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GAR 100 - 4th Edition

Wald Associados Advogados

21 February 2011

A decade ago, arbitration had various question marks hanging over it in Brazil, representing areas of doubt about the new arbitration law.

People in Who’s Who:
Pending cases as counsel:
Value of pending counsel work:
US$0.6 billion

Arnoldo Wald and his mid-sized firm have played a disproportionately large part in their removal. His team represented the successful side in AES Urugaiana v CEEE – the landmark decision that established a state-owned entity can indeed be bound by an arbitration clause. In another seminal case from the same period, the team defended an ICC award won by Renault in New York against its Brazilian distributor, CAOA. The award faced a succession of challenges in the Brazilian courts from 2002 to 2008. (Other firms also advised Renault on the same case.)

The firm built its business originally through disputes work, though lately it has emerged as a leading player in restructuring. Wald – a former attorney general, now in his seventies – wrote one of the standard texts on arbitration law and teaches at Rio de Janeiro State University. He’s also Brazil’s member of the ICC Court and – in the words of Latin Lawyer 250 – “probably Brazil’s leading arbitration practitioner”. In the younger generation, Rodrigo Garcia da Fonseca is the editor-in-chief of the main national arbitration review (Revista de Arbitragem e Mediação), which Wald created. The firm, now 50 years old, has received strongly favourable comments for its client service. One client said he’d “finally found a firm that meets my expectations”, according to Chambers & Partners. Latin America health-care provider Saúde ABC, Brazil’s Central Bank, Petrobras subsidiary Brasoil and US energy groups have all used the firm for arbitrations in recent years. The firm has offices in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Brasília.

Recent events

With White & Case, Wald e Associados helped defend construction group Odebrecht against a US$250 million arbitral claim brought by the government of Ecuador over a hydropower project. The parties agreed a settlement in October.

Client comment

One client who used the firm on a “bet the company” case, with opposing counsel from two of Brazil’s best-known law firms, described the firm’s “commitment to the case, extensive knowledge and strategic reasoning” as instrumental in securing victory. The client said the Wald team’s preparation and questioning “reflected their superior standard of lawyering”.

Who’s Who nominee:

  • Arnoldo Wald

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