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Mayer Brown is to expand its presence in the Latin American region with the addition of an office in the Brazilian city of São Paulo.
The US firm has poached Clifford Chance partner Stephen Hood to head the new office. Hood has been managing partner of the magic circle firm’s São Paulo office since 1999, having been a Clifford Chance equity partner since 1978.
The capital markets lawyer has also served on Clifford Chance’s management committee and has had spells as managing partner in both Hong Kong and New York.
Hood’s first task on joining Mayer Brown is to expand the fledgling office, with the intention of having around 12 lawyers within the next 18 months.
The principal focus of the office is to be foreign investment, debt and equity capital markets, structured finance, corporate transactions, infrastructure, trade and project finance.
Mayer Brown already has established relationships with a number of firms in Brazil and, as lawyers in the new office will practise only US and English law, these relationships will be maintained.
Mayer Brown chairman James Holzhauer said it was important for the firm to establish an office in São Paulo because it is one of the world’s fastest-growing financial markets and is experiencing a surge in IPOs, infrastructure financing and cross-border acquisitions.
“We have actively represented clients in Brazil and throughout Latin America for more than 15 years but have done it from afar,” he said. “We are now pleased to take another step toward achieving our goals and establish a long-term local presence in São Paulo.”