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GAR 100 - 9th Edition

LO Baptista Schmidt Valois Miranda Ferreira Agel

18 February 2016

The Brazilian firm bid farewell to its influential co-head

People in Who’s Who Legal: 2
Pending cases as counsel: 44
Value of pending counsel work: US$25.7 billion
Treaty cases: 3
Current arbitrator appointments: 31 (of which 7 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator: 5

The product of a 2011 merger between São Paulo-based LO Baptista Advogados Associados and Rio de Janeiro-based Schmidt Valois Miranda Ferreira & Agel, the firm first appeared in the GAR 100 in 2013.

Its arbitration team is now led by Maurício Curvelo de Almeida Prado and former chair of the Adriana Braghetta, following the departure of Luiz Olavo Baptista earlier this year.

The firm will miss Baptista. One of the most famous arbitrators in Brazil, he is a former chairman of the World Trade Organization’s appellate body and professor of international trade law at São Paulo University and a prominent figure on ICSID panels.

However, it has other names to carry on its reputation, including two former members of Royal Dutch Shell’s legal team: Guilherme Guerra D’Arriaga Schmidt and Rogério Miranda.

Braghetta is also a well-known international figure thanks to her former chairmanship of the Brazilian Arbitration Committee and role as a vice president of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration.

The Rio merger partner, Schmidt Valois Miranda Ferreira & Agel, was better known for oil and gas and infrastructure work than for arbitration and is said to have broadened the core team’s’s client base. Latin Lawyer 250 called the merger “innovative and ambitious”, given the common trend among Brazilian law firms is towards “spin-offs and splits, and a greater fragmentation of the market”.

Who uses it?

The firm keeps it cards close to its chest when it comes to naming clients but is known to advise clients in the construction, energy, telecoms, banking and mining sectors, as well as government entities. It’s acted for the government of Angola and its national diamond company, Endiama.

Track record

The firm helped Brazil’s national development bank BNDES defeat a US$250 million claim brought by Ecuador’s state power utility Hidropastaza, which concerned a loan for a hydropower plant.

It also won a US$200 million ICC arbitration that pitched two Brazilian construction companies against a European energy company.

Recent events

Luiz Olavo Baptista left the firm to set up an independent practice as an arbitrator (Atelier Juridico), taking Mariana Cattel Gomes Alves with him.

The firm played a part in a large dispute which saw Brazil’s largest supermarket chain ordered to pay US$137 million to a company held by Brazilian billionaire socialite Lily Safra and her son.

It also had a hand in numerous ICC matters involving Brazilian parties, in seats around the world. One case, relating to Brazil’s financial services industry, hinged on the sale and purchase of shares and their liabilities and was worth around 1.5 billion reais.

It continues to act on a US$1.6 billion dispute between a diamond mining company and an African state regarding the revocation of mining rights.

The firm added four young lawyers to its arbitration group taking its total of dedicated arbitration practitioners to 22.