Who are the offices in the Americanas case – 03/18/2023 – Market

Who are the offices in the Americanas case – 03/18/2023 – Market

Americanas’ judicial reorganization, which should take another important step this Monday (20), with the presentation of the payment plan to creditors, shows the consolidation of the role of the so-called boutique offices in the legal market.

The case involves the benches of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s (PT) lawyer, the children of superior court ministers and an heir to the imperial family.

Boutique offices are those that are highly specialized in just one or a few areas. For this reason, they promise clients a personalized service that is different from that offered by large firms, made up of hundreds of lawyers.

The majority of boards in cases related to Americanas have this profile. Created in the last twenty years, many of these law firms emerged from solo flights of professionals who left offices where they held prominent positions.

This is the case of Cristiano Zanin, President Lula’s lawyer. Noted for the criminal defense of the petista in Operation Lava Jato, Zanin and his wife, Valeska Teixeira, decided in 2022 to undo the partnership with Roberto Teixeira, the president’s friend. They created Zanin Advogados, as informed by the Panel column in August.

But the disclosure of the new firm drew attention for having emphasized a field other than the criminal one, by indicating that the firm’s focus would be “a more strategic area in litigation and the prevention of individual and business litigation.”

The firm, which currently has 15 lawyers, was one of those hired to defend Americanas in its judicial recovery. However, his main name may leave the case in the coming months, since Zanin is one of the favorites to occupy, by Lula’s nomination, a seat on the STF (Federal Supreme Court). The vacancy will open with the compulsory retirement of Minister Ricardo Lewandowski, who will only be able to remain on the court until May.

In the defense of Americanas is also the law firm Salomão, Kaiuca, Abrahão, Raposo e Cotta Advogados, created in 2011. ) Luis Felipe Salomão, whose name is also considered to join the STF in one of the nominations that Lula will be entitled to in his mandate.

Another office in the case is Fux Advogados, owned by Rodrigo Fux, son of STF minister Luiz Fux. The bank acts in the defense of Santander.

Also participating in the case is the office of former STJ minister Cesar Asfor Rocha, created in 2012 after he retired from court. Asfor Rocha is one of the law firms that works for the BTG bank.

The state of Rio de Janeiro, where the court-supervised reorganization was initiated, is home to most of the legal offices involved in Americanas’ judicial reorganization.

The vice-president of the OAB (Brazilian Bar Association) in the state, Ana Tereza Basilio, is a founding partner of Basilio Advogados, which filed, in a joint petition with Salomão Advogados, the request for the opening of the retailer’s judicial recovery.

The company’s biggest creditor is Bradesco, with R$5.1 billion to be received. Warde Advogados, known for its performance in highly complex litigation, defends the bank – defended IRB Brasil Resseguros in investor actions and represents Kabum against Itaú BBA in the negotiation with Magazine Luiza.

Warde came up with the strategy of seeking the equity of Americanas’ reference shareholders in court, the billionaire trio of 3G Capital, Jorge Paulo Lemann, Beto Sicupira and Marcel Telles. The office signs the lawsuits filed by Safra and Bradesco for the search and seizure of emails from retail chain executives. The advance production of evidence is aimed at proving fraud.

The SOB legal firm (Sacramone, Orleans and Bragança) also works on behalf of Bradesco, which also serves Itaú. One of the firm’s partners is Gabriel de Orleans e Bragança, heir to the Brazilian imperial family. The other, Marcelo Sacramone, was a judge of the branch specializing in bankruptcy in São Paulo until July 2021.

If it has many singularities, evaluate lawyers

Americanas’ judicial reorganization is seen by lawyers as a case of many singularities.

One is the place where the recovery process was presented. More than in São Paulo, a city that concentrates large and traditional Brazilian law firms, working in the capital of Rio de Janeiro demands a lot of relationships outside the limits of courts and courts.

The legal “small group” is even more concentrated, say lawyers working on the recovery of Americanas, making it difficult for outside firms to enter, whether large or small. It is in this context that boutique offices stand out, which end up dominating the work in a Judiciary in which proximity counts for a lot.

Among the large law firms, BMA, on the side of the Americanas, Cescon Barrieu, in defense of Bank of America, and Veirano, who works for Goldman Sachs, are active in the case.

Other singularities are the size and capillarity of the company (in addition to the Americanas stores, the group has an e-commerce operation and other businesses such as hortifruti Natural da Terra and Imaginarium), suspicions of accounting fraud and intense litigation.

The accounting scandal (initially worth BRL 20 billion) was made public on January 11, and the request for judicial recovery was filed on the 19th of that month.

Firms in action in the Americanas bankruptcy case

In defense of America

Basílio Advogados
Creation: 2009
Specialties: litigation, arbitration and corporate recovery
Headquarters: Rio de Janeiro
Main partners: Ana Tereza Basilio, João Augusto Basilio, Frederico José Leite Gueiros and Carlos Roberto Barbosa Moreira
Number of lawyers: 55
Main cases: judicial recovery of Oi

Salomão Advogados
Creation: 2011
Specialties: strategic litigation, arbitration and judicial recovery
Headquarters: Rio de Janeiro
Main partners: Paulo César Salomão, Luis Felipe Salomão, Rodrigo Cotta and Rodrigo Salomão
Number of lawyers: 60
Main cases: judicial recovery of Oi and judicial recovery of Samarco

Zanin Advogados
Creation: 2022
Specialties: legal strategy and litigation in the business and criminal area
Headquarters: Sao Paulo
Main partners: Cristiano Zanin Martins and Valeska Zanin Martins.
Number of lawyers: 15
Main cases: Lava Jato, Transbrasil and Varig

Since then, dozens of requests (for protection against creditors, for advance payment, for the production of evidence, for eviction, for protection against evictions) have been filed, most of them in the courts of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

In the fight between the creditor banks and Americanas, the regional element appears in a sort of Rio-São Paulo dispute.

At least four conflicts of competence have already been taken to the STJ (Superior Court of Justice) and they are discussing the appropriate forum for judicial recovery – the retailer defends that it be Rio, the banks, São Paulo, where the largest volume of business would be network.

In February, the 2nd Business Court of Rio de Janeiro (where the judicial reorganization is in progress) refused to comply with two decisions (one in the first instance and the other in the second instance) of the Justice of São Paulo that determined the search and seizure of executives’ emails from Americanas.

In defense of large creditors

Bradesco (BRL 5.1 billion receivable)

Warde Advogados
Creation: 1996
Specialties: high-complexity strategic litigation, business, public, corporate and compliance
Headquarters: Sao Paulo
Main partners: Walfrido Warde, Pedro Serrano, Valdir Simão, Rafael Valim and Georges Abboud
Number of lawyers: 50

Santander (BRL 3.6 billion)
BTG (BRL 3.5 billion)

Gustavo Tepedino Advogados
Creation: 2006
Specialties: strategic judicial and arbitration litigation and consultancy in private law
Headquarters: Rio de Janeiro
Main partners: Gustavo Tepedino, Milena Donato Oliva, Vivianne da Silveira Abilio, Andre Vasconcelos Roque and Paula Greco Bandeira
Number of lawyers: 36

Itaú (BRL 2.7 billion)

UNDER Lawyers
Creation: 2021
Specialties: corporate litigation, arbitration and judicial recovery
Headquarters: Sao Paulo
Main partners: Marcelo Sacramone and Gabriel de Orleans e Bragança
Number of lawyers: 13

On the websites of the boutique offices involved in the case, their work is described using expressions such as “craftsmanship”, “doing something manufactured” and “personalized customer service”.

The use of the term gained strength from 2000 onwards, both to refer to law firms with recognized names in the field of law that already had small and specialized offices for decades, and to designate those created in this century already focused on one or a few areas.

In large cases, this type of advocacy can be opposed to that of the so-called “full service” or “big law firms”, which operate in multiple areas for the same company, such as labor, tax, contractual, and which have hundreds of professionals in your frames.

In the field of judicial reorganizations, the protagonism of boutique offices is also boosted by the Business Recovery and Bankruptcy Law (LREF), which was enacted in 2005.

This legal text brought greater possibilities for negotiation between the company in financial difficulties and its creditors, which increased the field of activity of legal firms in specific niches.

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