Skadden commits to Brazil with Shearman capture

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has ­bolstered its Brazilian office, hiring Shearman & Sterling veteran Dick Aldrich.

<a class=Skadden commits to Brazil with Shearman capture” />Skadden Arps Slate Meagher ;& ;Flom ;has ­bolstered its Brazilian office, hiring Shearman & Sterling veteran Dick Aldrich.

Last week (9 February) The Lawyer revealed that finance partner Aldrich will lead the firm’s São Paulo office, replacing former Skadden partner Jonathan Bisgaier, who defected to Brazilian investment ­company Banking and Trading Group.

Skadden’s Latin America practice head Paul Schnell said: “Our Brazilian and New York offices work very closely together. We’ve made sure there’s been partner presence during the time that the office hasn’t had a head on the ground.”

Schnell and partner Andrea Nicolas have both been travelling between Skadden’s New York headquarters and the São Paulo office more frequently since Bisgaier’s departure.

Despite the economic slowdown, Schnell said the firm remains committed to São Paulo and the Latin America market. Skadden hopes to gradually build up and establish a 20-lawyer team on the ground.

“We may move some ­junior lawyers to the office soon, but there are no immediate plans to move more partners,” he said. “However, in time we do hope to grow the office.”

Shearman’s São Paulo office has now been hit by two partner defections in recent months, with M&A partner Alberto Luzarraga defecting to Linklaters last year. Despite this, Shearman remains confident of its Latin America capabilities.

Shearman head Andrew Jànszky said: “We moved Rob Ellison to the office last year, aiming for him to be Dick’s successor. Our ­headcount hasn’t reduced at all and we’re very happy with our capabilities in the region.”

Last year a range of international firms launched in Brazil, including Chadbourne & Parke, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Skadden.

Last week (9 January) The Lawyer reported on Simpson Thacher securing permanent office space in São Paulo. The move, which is scheduled for April, comes after lease complications delayed the launch that was pencilled in for September 2008.

New York-based partner Todd Crider will be posted to the office as of March for the majority of the year, with partner Jaime Mercado working from the office for part of the year.

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