Andersens’ Brazil ally plans local merger

Andersen Legal’s Brazilian alliance partner Branco Advogados Associados is merging with local firm Thiollier & Pinheiro Advogados.

The merger will create a 50-lawyer firm which will be known as Thiollier Pinheiro & Branco Advogados, with offices in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Rubens Branco, a partner at Branco Advogados Associados, which was the original alliance partner of the Andersen Worldwide legal arm, says: “We are experienced in corporate and tax litigation and the main reason for agreeing to the merger was to combine our experience with banking finance and labour legislation.”

Branco will assume the position of chief financial officer in the merged firm while Fernando Pinheiro, a Thiollier & Pinheiro partner, will become the managing partner.

Pinheiro, who set up Thiollier Pinheiro two years ago after leaving Brazilian top tier firm Pinheiro Neto-Advogados, says: “I had started a small law firm then Andersens came to me and said, ‘Why don’t we put the two things together?’ It put a carrot in front of me in challenging me to build a practice the size of Pinheiro Neto.”

On aligning his firm with an accountant, Pinheiro says: “Andersens has something good in training and technology which is not terribly well developed in local firms.”