Foreign Lawyers Are Invading Brazil According To The Big Brazilian Law Firms

Brazil has more lawyers than France and Germany. The country is filled with lawyers, but that doesn’t stop foreign lawyers from setting up firms in Brazil. One reason foreign lawyers come to Brazil to practice is criminals in Brazil are allowed multiple appeals, according to Ricardo Tosto de Oliveira Carvalho. Ricardo Tosto is a partner in the respected Brazilian law firm, Leite, Tosto e Barros Advogados. The fact that the Brazilian legal system in a mixture of Portuguese, German and Brazil law doesn’t help matters either.
Mr. Tosto specializes in international law as well as electoral law, banking and mergers and acquisitions. Tosto says hundreds of foreign-educated lawyers come to Brazil looking for cases, and many of them find them by going around the legal system. Tosto also said that in 2011, the São Paulo chapter of the national bar association (OAB-SP) tried to keep foreign lawyers out of Brazil. The bar said any alliance between Brazilian lawyers and foreign-educated lawyers is against the rules. Mr. Tosto also said the federal bar in Brasilia studied the consequences of foreign lawyers practicing in Brazil that same year. Tosto says the current law doesn’t allow cross-jurisdictional legal work in Brazil. In other words, foreign lawyers are not allowed to work in law firms that employ Brazilian lawyers, but that doesn’t stop foreign lawyers from being consultants. But that association is unethical, according to some Brazilian lawyers, but it is allowed by the bar.
The more than 800,000 lawyers in Brazil don’t need lawyers from other countries opening offices or acting as consultants, but many lawyers in Brazil call on foreign lawyers to help them in complicated cases. Foreign educated lawyers are not considered lawyers in Brazil, according to some lawyers. Those lawyers say Brazilian lawyers that do consult with lawyers from other countries are breaking the ban on multi-disciplinary procedures. That statement is considered convoluted reasoning to everyone except those lawyers. The ban statement is a prime example of the nature of Brazilian law, according to Tosto.
The number of foreign lawyers that open law firms in Brazil is growing every year. One reason for the increase is to shake up the status quo that exists in the attorney community. There are six or seven large Brazilian law firms that handle most of the big cases in the country, and that means their get big fees. Medium size law firms hook up with foreign attorneys to challenge the oligopoly that exists within the legal profession.