With full-service capability and an expert team prepared to promptly respond to new scenarios and legal challenges, Mattos Filho has established itself as an ideal business partner for companies across all sectors of the economy.
Close, lasting and trusting relationships are a hallmark of Mattos Filho. More than ever, 2020 required quick responses to client demands and sophisticated legal solutions, and the firm was able to strengthen these relationships even further. “As a collaborative full-service firm with a multidisciplinary focus, we were able to adapt quickly to the new scenario in 2020, which made all the difference when facing the numerous challenges,” said Marcelo Mansur, a partner in Mattos Filho’s Insurance, Reinsurance and Private Pensions practice area. He is also responsible for leading the firm’s approach to services that assist with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on client business.
One of the main attributes of the firm’s professionals is their ability to adapt to new scenarios, the result of an internal culture that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, valuing free thought and creativity. This was fundamental for Mattos Filho’s ability to respond quickly to a wide range of requests from clients.
To ensure this service maintained the firm’s standards of excellence, its partners formed a multidisciplinary committee to strategically organize and allocate demands between practice areas, connecting professionals with specialist expertise in particular topics to formulate legal solutions tailored to each client.
The committee also played a crucial role in aligning responses to clients from different industries, as well as in establishing the firm’s positions on a wide variety of legal issues that appeared during 2020. This allowed Mattos Filho to be assertive in taking action, keeping in close contact with clients while anticipating their needs in advance.
“By combining all of our expertise in the various sectors and industries we serve, we were able to promptly offer the ideal solutions each situation required,” pointed out Sólon Cunha, a partner in the Labor, Employment and Executive Compensation practice area – one of the firm’s most sought-after areas during the pandemic. Partners from this practice area assisted in demands from various sectors, particularly in regard to Law No. 14,020, which implemented an emergency program for maintaining employment and income. This law allowed for the suspension of employment contracts and reduced working hours and wages to preserve jobs in the midst of the crisis.
Tax law also continued to be one of Brazil’s leading legal issues in 2020. Facing numerous economic and financial difficulties during the pandemic, many companies considered ways to optimize their tax outlay as a means of generating or preserving revenue, helping to ensure their survival.
“Along with other matters aimed at streamlining tax, corporate reorganizations, implementing new structures, and analyzing the effects of tax in debt and contract negotiations were constant themes during 2020,” said Glaucia Lauletta, a partner in Mattos Filho’s Tax practice area. “Long-debated topics were mixed with new issues, several of which were linked to the expansion of economic activity in the virtual environment.”
Legal solutions hub: end-to-end legal service during the pandemic
When combined with its professionals’ profound knowledge of various industries and business models, the firm’s work across more than 35 different practice areas provided Mattos Filho with the capability to give a competitive advantage to clients seeking its legal advice.
“Collaboration was, and remains, one of our strong points. On many occasions, clients would come to us with a specific issue in mind, but we often realized there was a need to broaden the scope, so we brought in professionals from other areas to offer more strategic legal advice. This type of response was both positively received and valuable for the clients who sought out Mattos Filho,” said Thiago Sombra, a partner in the areas of Compliance, Technology, and Administrative Law.
In order to offer personalized service while handling the high volume of pandemic-related requests, Mattos Filho implemented an internal rotation system for lawyers in the practice areas with the most demand, promoting the exchange of knowledge and boosting productivity.
“We listen to and learn a lot from the companies we assist. By developing active listening, we have been able to conduct more sophisticated analysis, strategically positioning ourselves and designing specific products together with our clients,” said Thiago Sombra.
One of the sectors that saw the most demand in 2020 was the healthcare sector. A series of bills concerning health measures were presented to help fight against the pandemic, while The National Supplementary Health Agency (ANS) determined certain other measures with effects for health insurance companies and their beneficiaries. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health also published an ordinance concerning the regulation of telemedicine.
Faced with so many new developments, our clients needed to make immediate and important decisions. “Understanding the scenario by mapping regulations and regularly analyzing impacts on clients was a key factor in how we carried out our work. Most of the new regulations were adopted on a temporary basis, but these changes have led to reflections on how we expect the future to be, especially in terms of digital health,” said Ana Cândida Sammarco, a partner in Mattos Filho’s Life Sciences and Healthcare practice area.
Ana explained that a large part of her work involved reassuring clients, providing a sense of legal certainty in a rapidly changing regulatory environment. “Our ability to present several points of view on the same subject was an important factor for clients. Mattos Filho’s collaborative model really made a difference. The various areas were all involved in serving clients in the best possible way,” she added.
Mattos Filho’s ability to strategically view its clients’ business also allowed the firm to identify new opportunities in improving markets where corresponding regulatory bodies managed to keep their agendas up to date with the pandemic. 2020 was marked by important movements in the Brazilian digital payments sector. The main regulatory initiatives involved the launch of the PIX instant payments system, advances in Open Banking and the development of a payment card receivables registry.
“In the wake of the movement towards digitalization, the payments industry has gained further relevance. We make sure we are aware of these new possibilities in order to support our clients, enabling them to attain more positive results,” said Larissa Arruy, a partner in Mattos Filho’s Banking and Financial Services practice area.
This approach was applied when attending organizations in several different sectors – from food and beverage to oil and gas. Monitoring movements in the market and knowing when to take action were essential for the firm to offer integrated, comprehensive solutions.
2020 was an intense and challenging year that offered Mattos Filho important lessons about how it should conduct its activities, both in the present and in the future. Creativity and innovation – inherent characteristics of the firm’s culture – have been decisive in forming new ways of thinking and acting that monitor and anticipate trends and changes in the market, ensuring that clients’ needs are addressed.
“The firm cannot afford to disregard the many lessons learned during this period,” said Litigation and Arbitration partner Eduardo Damião Gonçalves. “We need to keep reflecting to see how we can continue evolving, so that our services are more and more connected to the current and future needs of our clients and society.”
New products for new demands
The firm also created new products and solutions for the market in 2020. “We acted entrepreneurially in the sense that we stayed at the front of the pack, anticipating new developments. We found solutions for new problems that didn’t exist before. Clients were often forced to make quick decisions, and our team of experts were ready to support them, coordinating their efforts to provide the best legal solutions,” explained Mansur.
One example of Mattos Filho’s work in this respect concerned the strengthening of its Electoral Law practice area. Although the firm has been providing specialized service in this area since 2018, the practice was consolidated in 2020 and it acted in the Brazilian municipal elections for the first time – covering over 5,000 municipalities.
In light of growing discussions and new demands from financial markets for more sustainable corporate practices, the firm pioneered ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) in the Brazilian legal sector with the launch of its ESG practice area.
A reflection of the firm’s entrepreneurial vision, the new area is already well-structured and counts on the expertise of lawyers specialized in the three pillars of ESG.
Juliana Ramalho, a partner in Mattos Filho’s Charities, Social Business and Human Rights practice area and one of the partners in charge of the firm’s ESG practice, explained that professionals work on ESG-related cases in accordance with the specific needs and reality of each client. “Our governance model allows us to comprehensively address environmental, social and corporate governance issues, as we work in a collaborative and structured way. The firm’s social DNA is another standout factor – we have been offering pro bono services for over 20 years and have developed many social programs and activities during this time, which reflects our commitment to ESG issues.”
The firm’s ESG practice is organized along five lines: Environment, Climate Change, Human Rights and Business, Sustainable Finance, and Risk Management and Governance. “The ESG-related demands of clients, investors and financiers are complex because they involve many different aspects of law. Therefore, we focus our work on these five main lines, as we believe they represent this interdisciplinarity,” added Juliana Ramalho.
With the constant development of its practice areas and new operations in line with market needs, Mattos Filho meets client demands with customized services, enhancing its status as a reputable business partner and the law firm of choice for clients. “Although there are many ways to center the business around clients, being appropriately structured to understand their demands is critical. Understanding the needs of the market allows us to create value for our clients. Active listening and the search for innovation are an integral part of the vision that permeates through all of the firm’s practice areas,” said Marina Anselmo Schneider, a partner in both the Finance and the Infrastructure and Energy areas.
Always where the client needs us
Mattos Filho continues to expand its reach in important economic centers around the world, with offices in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, New York and London. The firm announced its arrival to the city of Campinas (São Paulo) by opening an office there on July 14, 2020 – coinciding with the city’s birthday. The new office aims to strengthen relationships with clients and generate jobs for local professionals in the region.
This expansion also allows Mattos Filho to more closely provide its full-service capability to clients located in the nine metropolitan regions found in the state of São Paulo, aside from the capital city itself. The decision to move into Campinas is a result of Mattos Filho’s strategic planning and long-term vision of continuous growth.
“Campinas is a region rich in opportunity and has seen investment from a number of sectors, especially in technology. Considering the prospects for economic development, we have supported clients already operating in the region. Our recognized team focuses its expertise on finding innovative solutions for a large variety of legal demands,” said Labor, Employment and Executive Compensation partner Vilma Kutomi, who heads the Campinas office with another of the firm’s partners – João Marcos Colussi, from the Tax practice area.
Proximity, despite social distancing
With the onset of social distancing and remote work, meetings and relationships have undergone numerous changes. In this regard, technology has been an excellent ally for the firm. While travel and face-to-face meetings have been postponed for the foreseeable future, digital tools and platforms have closed the distance between the firm and its clients, allowing for the same level of attention. “Mattos Filho demonstrated its resilience and ability to adapt to social distancing measures, managing to offer its services with the same level of quality. The practice areas have made the necessary adjustments and reinvented themselves in order to thrive in this new reality,” said Pablo Sorj, a partner in Mattos Filho’s Infrastructure and Energy practice.
The four departments that make up Mattos Filho’s Management and Development Group are responsible for providing administrative and operational support to the firm’s technical area. They played an essential role during 2020, planning relationship strategies and providing new tools to ensure the practice areas can stay in close contact with clients. Several initiatives were launched to share specialized content, using multiple formats to communicate necessary information without overburdening clients with excessive news and updates.
Meanwhile, certain types of market content previously presented at meetings and events were adapted to digital formats, ensuring that the firm’s audience continued to receive important analysis to assist in managing the uncertainty of 2020.
Quality information at the right time
Único – Mattos Filho’s news portal – turned one year old in 2020, consolidating itself as an important channel for the firm to communicate with its strategic audiences. It hosts information and the expert analysis of Mattos Filho’s partners, associates and practice areas by way of opinion pieces, analytical texts, podcasts and videos.
Launched in 2020, Podcast Único brings together specialists from the firm to analyze current pressing legal issues and indicate innovative solutions for the day-to-day running of companies across all sectors of the economy. It is available on all major streaming platforms.
Sent to clients weekly, it compiles the latest analysis from the firm’s experts concerning the legal impacts of coronavirus for business.
Launched in 2020, Portal Mattos Filho is a specific platform for client-firm relations which hosts webinars and exclusive complimentary material created by the firm’s practice areas. The portal offers clients personalized content, allowing them to choose the most suitable and relevant practice areas for their business.
Papers and infographic documents
These materials were developed to quickly and visually explain the impacts of the pandemic on different industries.
Mattos Filho Collab
Webinars with the firm’s experts discussing hot topics in the legal sector that impact clients’ business. Mattos Filho Collab focuses on maintaining the quality of face-to-face experiences with the convenience of remote participation.