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L.O Baptista hires China-based infra partner

L.O Baptista hires China-based infra partner

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Brazilian law firm L O Baptista has hired a China-based partner with infrastructure experience ahead of a predicted post-election uptick in infrastructure investment from Chinese companies.

Luiz Eduardo Vidal Rodrigues, 34, specializes in contracts, corporate and infrastructure law and joined from boutique law firm Almeida Tavares, Silva e Vidal Rodrigues, where he was a name partner, last month. He is based out of Beijing for L O Baptista.

The new role sees him work closely with São Paulo-based infrastructure partner Fernando Marcondes and corporate Renata Castro Veloso coordinating multidisciplinary teams from across the firm.

“My main responsibility will be consolidating our presence in Asia, not only focusing on attending the Chinese demands and investments in Brazil, but also taking care of the Brazilian clients demands in China,” he said.

Vidal said he expects several clients to join him at L O Baptista including construction and engineering conglomerate China Gezhouba Group (CGGC), which he has advised on their operations in Brazil for the last four years.

“Brazil is an important country for China considering food security and trade and Brazil is a country with solid institutions and more accessible assets [following] its current political and economic crisis,” he said.

The Brazilian partner is also currently completing an LLM in Chinese Law at Tsinghua University in Beijing, but will remain in the country to coordinate inbound and outbound investment between China and Brazil after graduation in 2019.

Vidal will not practice local law, but instead work with local Chinese firms on a case-bycase basis.

Among these will be Grandall Law Firm, which is also a member of the same ALFA law firm network as
L O Baptista, and DeHeng Law Offices, with whom the Brazilian firm signed a cooperation agreement on 9 October, explained corporate partner Veloso.

Chinese investment into Brazil reached a seven year high of more than USD 22bn in 2017, but has fallen to around USD 1.3bn so far this year due to a lack of public auctions and impact of an election year, according to Folha de S. Paulo, a newspaper.

Nevertheless, infrastructure partner Marcondes expects a new investment cycle to kick in after Brazil’s presidential election and said the addition of Vidal will help position the firm to take advantage.

“Chinese expansion is a reality all over the world and it is not different in Brazil. No matter who is going to be the next president or what kind of political ideology is going to rule the country for the next years, Chinese investors are looking at a long term scenario and, wherever they go, they go to stay,” he said.

Vidal helped found Almeida Tavares, Silva e Vidal Rodrigues in 2016. He was previously also a name partner at Carmelo Nunes, Guedes Nunes & Vidal for four-and-a-half years and an associate at Rayes, Fagundes, Oliveira Ramos & Advogados Associados and De Rosa, Siqueira, Almeida, Barros Barreto & Advogados Associados for a more than seven years in total.

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