K&L Gates makes South America entrance with Sao Paulo launch

K&L Gates has secured its first presence in South America with the launch of an office in Sao Paulo.

Corporate partner Alan Berkeley, who currently divides his time between London and Washington DC, and New York finance partner Marc Veilleux will head up the launch, which marks the US firm’s first office in South America and its 39th worldwide.

The new office, which will operate as a foreign legal consultancy under Brazilian Bar Association rules, will work with K&L Gates’ existing clients in building up their operations in Brazil, while it will also allow the firm to expand the range of work it handles for its Brazilian clients.

Veilleux said: “Many of our clients have identified Brazil as central to their global operations and strategy and we fully expect the country to be a continued recipient of significant inbound investment. We also believe that the trend of Brazilian companies investing abroad will only continue to accelerate in future years.”

The office will initially focus on finance and capital markets, investment management, construction and project development, intellectual property, tax and arbitration.

Between them, Berkeley and Veilleux jointly cover practice areas including finance, infrastructure, M&A, technology outsourcings as well as corporate and securities.

UK firm Eversheds recently confirmed that it is looking at opening in Brazil, joining a lengthening list of those either launching or considering doing so.

Davis Polk & Wardwell this summer hired two partners from Mayer Brown in preparation for a launch in Sao Paulo, while Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton opened for business in the Brazilian city in August after receiving approval from the local authorities.

Kennedys also launched in Brazil over the summer after agreeing an association 
with local firm Torres Marcellino & Associados.

For more, see Eversheds sets sights on Brazil as UK firms continue to eye up BRIC benefits.