Hogan Lovells to enter Brazilian market with Rio de Janeiro launch

Hogan Lovells is to join the select band of international law firms to have entered the Brazilian market, with the firm confirming plans for a Rio de Janeiro launch later this year.

The decision was announced to partners earlier this month, with former co-chair Claudette Christian – currently based out of Washington DC – set to launch the new office.

The base’s initial focus will be infrastructure, energy and projects. Further relocations are set to be announced in due course.

The intention is to establish a full-service foreign law legal team on the ground, with the firm continuing to work with its existing client base. Up until this point, the firm has serviced its Brazilian clients from a base in Venezuela.

Christian, who has worked extensively in Brazil since 1997, advises across a broad range of commercial and financing issues with a particular focus on energy, telecommunications, transportation and aviation.

Local bar rules stipulate that international law firms are only able to practise foreign law. Senior partners within the firm have stated that a Sao Paulo launch was also likely after the Rio office is up and running.

Other firms to have launched local offices in Brazil include Clyde & Co, Baker & McKenzie and Squire Sanders.

The move comes amid growing interest in the fast-growing Latin American market from international law firms, with DLA Piper this month hiring a team to launch in Mexico.

One Hogan Lovells partner commented: “Events such as the World Cup and the Olympics mean that there will be a lot of activity in the region. We thought it made sense to play to our strengths by opening there.”

Hogan Lovells highlighted a Brazil launch in its first post-merger strategy review, as Legal Week reported last October. Brazil was among a number of key jurisdictions it wishes to enter by the close of December 2014, with Qatar and Indonesia also earmarked for office launches.

For more, see Hogan Lovells puts global growth at top of agenda in three-year strategy.