Forward-thinking full-service firm with mining roots
This firm is highly recommended for services in the following work areas: Administrative Law, Anti-Corruption Investigations and Compliance, Corporate and M&A, Intellectual Property, Labour, Litigation, Mining & Metals, Project Finance & Infrastructure, Tax, Telecoms & Media, Trade
Azevedo Sette may have its roots in Belo Horizonte and the Brazilian mining sector, but it is far from a boutique these days. It is now strong in corporate and M&A mandates and fields solid labour, administrative and tax practice groups.
Despite political and economic uncertainty in recent years, the firm has won a loyal clientele, including mining giant Vale. Other clients in the energy and renewables sector have placed their confidence in the outfit, enlisting it for all their finance and corporate matters.
Azevedo Sette is keen to build a market-leading service offering, demonstrated in recent years by a series of lateral hires and promotions. The outfit is quite easily able to retain talent, thanks to its prestige in the market. In a recent example of the outfit’s market standing, founding partner Ordélio Azevedo Sette received Latin Lawyer’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2023. The practice is currently helmed by managing partner Luiz Azevedo Sette, who offers clear direction and values.
The group’s wide-reaching offering does not compromise the detailed and deep knowledge held by its lawyers. The cohort won praise from clients for its capacity for handling incredibly complex matters and bringing both local and globally minded solutions to the table. The firm was also lauded for its consistency in going above and beyond the expected.
Azevedo Sette is in the middle of a five-year plan (ending in 2025), which will see its offices, compensation plans and IT systems remodelled. The firm’s overall strategy is also reviewed regularly to optimise responses to emerging trends, as leadership keeps a keen eye on the latest undercurrents driving market opportunities.
The continuity and perpetuity of the group are now Azevedo Sette’s priorities. It has a structured career plan that provides lawyers with a clear path to the partnership, in addition to the support of organic growth within its ranks.
While many competitors originated in São Paulo, Azevedo Sette Advogados was founded in the mining hub of Belo Horizonte. It now has five offices in the country: Brasília, Recife and Rio de Janeiro, in addition to Belo Horizonte and São Paulo.
Alliances & networks
Azevedo Sette is a member of law associations Legal Network International and LexUniversal.
Corporate and M&A
Key partners: Luiz Azevedo Sette provides corporate know-how from an impressive in-house career at Microsoft. Fernando Azevedo Sette specialises in commercial contracts and wealth succession matters. Project finance expertise is provided by Frederico Bopp Dieterich, while reputed practitioner and founding partner Ordélio Azevedo Sette brings knowledge in the project finance, mining and pensions sectors, and was previously the president of the International Chamber of Commerce of Brazil. Ana Paula Terra Caldeira, Luiz Azevedo Sette and Ricardo Barretto Ferreira da Silva all come recommended in LACCA Approved, a survey of in-house counsel published by the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, which is affiliated to Latin Lawyer. In a recent development, it hired André de Godoy Fernandes from Mattos Engelberg Echenique Advogados.
Analysis: Azevedo Sette Advogados’ corporate practice group is full to the brim with impressive talent. High-profile M&As are commonplace for this group, while more complex deals are also handled with enviable ease by the team. The firm has a stellar reputation in Brazil’s mining industry, and its energy sector historically wins a stream of instructions on significant cross-border work. However, as Brazil’s economic landscape evolves, the corporate team is well placed to advise across a range of industries. Of late, Brazilian design company Handmade Assessoria Digital enlisted this team when it was acquired by Chicago-headquartered software group Thoughtworks. It recently advised Vale on the sale of iron ore and manganese assets to J&F Investimentos for more than US$1.2 billion. In another mandate, it helped a subsidiary of construction group JMalucelli in the divestment of Gás Verde, a biomethane production company, to Urca Energia.
Mining & metals
Key partners: Leonardo Pereira Lamego helms this practice group and leads on environmental matters. Fernando Azevedo Sette, Ana Paula Terra Caldeira and Leonardo Farinha Goulart are additional key names.
Analysis: The firm’s mining practice group is well rounded, advising on matters ranging from M&A to litigation as well as competition law, project finance and real estate matters. Since it was launched more than 50 years ago, this team has made a name for itself as a one-stop shop for mining matters, ranging from royalties, mining rights and environmental law to due diligence, administrative and judicial litigation. The entire team is based in Belo Horizonte, a convenient base from which to access the firm’s clients in the mining industry’s heartland of Minas Gerais. Given the labour-intensive nature of the industry, the department works closely with the firm’s employment law team. In a recent high-profile case, the firm helped Vale in the settlement agreement regarding the dam collapse in Brumadinho. The agreement – worth US$6.8 billion – is the highest-value settlement signed for an environmental disaster in the Americas. Fellow Brazilian mining groups Samarco and Sintertec are other recent clients of this team. Clients flock to heap praise on this team. Its punctuality, commitment to ethics, clear communication and proximity to clients are just some of the main draws according to customers.
Project finance & infrastructure
Key partners: Belo Horizonte-based Frederico Bopp Dieterich oversees the bulk of infrastructure cases, building on his legal experience at Brazilian conglomerate Andrade Gutierrez. Alongside him in Minas Gerais is Fernando Azevedo Sette, while Leonardo Moreira Costa de Souza is active in transactions from the São Paulo office.
Analysis: The infrastructure group has an impressive portfolio of public-private partnership (PPP), privatisation and public law expertise. The highly skilled team works closely with the administrative law group to navigate regulatory matters. Its historic ties to the mining and energy industries certainly help this group curry favour with clients. The group is currently helping construction and engineering group CCR with the bids for toll road concessions. Other recent clients include development bank BNDES, which turned to this team for advice on the structures behind PPP projects.
Key partners: Frederico Bopp Dieterich, who comes recommended in LACCA Approved, and Leonardo Moreira Costa de Souza, in São Paulo, jointly lead this department. Other key names are Rafael Adler and Bruna Bouissou.
Analysis: Often seen working collaboratively with the firm’s highly regarded infrastructure and projects team, Azevedo Sette’s administrative law department is visible working for major construction and telecommunications companies. A high-profile source of work is advising concessionaires on multimillion-dollar urban transportation, energy and other relevant projects. The firm has been hired by public entities to help structure PPPs. The team recently helped a local property developer – Cataratas – in a bid for the concession of the largest zoo in Latin America, São Paulo state zoo. The team also recently advised state development bank BNDES in the structure of a PPP agreement for the sewerage services in the northern state of Ceará. “This team has the capacity and legal bandwidth to handle complex matters”, said one recent client.
Key partners: Responsibility for the practice is shared among Leila Azevedo Sette, Luanna Vieira de Lima Costa and Gustavo Magalhães Assis in Belo Horizonte, as well as Silvia Pellegrini Ribeiro in São Paulo.
Analysis: Azevedo Sette Advogados’ labour practice group is well regarded and lawyers here are visible on administrative and judicial litigation cases, as well as class action suits, representing both Brazilian and international companies. The group also assists clients with collective bargaining and labour disputes. The Brazilian subsidiary of Volkswagen has enlisted this team for several labour and administrative matters, including an indemnity action by former employees against the client. Telecoms group Claro is another recent patron.
Key partners: Mauricio Pernambuco Salin in São Paulo and Leandra Guimarães in Belo Horizonte co-head the practice group. Guimarães comes recommended in LACCA Approved. Partners Ricardo Barretto Ferreira da Silva in São Paulo and Clarissa Viana in Belo Horizonte are also notable.
Analysis: Azevedo Sette Advogados’ tax practice group stands out for its geographical reach, which benefits clients thanks to Brazil’s state-by-state tax system and across all levels from municipalities to federal. In addition to its presence in the firm’s hometown Belo Horizonte and Brazil’s main economic hub – São Paulo – the practice has a solid team in the capital Brasília, home to the tax administrative tribunal. The firm has been retained to defend Bunge in administrative and judicial litigation cases. Multilatina Alicorp has also recently enlisted this team for tax lawsuits. These lawyers also oversee tax disputes, strategic tax planning and periodic tax reviews. Clients have described the firm as responsive, and point out that lawyers always deliver.
Anti-corruption investigations and compliance
Key partners: Isabel Franco is a prominent figure here and comes recommended in LACCA Approved. She is one of Brazil’s foremost compliance lawyers, with a stellar reputation. Franco is described by one client as “outstanding”. Luiz Eduardo Salles co-heads the practice group, and brings international trade, economic law and antitrust advice.
Analysis: Azevedo Sette Advogados has been building a profile in this field for some time, but the addition of practice co-head Franco in 2019 has put the team firmly on the map. The group mainly concentrates on investigations. It has been retained by Brazilian construction company CCR to conduct due diligence reports into senior executives. Santo Antonio Energia enlists Azevedo Sette for all its compliance, investigation and white-collar crime needs.
Telecoms & media
Key partners: Ricardo Barretto Ferreira da Silva, who is widely seen as one of Brazil’s leading names in this field, is the top contact here.
Analysis: Azevedo Sette Advogados blends traditional telecoms regulatory skills with technology and media law experience. In the technology area, the team assists clients with the drafting and negotiation of contracts for software distribution and licensing, outsourcing, personal data protection, domain name issues, joint ventures and partnerships for online businesses, mobile payments and internet applications. The department has a niche advising media and entertainment clients on matters ranging from IP rights and audio-visual tax benefits to the financing of sports and cultural events, and payment platforms in online gaming.
Key partners: Ricardo Barretto Ferreira da Silva leads the practice group and is highly regarded in the media, technology and entertainment sectors. Roberto Mariano de Oliveira Soares is based in Brasília and comes recommended in LACCA Approved.
Analysis: Azevedo Sette Advogados’ IP team is a one-stop shop for clients looking for advice on copyrights, trademarks and patents for industrial, technological, advertising or artistic use. The department has a focus on assisting software companies in Brazil and has carefully nurtured long-term relationships with several high-profile names, with Gucci being one example. The luxury fashion giant’s marketing department has retained Azevedo Sette for several agreements related to image rights, creation of digital content and other IP matters in Brazil. Global gaming and entertainment group Electronic Arts and Brazilian pharmaceuticals company Orygen Biotecnologia are other recent clients.
Key partners: Ricardo Azevedo Sette, founder of the Brazilian Defence Lawyers Association, Paulo Ciari de Almeida Filho and Danielle Chipranski Cavalcante are all prominent and based in the firm’s São Paulo office. Leonardo Platais leads the disputes team in Rio de Janeiro, with top-tier know-how on civil litigation and arbitration. João Capanema Barbosa Filho helms the group in Belo Horizonte, where mining partner Leonardo Farinha Goulart and Marcos Augusto Leonardo Ribeiro also feature. Rodrigo Badaró de Castro, whose practice includes IP, telecoms and IT law, is head of the team in Brasília. Castro, Ribeiro and Roberto Mariano de Oliveira Soares all come recommended in LACCA Approved.
Analysis: Azevedo Sette’s civil litigation and arbitration practice group assists clients through a range of disputes covering corporate, labour and tax matters, as well as consumer issues. The team is spread across four of the firm’s offices: São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília. Lawyers in all four locations frequently handle drafting, filing and monitoring of appeals at the state courts, federal regional courts and the Superior Court of Justice in Brasília. Mining giant Anglo American is a returning client, while the team has also recently helped Volkswagen in strategic and consumer lawsuits. One client commends the group for their advice on the most complex cases.
Key partners: Luiz Eduardo Salles is the practice head and works out of São Paulo.
Analysis: The expertise on offer in Azevedo Sette’s trade department – especially on local and foreign legislation – places this team above many others. It has won clients from Brazil as well as from Europe, the United States and China. The highly specialised team is clued up on World Trade Organization laws, customs and tariff measures, import and export control, and Brazilian foreign trade policy. The group regularly litigates before government-led trade agencies. Companies in Brazil’s telecommunications sector are recent clients, along with international construction groups.