International firms continue to compete aggressively for deals and clients in Brazil. Earlier this month, global firm Hogan Lovells announced the opening of an office in São Paulo, complementing its presence in Rio de Janeiro, where the firm set up shop last year. Now, Norton Rose Fulbright has expanded its Latin America practice with an opening in Rio, its third in the region after openings in Venezuela and Colombia.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Rio office will operate under the joint management of Andrew Haynes and Glenn Faass, current head of the Colombia office. While not practicing local law, the new office will advise clients on deals in Brazil and elsewhere in the region, developing bridges from Brazil to the markets of the U.S., China, Germany, and Africa. The lawyers in Rio will concentrate heavily on oil and gas, energy, infrastructure, mining and commodities, M&A, projects, and financing, including aviation and shipping finance. Moreover, the office in Rio will play a critical part in a strategy to capture work in other parts of Latin America, including the Southern Cone of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

Prior to this role, Faass led Macleod Dixon’s Brazilian practice for seven years. He returns to Brazil after heading offices in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Venezuela. Faass specializes in cross-border M&A, joint ventures, corporate structures, and anti-bribery and corruption in the resources sector.

“With Brazil being such an important market, the largest in Latin America by area, resources, population, industrial output, it is an attractive market for people to come into and then use to go into other jurisdictions,” he said. “So as we extend our services not only throughout Brazil but also the Southern Cone, we think our office will be attractive to foreign investors going into other South American countries and Brazilian corporates looking to spread out.”

Haynes joined Norton Rose Fulbright on February 3, 2014, after having served as an Assistant General Counsel Global Corporate with BP, overseeing all M&A legal work. He said an office in Brazil is key having a global platform, serving global clients, and seeking out interesting transactional and disputes opportunities.

‘’Brazil’s GDP is one of the world’s 10 largest, approximately the same size as Britain’s and one of the most active economies in the world,” he commented. “There is tremendous growth potential among consumers, growth of the middle class, infrastructure investment, huge mining opportunities, enormous petroleum reserves to be developed, and lots of new oil and gas exploration opportunity, as well as very successful Brazilian corporates, from Embraer to banks like Bradesco to engineering firms operating across Latin America and globally.”

According to Haynes, many contracts have been entered into for international arbitration.

“If you look at the ICC in Paris, one of their largest growth areas in terms of disputes is international arbitration arising out of Brazil,” he said. “You also have many countries around the world enacting anti-bribery statutes, leading to large corporates around the world requiring advice. High value M&A tends to migrate to English or New York law because of the certainty those legal systems provide globally.’’