Linklaters São Paulo head quits for Proskauer Rose

Linklaters has lost the head of its São Paulo office, finance partner David Fenwick, to Proskauer Rose.

Linklaters has lost the head of its São Paulo office, finance partner David Fenwick, to Proskauer Rose.

Fenwick said his decision to move was unrelated to Linklaters’ Project New World restructure, the implications of which are still unclear for the firm’s international offices.

“I’d been talking to Pro­skauer for 15 months before joining,” said Fenwick. “It’s about the attraction of Proskauer rather than a complaint about ­Linklaters.”

It is understood that ­Linklaters has not made a direct replacement, but a spokesperson said the São Paulo partners will be ­supported by Ray Fisher and Alberto Luzárraga in New York.
Proskauer is expanding its local team as the Brazilian economy slows down significantly. Data released by the Brazilian government last month revealed that the country’s GDP retracted by 3.6 per cent in the last quarter of 2008 when compared with the third quarter.

But São Paulo office head Tony Piccirillo was upbeat about the future of the office. “The Brazilian ­market is underserved with top-quality lawyers. We’ll always be fine, even in the worst circumstances,” he said.

Fenwick argued that the key to success was performing a trusted adviser role, which he said he did for major Brazilian bank Itaú, counselling it on aspects of its takeover of ­fellow Brazilian bank ­Unibanco, agreed at the end of 2008.

Head of the Latin America practice Carlos Martinez said he was targeting ­further regional growth. “We have support from management to be a leader in the region and [to grow from three to] at least five partners who work exclusively with Latin America,” he said.