Despite being one of the largest cities in the world and arguably the foremost financial centre in Latin America, only two law firms currently send English trainees to their São Paulo office.
Therefore, the opportunity to spend six months in Clifford Chance’s office here was an experience that would have been hard to turn down…
Although it’s winter in Brazil, São Paulo currently has blue skies with average temperatures of above 20°. Combined with world cup fever (which equates to lots of green and yellow, vuvuzelas and the complete abandonment of all work during Brazil matches) and readily available caipirinhas, my experience so far has been very positive.
São Paulo is a very fun city to live in, and being so large there really is something for everyone. Parque do Ibirapuera is São Paulo’s equivalent of Central Park – it’s perfect for sunbathing, running or people and dog watching and there are often free concerts and events on. There are also numerous museums and galleries, sporting events, mammoth shopping malls and all kinds of bars and clubs. Food here is very good on the whole, with Italian food and sushi being particular specialities, along with the more traditional meat churrascarias. While the cost of living and shopping is surprisingly high in general, manicures, Havaianas and cachaça are all available at rock bottom prices for affordable regular treats.
The highlight of living in São Paulo for me has been having the opportunity to travel around Brazil. Rio is only a 45 minute flight away and the generous ’feriado’ (holiday) allowance means long weekends are a fairly regular occurrence. Having already taken trips to Rio, Ilha Grande and Iguaçu Falls, plans for my final few months include Buenos Aires, Salvador and trekking in the Amazon and Pantanal. Although public transport in and around São Paulo is limited, Clifford Chance provides its trainees with a car which means weekend trips to the local beaches and countryside are possible.
Clifford Chance has had a presence in São Paulo since 1990; it was the first foreign law firm to register with the Brazilian Bar Association in São Paulo and is currently the largest non-Brazilian law firm in the country. The office undertakes project finance, leveraged finance, corporate and M&A and capital markets work under both English and New York law. As a trainee lawyer here you have the opportunity to be involved with everything, making the experience a lot more varied than my previous seats in London.
Overall I’ve had a fantastic time in São Paulo and it has been the perfect end to my training contract with Clifford Chance.