LG secures non-exclusive association in Brazil

Merger-ready Lawrence Graham has struck up a non-exclusive association with a Brazilian firm to boost its global presence.

The link-up with Brazilian firm Motta Fernandes Rocha – Advogados (MFRA) will give the firm access to 70 lawyers in two offices in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro specialising in M&A, investment funds, private equity and infrastructure. The corporate boutique firm has 40 partners.

LG is in the early stages of merger talks with Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) which would edge any joint entity towards the top 20 UK firms by revenue (18 May 2012).

LG launched in Singapore earlier this year, and a £150m tie-up with FFW would give it bases in Brussels, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Manchester, Munich and Paris. FFW would benefit from offices in Dubai, Monaco and Moscow.

Senior partner Andrew Witts said LG had a long-standing interest in Brazil, in particular through the practice areas of dispute resolution and investment funds.

Witts was instructed in 2005 for the Brazilian government in a long-running corruption case, which was the first time Brazil had retained a private law firm outside of the country. The trial of former São Paulo mayor Paulo Maluf starts next month.

He said that case was the firm’s “in” and that its reputation has grown with further instructions on insolvency cases including the notorious Banco Santos collapse.

Witts said: “I’ve known MFRA for several years and as we’ve enjoyed a good profile in the Brazilian market without ever having an office there, it was an opportunity for a non-exclusive association.

“We’ll be able to provide their overseas clients with a more international service and from our perspective Brazil’s an important jurisdiction, so for us to have a firm of its quality and market knowledge is really helpful.

“It gives us that comfort that our clients’ interests in Brazil are well served.”

MFRA partner Otto Lobo said: “We’ve known LG for a long time and have worked with several of its partners. Not only are they perceived as one of the premier law firms in the UK, but its international outreach in Europe, the Middle East and Asia make this non-exclusive alliance a good match.”