Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is to open an office in Brazil next year, subject to approval of Brazilian authorities.
The São Paulo office, which is expected to include around 10 lawyers initially, will be headed by partners Juan Giráldez and Francisco Cestero. Giráldez is currently based in New York and while Cestero is a Rome-based partner, with the pair set to relocate next year.
Cleary Gottlieb managing partner Mark Walker said Brazil was “a significant part” of the firm’s Latin America practice, featuring more than 100 lawyers.
Walker added that Giráldez and Cestero’s local knowledge and broad legal expertise, combined with Cleary’s wider resources, would enhance the firm’s ability to provide legal services to clients with interests in Brazil and throughout the region.
Cleary has been one of the most visible international firms in the Latin America region for decades but has until now resisted opening an office.
It is best known for capital markets and corporate work, with recent high-profile deals including Petrobras in its $67bn global equity offering, VisaNet Brasil in its $3.7bn IPO and Grupo Bimbo in $959m acquisition of Sara Lee’s North American Fresh Baker business.