L O Baptista Advogados
Corporate and arbitration specialists
Established: 1972 | Partners: 21 |Lawyers: 72
This firm is highly recommended for services in the following work areas: ADMINISTRATIVE LAW | ARBITRATION | CORPORATE AND M&A | LABOUR | LITIGATION
Revered as a litigation and arbitration powerhouse, the legacy of founder Luiz Olavo Baptista, who passed at the age of 81 in 2019, can be seen clearly at this firm. Batista’s sophisticated approach to legal services is proudly nurtured. The firm takes a conservative approach to growth and its lawyers put personal contact with clients above highly institutional relationships. The firm also values a healthy work-life balance, encouraging lawyers to take time off to pursue academic goals. This is not in detriment of high-quality service; the focus, the firm assures, is quality over quantity.
In the past, L O Baptista has found its place in the Brazilian market by sitting among the best arbitration and litigation firms – but it has faced recent headwinds. Former arbitration co-head Adriana Braghetta left in early 2020 to launch her own arbitration boutique. A year later, the entire arbitration team, including four partners, left to join another firm.
Not one to shy away from a challenge however, L O Baptista realigned its litigation and arbitration offerings into an umbrella disputes practice, promoting two lawyers to partner. Following the 2021 departures, L O Baptista incorporated two firms – adding two arbitration partners and a corporate lawyer of the same rank with their respective teams.
The firm also has busy corporate, trade and labour practices and has been strengthening its relationships with Chinese clients. L O Baptista’s leaders have placed their bets on a surge in infrastructure projects too, which are due to pick up again once Brazil begins its recovery from the covid-19 pandemic. This will benefit the firm, which has a wealth of experience in administrative law matters. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been another busy point for L O Baptista, particularly in the sewage and water treatment sector. The firm has also been focussing on growing its ESG capabilities, in line with the regional spike in green financings.
Clients come forward to praise the firm’s “excellent customer service, totally professional and tailored customer service.”
Key partners: Practice co-heads André Camerlingo Alves, who has a respected practice including corporate and IP disputes, and André Mendes do Espírito Santo, who also oversees the firm’s stand-alone fashion law practice and handles risk mitigation for clients.
Analysis: L O Baptista’s litigation practice group is held in high regard by clients and rival firms for its success rate on cases involving corporate and international trade elements. Indeed, companies have come to the firm in the middle of cases when they lose hope in former counsel and want L O Baptista to take over. The firm also has a plethora of loyal clients who come back time and time again for its expertise. Recent departures in the arbitration team of the firm led to an opportunity to enhance the litigation practice with a more comprehensive dispute resolution offering which now links arbitration, litigation and mediation specialists under the leadership of respected litigators André Camerlingo Alves and André Mendes do Espírito Santo. Meanwhile, civil class action suits and administrative proceedings involving environmental litigation, have kept the lawyers busy. A broad client list includes foreign and domestic companies from the technology, construction, energy and retail sectors. Examples of work include winning one client a significant indemnification under a federal lawsuit and helping cancel an administrative fine imposed by a Brazilian Federal company against another client, making the penalty previously charged null and void.
Key partners: Patricia Agra Araujo, who adds experience from her time at Brazil’s Competition Authority CADE, and Sueli de Freitas Veríssimo Vieira, who comes recommended in LACCA Approved, in-house counsel research conducted by the Latin America Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer.
Analysis: Vieira receives positive client comments while Araujo brings more than 20 years of experience in competition, compliance and regulatory matters into the department, including first-hand experience working at CADE and the now-defunct Secretariat of Economic Law. Both make this a well-regarded and qualified practice group competing with larger firms for big-ticket work.
Corporate and M&A
Key partners: Daniela Zaitz is a high-profile member of the team and comes recommended in LACCA Approved. Marta Rodrigues and Sueli de Freitas Veríssimo Vieira are also prominent, the latter for regulatory work. Other key names are Cássia Monteiro, Esther Jerussalmy Cunha and Renata Castro Veloso.
Analysis: L O Baptista’s São Paulo-based corporate team built its solid reputation in the market by providing top-quality assistance to a set of loyal clients on a broad spectrum of matters. The firm’s presence in Beijing means it can work on mandates involving Chinese businesses in Brazil and Brazilian companies investing in China. L O Baptista recently helped Brazilian e-commerce company VTEX raise US$255 million in a funding round, making the start-up a tech unicorn. The firm also handled work involving credit extended by the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) for small and medium-sized companies to help them through the covid-19 pandemic.
Key partners: Fábio Chong de Lima fronts this team.
Analysis: L O Baptista’s labour practice group provides consultancy and litigation services to clients drawn from the construction, energy and retail sectors, among others. The team may not be the largest, but it is commended for its professionalism and stellar quality of service. The firm has recently advised a client on a lawsuit against a former employee for illegally accessing sensitive company data.
Key partners: Silvia Rodrigues Pachikoski and Tonico Monteiro da Silva arrived in 2021 and are co-heads of this practice group. Litigators André Camerlingo Alves and André Mendes do Espírito Santo also contribute.
Analysis: L O Baptista took a hit in 2021 when its arbitration team left for a rival firm, which added to another relevant partner exits in 2019 and 2020. The firm reacted by promoting three lawyers to the partnership and adding an arbitration boutique which brought two additional partners. It also upgraded its solid litigation practice to a more comprehensive dispute resolution offering which links arbitration, litigation and mediation specialists throughout the firm.