With the support and engagement of management across all areas of the firm, initiatives promoting professionals’ mental and physical well-being have been expanded and strengthened, establishing further trust and proximity between our technical and administrative teams.
Caring for others, creating opportunities, encouraging professional growth, providing a diverse and collaborative environment and, more than ever in 2020, ensuring the health and well-being of our teams – the firm’s management is based on these fundamental premises.
In the first year of the pandemic, Mattos Filho’s operations underwent a major transformation with the onset of remote working. This sudden change required creating a special committee to coordinate initiatives and ensure an adequate response that was consistent with the firm’s culture. The committee was formed by Mattos Filho’s managing partner and the leaders of the Management and Development Group, which comprises the firm’s four administrative departments.
The Human Development and Technology departments were placed at the head of this committee, charged with the ominous responsibility of transforming the firm’s then 100% face-to-face operation into a remote work format. This mission proved successful, providing adequate infrastructure and technology for an optimal remote work experience while protecting professionals’ health and well-being in the process. It also ensured data security, prompt and excellent service, and the continuation of close relationships with clients – a factor that differentiates Mattos Filho from other firms (learn more about these investments in the chapter ‘Technology and Information Security’).
“Facing the pandemic’s challenges has reinforced the culture of care and outreach at the firm. Our Human Development team has committed to following up with professionals more closely to provide the best possible support in what is a challenging period for everyone,” said department director Renata Maiorino.
Leaders also played a crucial role in maintaining close relationships between teams, staying sensitive to professionals’ concerns about social isolation, stress, or other challenges. Partners and other leaders within the Management and Development Group came up with alternatives to keep their teams engaged. “In the context of the pandemic and remote work, we encouraged further connections between teams and reinforced the importance of trust and proximity in our human management, and each team found the best way to do this. Sharing what made us vulnerable was a show of strength rather than weakness, and many groups united behind that idea,” said Marina Procknor, a partner in Mattos Filho’s Asset Management and Investment Funds practice area.
The Mattos Filho way of caring
To provide full support to our professionals during this period of challenges and uncertainty, the firm stepped up its promotion of mental health awareness through Mind, its mental health program. Mattos Filho is one of the first law firms in Brazil to implement a permanent initiative to promote mental health in the corporate environment. Since 2019, it has been invested in broadening dialogue, prevention and care in regard to issues such as depression, anxiety and burnout. With the impacts of the pandemic on society and changes to social and professional routines in 2020, Mind focused its efforts on managing anxiety and stress.
The program is supported by experts who promote debates, training and forums that follow seven different themes – physical activity, healthy eating, social interactions, positive emotions, sleep, brain training and meditation.
There was also a focus on individual monitoring, with access to mental health and tele-psychological care programs made available by the firm’s health insurance operator. Additionally, other health services were offered that had been adapted to social distancing measures, such as drive-thru influenza vaccination schemes and telemedicine services.
To reinforce its comprehensive care strategy, Mattos Filho also created a distance monitoring initiative. The firm kept in touch with professionals via telephone or contact with leaders and partners, seeking to understand the perceptions of remote working and the difficulties and challenges of social distancing. Thus, professionals could then be directed towards relevant benefits and services. Positive impressions about the new work format were also gathered.
During the early stages of the pandemic, Mattos Filho began monitoring the health of professionals who could have been exposed to Covid-19 in some way, or otherwise belonged to risk groups.
The Legal Support Network was another important initiative that highlighted the collaboration and solidarity within the firm’s culture. It allowed any professional facing personal problems arising from the pandemic (such as a need to renegotiate rental contracts or cancel travel plans, parties, and other events) to rely on legal guidance from lawyers specializing in these issues.
A new, flexible and collaborative work culture
The transformation and the challenges that the firm experienced in 2020 revealed several lessons that were then incorporated into the new routine. When thinking about the Mattos Filho of the future and without losing sight of the necessary changes in the present, the firm has proposed building a new work culture that goes far beyond the concept of working from home.
This transformation process is being constructed by professionals across all areas of the firm, who are contemplating what the new way of working will be like. “We are keeping track of the changes society is undergoing, reconsidering everything that was once the norm while understanding that the priorities of our professionals, clients and society in general are no longer the same,” said Litigation and Arbitration partner Eduardo Damião Gonçalves. “The new work model that emerges will allow us to incorporate new lessons and experiences into our daily routines naturally and dynamically.”
Marina Procknor explained that this new form of working would foster the exchange of knowledge and collaboration between different areas of the firm, as well as creating opportunities for rethinking commuting, the use of space and new technology. “The future looks very promising. We are moving towards a hybrid form of management with some significant changes, but our priority is to align these developments with well-being. This hybrid work model will allow us to shorten distances and enhance relationships between our professionals and our clients around the world.”
According to Renata Maiorino, the firm learned several lessons in 2020. “We are already developing a new work model based on flexibility and the well-being of our professionals, in line with the positive results we have seen from remote working.”
For Renata, Mattos Filho’s innovative and entrepreneurial culture created room for these changes, allowing the firm’s professionals to take charge of its continuing evolution and growth. “Our professionals have always been at the core of the business. More than ever, we now emphasize the importance of our people, of their well-being and the engagement of all. The objectives of the organization and its people cannot be disassociated from each other.”
Mattos Filho Talks opens room for debate
Created in 2018 for people within the company, Mattos Filho Talks aims to promote dialogue and the exchange of experiences concerning themes beyond the legal universe. This initiative has now been adapted to an online format.
To keep professionals engaged and to promote discussion of relevant and inspiring topics during the pandemic, the firm outlined market trends and invited leading members of the Brazilian business community to talk about their experiences, such as Abílio Diniz – Chairman of Peninsula Participações and BRF, and a board member of the Carrefour Group and Carrefour Brasil – and Luiza Trajano, Chairwoman of retailer Magazine Luiza. Mattos Filho Talks held over 40 sessions in 2020 and was received very positively by the professionals. It is expected to become part of the firm’s official agenda in the near future.
Promoting diversity and equal opportunity
Promoting a welcoming and inclusive work environment with equal opportunities for all professionals is the primary objective of the Mattos Filho Diversity and Inclusion Program. Its initiatives are based on five pillars, each with its corresponding affinity group: 4Women and EmFamília for gender equity, Mfriendly for LGBTQIAP+ rights, EmFrente for the rights of people with disabilities, Soma for racial equity, and Lire for religious freedom.
In 2020, 912 – or 65% – of the firm’s professionals actively participated in at least one of these affinity groups. Looking towards the future, a Diversity and Inclusion Commission was established at the end of the year. To make the firm’s activities even more strategic and coordinated, the commission brings together representatives of each affinity group, professionals from the Human Development and Communication and Marketing departments, as well as the Mattos Filho 100% Pro Bono practice area. Its main objective is to come up with initiatives that take intersectionality into account, contributing to attracting diverse new talent and possible partnerships to the firm.
2020 also saw the second year of Soma talentos, a racial equity affirmative action program that offers career opportunities at Mattos Filho for young first and second-year black law students. The program hired 17 students to work in different practice areas at the São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro offices, who also received mentoring from partners and senior associates, classes in legal English and Portuguese and follow-up sessions with the firm’s Human Development team.
Mattos Filho’s main diversity initiatives and their respective affinity groups are described below:
Commemorating the second anniversary of its founding at the end of 2020, the EmFrente affinity group released a guide on the rights of people with disabilities in Brazil, based on the Brazilian Statute of People with Disabilities.
Gender equity | 4Women and EmFamília
There has been an increased focus on gender equity through the 4Women affinity group, benefiting the professional development of women. Currently, women occupy about 40% of leadership positions at the firm. Meanwhile, a more egalitarian parenting culture is promoted through the new affinity group EmFamília.
In 2020, Instituto Identidades do Brasil (ID_BR) – an organization that annually recognizes the leading names, institutions and initiatives that strive for racial equality in Brazil – presented Soma with its first award, two years on from its foundation. The affinity group received the Sim à Igualdade Racial (‘Yes to Racial Equality’) award in the Employability pillar of the ‘Racial Commitment category. Mattos Filho was also invited to become a member of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, an initiative that brings law firms from all over the world together to promote equal rights for people of color.
In 2020, Mfriendly produced an infographic document on the meaning of each letter of the acronym LGBTQIAP+. Furthermore, with a focus on celebrating LGBTQIAP+ pride during June, members represented the group in external virtual events held by companies, universities and other organizations. One example was Out & Equal’s Global Perspectives webinar, which discussed the impacts of Covid-19 on the LGBTQIAP+ community and how private enterprises could get involved in supporting this cause.
Lire established a religious freedom policy that took effect at Mattos Filho in early 2020. It gives all professionals the right to be absent from work to celebrate important dates relevant to their religious beliefs, whether on a one-off or reoccurring basis.
Learn more about the diversity and inclusion initiatives promoted and supported by Mattos Filho in its 2019/2020 Social Report
Pathways to learning in a new, online model
The idea of continuous development underpins Mattos Filho’s people management model. For the last nine years, Academia Mattos Filho has offered opportunities for professionals to realize their potential while providing the right environment for building promising and purposeful careers. The firm’s Corporate Education and Organizational Development area promotes over 350 hours of training per year, including several learning pathways for both technical and soft skills. These contribute to professional development as a whole, making it possible to identify and improve personal skills to help professionals strive for excellence.
Through customized training programs, discussions and other experiences, this area works towards forming a high-performance team while spreading the firm’s institutional culture and a desire for collaboration between teams.
Prior to 2020, most of these programs were carried out in person. However, in adapting to the pandemic, the firm transferred the learning pathways to a digital format to continue offering development opportunities to all of its professionals.
live training sessions
registrations for training sessions
Trilha do saber
(‘Pathways to Knowledge’)
Aiming to foster the development of professionals in the early stages of their careers, partners from the firm’s different practice areas shared their knowledge and experience via the Trilha do Saber project. This project consisted of 13 modules regarding currently relevant technical topics to assist lawyers, trainees and interns.
Developing talent for the future of Mattos Filho
Paying attention to attracting and developing new talent at the firm is one of the key strategic aspects in building a more diverse and pluralistic future. Because of this, Mattos Filho invests in its Jovens talentos (‘Young Talent’) program, which selects law students to become interns and trainees at the firm’s São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia offices. Prior to the start of each two-year program, selected candidates are immersed in training about the firm’s culture, strategy and values, an intensive initiation that assists them in continuing their development into the future.
Following this, candidates opt for internship or trainee positions with guidance from the firm’s Human Development team. For internships, each participant works with a practice area that they already have familiarity with. Meanwhile, trainees are rotated between three of the firm’s more traditional practice areas – Litigation and Arbitration, Corporate/M&A and Tax – along with a fourth area of their choice. During the second year, one of these areas is selected for greater focus.
The fifth edition of the program commenced in 2020, with 112 new interns and trainees commencing work in the São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia offices. Even though everyone was required to work 100% remotely due to the pandemic, the premise and objectives of the program remained the same – to provide a fertile environment for new projects and opportunities, exposure to complex cases and experience in a full-service law firm.
These young people are thus prepared to become the professionals of the future, capable of dealing with all spheres of law in a collaborative, humanistic way, staying engaged with the values and goals of the firm. Those who stand out by the end of the two-year program then go on to be hired as junior lawyers.