In the 1970s, Sergio Bermudes’ firm brought a case against Brazil’s 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 – and established his name as one of the most important lawyers for major contentious work. Eventually, the case ended with the courts finding the regime guilty of torture and murder. In the decades since, his 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 84 lawyers, working in the three major cities. It was a central player in several of the cases that resolved challenges to the 1996 arbitration 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.