and infrastructure skills of course unite in the administrative law practice, led by Eduardo Nobre. For example, the firm is working on a number of cases filed by the state against electricity companies, and also helped structure Queiroz Galvão’s bid for the upgrade of roads in Florianópolis.

Labour

The firm’s litigation expertise is also put to good use in the labour field. Practice co-heads Marcus Vinicius Mingrone and Luciana Arduin Fonseca lead a team of 31 associates. In one recent success, Fonseca convinced a court that the health problems of a major fuel company’s former employee were down to genetic and personal reasons and not caused by his working conditions – saving the company what could have been a crippling precedent. Other ongoing cases include cases filed by unions against major companies over uniform requirements and allegedly hazardous working conditions.

Tax

Two partners have strong tax litigation practices, Zanon de Paula Barros and Sandra Mara Lopomo, with significant successes over incorrect assessments of tax liabilities. At the very end of 2013 the firm hired a new partner in the tax practice, Fernando Vaisman, formerly head of tax at Almeida Advogados.

Offices

The firm is based in São Paulo with offices in Rio de Janeiro and Brasília.

Pro bono

Around 35 lawyers at the firm regularly provide pro bono services. One client is Best Buddies – a non-profit organisation dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement providing mentoring and friendship opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2013 the firm started sponsoring Instituto do Direito de Defesa – a Brazilian non-profit organisation that helps people we cannot afford to defend themselves before the courts. LL

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