Baker Botts sets sights on Rio opening

US firm Baker Botts has become the latest international law firm to confirm its plans to open an office in Rio de Janeiro.

The firm is due to open an office in Brazil’s second-largest city, marking the firm’s first foray into Latin America and its ninth international office overall.

While the exact date of the launch has not yet been confirmed, it is understood that London project finance partner John White is tipped to be the partner in charge of the new office while the firm is considering relocating one or two other lawyers to help staff the Brazilian hub.

White has acted for a number of Brazilian clients, including advising energy giant Petrobras on the tender and chartering of two LNG floating storage and regasification units.

Commenting on the firm’s plans for Rio, White told The Lawyer: “We continue to work through the process for establishing a Baker Botts office in Rio to represent our Latin American clients and that will enhance our global reach to an important and influential region of the world.”

The decision to open an office in Rio rather than the country’s financial centre São Paulo is a growing trend among international law firms. In February Hogan Lovells announced its plans to launch in Rio in order to take advantage of the influx of project finance and related work taking place in the city as it gears up to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016 (27 February 2012).

In spite of growing restrictions placed on foreign law firms by the Brazilian Bar Association, which must grant formal approval for international firms to operate in the country before they officially open for business, there are a growing number of firms looking to establish a presence in what is now considered the sixth largest economy in the world (6 February 2012).

News of the forthcoming office opening comes just months after Baker Botts opened its doors in Brussels with the hire of Hogan Lovells’ local office head Catriona Hatton and Dutch competition specialist Paul Lugard (29 August 2012).