Three Brazilian firms set to lose referrals as Jones Day picks best friend; Portuguese market opens up
Jones Day Reavis & Pogue has entered into a best friends relationship with Brazilian firm Lobo & Ibeas. The two firms have worked together on a non-exclusive basis for over 25 years, but now that the relationship has been formalised, Jones Day will not refer work to any other Brazilian firm unless there is a conflict of interest or a lack of specialist skills. Jones Day has been linked with most of Brazil's top firms, including Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice, Tozzini Freire Teixeira e Silva, Barbosa Müssnich & Aragão and Pinheiro Neto Advogados. Machado is already tied to Spanish magic circle firm Cuatrecasas. But Jones Day has eschewed its relationships with Tozzini, Barbosa and Pinheiro for a formal association with the 10-lawyer, full-service Lobo & Ibeas. In a similar move, when Jones Day entered the Spanish market in 1999 it merged with the small five-partner commercial firm Tena Munoz y Asociados in Madrid. Washington, DC-based Jones Day partner Larry Manning, who has direct responsibility for Latin America, explained why a smaller firm is often just what Jones Day needs. "The firm has traditionally entered a new market through merger, in partnership with substantially smaller firms," he said. "But there's more to this. We regard Lobo & Ibeas as a leading firm in Brazil and an excellent law firm. "We've also enjoyed a long relationship with Lobo & Ibeas, having worked with them really since they started out. Working with Jones Day is part of the culture of Lobo & Ibeas." The firm hopes that the best friends relationship with Lobo & Ibeas, which has bases in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, will strengthen the position of its Madrid office with Latin America-based clients. "This will mean work in Brazil for our Madrid office, as our Spanish team will be further positioned in Latin America through the association," commented Manning. "The Madrid office already does a lot of work in Argentina and Chile. It's not involved in any Brazilian work as yet, but we recently did a three-way bid involving the US, Madrid and Lobo & Ibeas for a joint project advising a Spanish corporation in Brazil." Manning also hinted that the Brazilian link-up has opened up future possibilities for the firm in Portugal, where firms can now practise international law. "Portugal is definitely a relevant location now, and we're always open to new things," he said.