Maalouf Ashford finds foothold in Brazil and India

New York firm Maalouf Ashford & Talbot is entering the Brazilian and Indian markets, three years after signing an association in Saudi Arabia.

The firm is launching an office in São Paulo with the hire of corporate and finance lawyer Alexandre Lopes. Lopes’s prior experience includes a stint at the General Attorney’s Office of the State of São Paulo and he has represented clients in transactions involving Brazil, China, the Middle East and Europe.

Meanwhile, Maalouf Ashford has signed an association with Indian sole practitioner Swarn Kumar to gain a foothold in India. Local bar regulations prohibit foreign firms from opening their own offices, but New Delhi-based Kumar will work alongside Maalouf Ashford on a variety of international transactions involving India.

Senior partner John Maalouf said the firm already did a lot of cross-border M&A and project finance work, particularly oil and gas deals.

“We’ve used local offices where necessary but the deal flow’s increased to such an extent that we felt it was time to put boots on the ground,” he said.

Maalouf said the firm had seen a growth in transactional work in the five years since the 2008 crash from the Bric countries. The firm already has offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai and opened in Riyadh through a local association in 2010 (5 January 2010).