Collaboration, perseverance and innovation. In 2020, these three principles guided our firm in helping us get through one of the most intense periods we have faced to date. We had to reflect, redirect our efforts and rethink. Yes, the journey was challenging, but our strong, deeply rooted values and collaborative culture boosted our resilience and flexibility, helping us to overcome obstacles and be closer to our professionals and clients.
As was the case with many other organizations, we had to quickly adapt to a more remote model of work. However, our significant investments in technology and data security in recent years made us confident in our ability to carry this out. After two weeks of intense work and dedication, the firm’s approximately 1,200 professionals moved from working at the office to working from home.
Now, harnessing the use of technology to our advantage, the firm carries out its work in a new, 100% digital format. Virtual tools have allowed us to uphold the same levels of care and attention in our relationships with clients and business partners, reinforcing our availability to them while maintaining our standards of excellence in the services we provide.
In the first days of social distancing and isolation, we could see the feelings of solidarity and community between our professionals – inherent characteristics of our way of working and relating – were becoming even stronger. This helped to transform the barriers brought on by the pandemic into new attitudes and perspectives. Indeed, our unity was also fundamental in overcoming the loss of our great friend, managing partner José Eduardo Carneiro Queiroz. An inspiring leader who was always ahead of his time, his management was responsible for elevating Mattos Filho to the top of the legal sector while contributing to a fairer and more egalitarian Brazil. Thus, it is our mission to continue his work. Undoubtedly, we came out of this period as a more connected, collaborative and generous group.
Taking care of our people is central to our values. Throughout the firm’s existence, we have remained committed to providing a welcoming environment and the best possible career opportunities, and 2020 required us to look even more carefully at the health and well-being of all of our professionals. The engagement of the firm’s partners and directors in this issue was critical in ensuring we could monitor how each of our teams responded to the challenges of social distancing and working remotely. Consequently, we directed our efforts towards creating specific initiatives and expanding others that had already been established – such as our mental health program, Mind.
The strength of our collaborative model stood out in the market during 2020. The firm quickly brought its multidisciplinary group of experts together for a clearer understanding of how the pandemic would impact companies across different sectors. Our output was coordinated, customized and comprehensive, allowing us to once again act as a business partner for our clients.
In spite of the pandemic, we have not stopped evolving and looking to pioneer new paths. After analyzing the growth in demand for legal services within the metropolitan area of the city of Campinas (São Paulo), we moved ahead with the opening of an office there. This action is aligned with the firm’s long-term strategy of putting the client at the center of our business and presenting our professionals with new challenges and opportunities for growth.
At the forefront of the market, we launched our ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) area, integrating the expertise of a number of practice areas to provide strategic and comprehensive legal advice on issues linked to corporate sustainability.
However, our achievements during the year were not merely restricted to business. The activities we undertake in regard to social issues gained even more relevance, as we understood our role as a law firm in facing the humanitarian crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Social DNA has been part of Mattos Filho’s priority agenda ever since the firm was founded. We were able to innovatively act on social issues through our social ecosystem, grounded on three pillars – pro bono legal service, corporate citizenship, and Instituto Mattos Filho.
The firm redirected its efforts towards ensuring the rights of vulnerable people were guaranteed during the Covid-19 pandemic so as to mitigate its damaging impacts on society. We worked in cooperation with other companies while investing further in corporate citizenship and our pro bono services, in order to reduce the social, economic and health-related impacts of this global crisis. This work has been a great source of pride for the firm and is referenced throughout this report. More detailed information can also be found in the Mattos Filho Social Report 2019/2020.
Despite all of the challenges we had to face in 2020, we reached the end of the year with positive results that reflect the strength of our culture and governance. We increased our connection with our professionals, clients and business partners, both in Brazil and abroad. We invested in new initiatives and practices, and crucially, we achieved our goals. Not only did we meet the challenge of keeping the firm the same size as before the pandemic, but we saw growth in the number of professionals and projects, as well as in our financial results.
We know that complicated times still lie ahead. Therefore, we will follow our long-term vision of fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, investing in opportunities for our professionals, putting our clients at the core of our decision-making, and acting as transformative agents of the change we strive to see in society.
With that said, we must look towards the future without losing sight of the present – the well-being of the collective must be prioritized. After all, it only makes sense for Mattos Filho to evolve if Brazil evolves as well.