In the 1970s, Sergio Bermudes Law Firm brought a case against the military government on behalf of the widow of a dissident. The matter put Bermudes on the front line in Brazil’s struggle for political freedom. Eventually the courts found the regime guilty of torture and murder. In the decades since, the Sergio Bermudes Law Firm has remained at the forefront of all types of contentious work which has come to include international arbitration now that Brazilian business has begun to adopt it.
The firm now numbers 75 lawyers, working in the three major cities. It has participated in several of the cases that resolved challenges to the 1996 arbitration law. One book recently referred to the founder, who is now in demand as an arbitrator, as “a unique figure in Brazilian law”. A number of lawyers in the younger tier of the firm have studied or worked on international arbitrations while living outside Brazil. One member of the firm, Roberto Castro de Figueiredo, is a PhD candidate at the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary, University of London. Another, arbitration practice co-head Fabiano Robalinho Cavalcanti, lectures on international arbitration at Rio de Janeiro University and is a professor of private international law at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation.