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LACCA Approved: Antonio Tavares Paes Jr.

Corporate / M&A Firm: Costa e Tavares Paes Advogados Brazil

Antonio Tavares Paes Jr.

Partner

atp@ctpadv.com.br
Tel: +55 11 3372-1188

Antonio Tavares Paes Jr is a partner at Costa Tavares Paes Advogados in Brazil, a law firm with offices in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia. He is a former partner of two Brazilian firms (Wald Advogados Associados, 2008–2010, and Flecha de Lima & Tavares Paes Advogados, 2000–2008) and was a lawyer/trainee with Escritório de Advocacia Jose Thomaz Nabuco (1982–1986) and the Brazilian Reinsurance Institute (1981–1982). Outside Brazil, he was external general counsel at TeleNova Communications in Miami (2000–2002), as well as international attorney at SG Archibald in Paris (1990–1991), White & Case in New York (1988–1990) and Fox & Horan in New York (1987–1988).

Thought Leaders 2018 - Interview with Antonio Tavares Paes Jr.

What motivated you to enter the legal profession?

I come from a family heavily involved in the practice of law. My father is a retired judge and prosecutor and is currently a lawyer, as is my mother. In addition, my sister and one of my brothers are lawyers, and so are their spouses, so I have always been surrounded by lawyers, even those who were not practising professionals. I therefore found myself immersed in a world that challenged and instigated me, and I had no doubt that this was the right path for me to follow.

What has been your biggest achievement to date and why?

I believe my biggest achievement is possibly having practised law in three different countries: Brazil, the US and France. Coming from humble beginnings, this is not the kind of thing that I would have ever thought possible while growing up, but 16 years working outside Brazil proved that changing targets is not a bad thing to do.

How has Brazil’s political and economic situation impacted the country’s corporate and M&A environment over the past year?

Long-term investments such as acquisitions do not like volatility. Brazil’s economic crisis over the past three years, and a high level of political instability, have created a “perfect storm” for investors, causing them to become more risk-averse. Many investors have delayed a great number of acquisitions as a result. On the other hand, the level of instability has also caused prices to drop, especially in the local middle-market, and a few transactions did take place, with foreign investors taking advantage of the combination of beneficial foreign exchange rates and lower purchase prices to strike quite interesting deals.

How has the increase in legal and regulatory scrutiny been impacting deals in Brazil?

Buyers have become more selective, passing on opportunities where sellers are less than compliant with appropriate regulations. The higher scrutiny has also forced down the number of deals, but increased the quality and security of each of them. Over time, these requirements will become increasingly common and the tendency will be for a higher number of quality transactions.

What are the biggest challenges facing lawyers in your practice area and why?

Technology, technology, technology. The advancement of technology is a major challenge for all practitioners, irrespective of practice area and country. This is probably the single most challenging issue faced by lawyers in a very long time, as it represents a shift in paradigms – not only in circumstances.

What more could be done to improve Brazil’s corporate environment in your opinion?

Brazil faces too much bureaucracy, and this results in poor performance overall in many sectors. Reducing bureaucracy would be a very important step towards a better corporate environment. However, more than this, the most desirable improvement would be the pure and simple application of the rule of law, with no exceptions. The rule of law, in turn, requires an independent and sufficiently funded judiciary, with the necessary resources to allow for an expedient and credible source of dispute resolution. This would yield a higher level of predictability, eliminating “guesswork” and risk management from the local legal counsel.

How do you think Brazil’s rebounding economy will impact things for your law firm over the coming year?

With a better economy, at least 50 per cent of the nefarious combination of economy/politics is resolved. Fortunately for us Brazilians, it seems that there has been a decoupling between both elements, so much so that an improvement in the economy is bound to generate an independent increase in business transactions and activity overall, which, in turn, will increase the need for lawyers who are prepared to meet the growing demands. This should shift the pendulum of law firm activity from dispute resolution and corporate restructurings to new investments, acquisitions and infrastructure projects.

How do you ensure your firm stands out from the competition?

Constant, unrepentant and increasing attention to details; to client demands and expectations; to cost; and to innovation, combined with ethics and quality. If this seems like a lot, that is because it is.

What would you say is the secret to your success?

I would not call it success, but a succession of partial achievements based on hard work, persistence and patience. In the end, effort pays off.

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