Dewey & LeBoeuf is preparing to launch an office in São Paulo four months after it hired the former head of Milbank’s Latin America practice Mike Fitzgerald.
Followng the hire of Fitzgerald (15 June 2011), last month the firm returned to Milbank, raiding it for São Paulo-based senior associate Steven Sandretto. Dewey now plans to begin identifying the key staff for its new Latin America office with Sandretto expected to be at its core.
Fitzgerald told The Lawyer yesterday that the firm began the licence application process for a São Paulo office three months ago.
“Typically it takes around six months to come through,” Fitzgerald added. “We have several Portugese-speaking lawyers who have expressed an interest in relocating or spending a significant amount of time there.”
The office is likely to be staffed with two partners and a total of five lawyers when it launches, Fitzgerald said. The two partners are London tax specialist Julio Castro and New York finance partner Taisa Markus, the latter also having joined from Milbank in June.
Dewey chairman Steve Davis admitted that until now São Paulo had been “a hole” in the firm’s platform.
“We need to look at every large economy on the planet and have a strategy,” added Davis. “For decades our strategy has been to focus on emerging markets. Brazil is large and booming and although we’ve always done work there, for credibility reasons you have to be there on the ground.”