Pinheiro Neto Advogados, São Paulo
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
My first appointment as an arbitrator was a special moment. A case I’ve particularly enjoyed working on was my first international arbitration as counsel, when I was still working for a major firm in Paris. It was a London-seated arbitration involving a dispute in the mining industry. That case had complex legal and factual issues, a very large amount at stake, and a political flavour, as it involved a state-owned company.
Who do you consider your mentor?
Bruno Leurent, who has been incredibly supportive and encouraging to me. I was also fortunate to work as assistant counsel at the ICC secretariat under Anne Marie Whitesell and Jennifer Kirby. Finally, Gilberto Giusti of Pinheiro Neto Advogados, with whom I have worked closely ever since I returned to Brazil.
Who else in the field do you admire?
What other career might you have chosen?
What advice would you give someone just starting out?
To name just a few: join a leading practice with a good mentor; work as an administrative secretary to an arbitral tribunal; be active in the various young practitioners’ groups; develop language skills; work for a leading arbitral institution; and work very hard. A good saying to remember is that of Thomas Edison: “Genius is 1 per cent inspiration, 99 per cent perspiration.”
Do you sit as an arbitrator?
Yes, with growing frequency. My first time was as a party-appointed arbitrator aged 33.
What are the biggest challenges facing arbitration?
The judicialisation of the arbitral process; and its time and cost efficiency.
If you could change one thing about the system...?
Like any other method of dispute resolution, it may have its flaws, but I believe a better alternative to the use of international arbitration to resolve disputes in cross-border commercial agreements has yet to be discovered.
What’s your favourite city to arbitrate in?
Paris. It is one of the most arbitration-friendly jurisdictions in the world (as confirmed by the newly adopted law on arbitration), offers great facilities and has the presence of the ICC.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
If you are a meat lover like myself, I would recommend the restaurant A Figueira Rubaiyat in São Paulo. Nice spot with great food.