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Offshore firm Conyers Dill & Pearman is launching in Brazil following an upsurge in investment flowing in and out of the country.
Conyers Dill e Pearman (Brazil) Servicos de Consultoria will open today (1 December), with partner Alan Dickson running the office as managing partner. He will be joined by partner Benjamin Dyer, who is relocating from Hong Kong.
“We’re following the clients,” Dickson said. “Over the past two to three years we’ve seen a lot of interest for Brazilian investors in our core areas of Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands [BVI], and a lot of investors are interested in Brazil.”
The office will focus primarily on general corporate, company and commercial work, with a particular emphasis on investment funds, public company listings, IPOs and holding company incorporations.
However, Dickson said there was room for significant expansion. “We’ll be looking for professional staff quite quickly and hope to have more people in place in the next six months,” he said. “Conyers opened in Singapore in 2001 and is now home to nine lawyers. That’s my goal – Singapore is my model office.”
Conyers chairman John Collis added: “Brazil is a dynamic market and establishing a physical presence here provides a distinct advantage to our São Paulo-based clients and referrers of business.”
Although the initial two-partner base may seem small, like many offshore firms Conyers works on a global team basis. The firm will feed work into its three core offices in Cayman, the BVI and Bermuda.
Dickson aims to make Conyers the leading provider of offshore services in Latin America. Conyers is the first offshore firm to put a fully manned office in the jurisdiction, although Harneys hired Norton Rose partner Marco Martins in 2007 to grow its Latin American client base.
It has been a year of expansion for Conyers. In January it became the first offshore firm to open in Moscow (The Lawyer, 14 January), and in October it opened in Mauritius (The Lawyer, 13 October).
Dickson admitted there had been a drop-off in the number of deals the firm was working on as a direct consequence of the economic slowdown.
However, he added that it had seen a shift in its workload and that restructuring work had now become more fashionable.
In 2007, Conyers hired Nigel Meeson QC of Quadrant Chambers to head its Cayman litigation practice. “Our timing has been very good,” Dickson said. “Nigel’s appointment is working out really well.”
Appleby, Ogier and Cains all followed an expansionist strategy in 2008. Ogier launched in Bahrain in October (The Lawyer, 27 October) in an attempt to show its commitment to the Middle East. Bahrain is one of the first countries in the Middle East to enact its own trust law in response to increasing interest in personal wealth planning in the region.
Appleby moved into Dubai and Zurich in September to plug into the wealth of deals coming out of the regions, while Cains opened in Singapore in July (The Lawyer, 21 July) to target work coming out of India and China.