A fifth have opened an office in Brazil since the country won the bid to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup

According to research from international legal recruitment firm Laurence Simons, the number of top 20 UK law firms with an office in Brazil since 2007 has more than doubled. The country has seen an increase from three to seven firms which now includes six of the ten largest firms in the UK.

Firms who have opened a Brazil office since 2007 include Allen & Overy, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose and CMS. They join Clifford Chance, Clyde & Co and Linklaters who already had a presence in the region prior to the news that Brazil would be hosting one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

Ricardo Chazin, head of Private Practice at Laurence Simons Sao Paulo, said: “Although clearly still developing, Brazil has a dynamic and thriving legal market with a host of opportunities for candidates – both in private practice and in-house. The World Cup bid brought with it a proliferation of projects requiring legal expertise, ranging from infrastructure and construction to contract negotiations.

“With a growing number of multinational companies expanding their operations here, there continues to be a thriving demand for talented legal professionals to support anticipated economic development over the coming years.”

Naveen Tuli, global managing director of Laurence Simons International, said: “The legal profession has undeniably felt the impact of Brazil’s emergence on the world stage, to become the seventh largest economy, coupled with its successful bid to host the World Cup. Seven of the largest 20 UK firms have now established offices, typically in Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, catering for the burgeoning domestic legal market and also broadening the scope for recruiting talent.”

Per capita, Brazil has the second largest ratio of lawyers in the world, after the US, with 848,000 members of the Order of Attorneys of Brazil. This compares to 158,000 solicitors on the Law Society roll in the UK. This equates to one lawyer for every 233 people in Brazil, compared to just one in every 400 in the UK.

Senior lawyers in Brazil get paid an average base salary equivalent to £62,499, with around half receiving a bonus last year to bring the average total remuneration to £91,328. By comparison, UK lawyers get paid almost twice as much at £108,690, with bonuses bringing total remuneration to £140,185.

However, lawyers in Brazil enjoy a higher ratio of total remuneration to local wealth than those in the UK. The average lawyer in Brazil earns almost thirteen times GDP capita, compared to six in the UK. “Aside from attractive legal pay relative to living costs, Brazil offers great prospects for career progression,” says Tuli. “All of this makes Latin America’s largest economy an alluring proposition.”

So will we see more law firms following major sporting events and expanding into new makets? “We fully expect that the subsequent tournaments secured by Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022 will only add to the legal migration around the globe,” says Tuli.

 

This article was first published in the Solicitors Journal on 18 June 2014 and is reproduced with kind permission. 

 

Read Liam Smith’s thoughts on lawyers taking advantage of major sporting events here.

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