Cleary expands Latin American reach with São Paulo launch

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has officially opened an office in São Paulo after receiving the necessary approval from Brazilian authorities.

São Paulo
São Paulo

The US firm first announced its intention to open in the Brazilian financial hub last year (19 November 2010), and the new base will be its second in Latin America, following its opening in Buenos Aires in 2009.

Partners Juan Giraldez and Francisco Cestero are heading the new office after relocating to São Paulo from New York and Rome respectively.

In a statement, Cleary Gottlieb managing partner Mark Leddy said: “Brazil’s a significant part of our leading Latin America practice, which began over 50 years ago and now includes more than 100 lawyers.

“Our São Paulo office will enhance our ability to provide the best possible legal services to our clients with interests in Brazil and throughout the region.”

The new office will offer clients a full range of international legal services including international financing, cross-border M&A, regulatory and tax issues, corporate governance and litigation and arbitration.

Cleary Gottlieb has had a presence in the Latin America and Brazil markets for a number of years, and has about 20 lawyers focusing on transactions involving Brazil and more than 25 Portuguese speakers in its New York office.

The firm is best known for its capital markets and corporate work in the region, with high-profile deals including Petrobras’ $67bn global equity offering, VisaNet Brasil’s $3.7bn IPO and Grupo Bimbo’s $959m acquisition of Sara Lee’s North American Fresh Baker business.

Its São Paulo launch follows an announcement by US rival Davis Polk that it is also poised to open an office in the financial centre (12 July 2011).

US firms who have already established a base in São Paulo include Chadbourne & Parke, Gibson Dunn and Mayer Brown.