With more and more foreign companies entering Brazil comes an increased need for foreign law firms to establish bases in the country. Though Brazil does not allow foreign firms to acquire Brazilian firms, many Brazilian firms engage in close partnerships and strategic alliances with international firms.
"In Brazil, the partners of a law firm must be Brazilian partners," says Joaquim Muniz, a partner at Brazilian firm Trench, Rossi e Watanabe, which is associated with the US firm Baker & McKenzie. "So what you see more and more is having associations between foreign law firms and Brazilian firms. But that's normal in global markets. Brazilian companies are doing a lot of business abroad, so it's normal that a Brazilian law firm would team up with a large international firm."
These partnerships can be especially beneficial for the foreign firms involved, since local firms typically do better. Brazilian clients tend to prefer working with attorneys who are fluent in both the language and culture of the country. By forming cooperative alliances, international and Brazilian firms bring the advantage of local knowledge and international support to their clients.
"We have seen more and more of this trend in Brazil and I think it's quite positive," Muniz says. "A lot of [big Brazilian firms] are doing these associations with international firms - not acquisitions, but associations, and that's good for the market."