Wednesday, 1 April 2015 (3 hours ago) by Clare Bolton

Machado, Meyer, Sendacz e Opice Advogados partner Carlos José Santos da Silva took up his position as president of influential Brazilian law firm association Centro de Estudos das Sociedades de Advogados (CESA) at a ceremony held in São Paulo last night.

Other new directors at CESA also began their terms yesterday. Silva and his vice-president, Moira Huggard-Caine of TozziniFreire Advogados, will remain in their positions until 2018. His predecessor, Carlos Roberto Fornes Mateucci of Yarshell, Mateucci e Camargo Advogados, becomes a permanent member of the council.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Silva in his speech at the ceremony. “With every day that passes, our profession suffers various attacks – but those making the attacks rarely pause to think that attacking our profession is acting against the liberty of society.”

Among these attacks is the encroachment of non-lawyers – accountants, consultants and even foreign lawyers – on the provision of legal services, which in Brazil is strictly limited to qualified local lawyers: "CESA has never kept quiet and never will," Silva assured the audience, in the fight to preserve the rights and responsibilities of Brazilian lawyers.

Attempts from the government, regulators and even the judiciary to break attorney-client privilege will also be a key focus of his presidency, as will be defending law firms against increases in the already-heavy taxes they face.

Ensuring the continued use of the bar exam, which is obligatory for all lawyers in Brazil but has a very low pass rate, is also an important goal for the next three years for Silva. There is a political movement against the exam, but Silva reaffirmed CESA’s strong position that the exam is essential for maintaining quality as mediocre law schools proliferate in the country.

In terms of regulating the legal profession, CESA will maintain its strong defence of pro bono, which is "an obligation for all lawyers," noted Silva, and not a marketing pitch as it is seen by some members of the bar association. He also vowed to change a bar association rule that obliges law firms to remove the name of retiring partners from the firm name – forcing firms either to change a well-known brand or compel retired partners to retain liability for the firm after they have left. The issue is a pertinent one for Silva's firm, Machado Meyer, from which José Roberto Opice would like to retire.

Other top lawyers won key positions in the leadership: José Setti Diaz of Demarest Advogados is the new financial director, while Pedro Aguiar de Freitas of Veirano Advogados is the director of institutional relations. Governmental relations will be led by Marcos Joaquim Gonçalves Alves of Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados, while Gustavo Brigagão of Ulhôa Canto, Rezende e Guerra - Advogados will head up international relations.

CESA, or Centro de Estudos das Sociedades de Advogados, was founded in 1983 to represent the interests of the country's law firms, given that the bar association, being obligatory for all lawyers, is perceived as being more focused on the needs of individual practitioners. The association has played a lead role in the development of regulations for the profession, most recently on subjects such as attorney-client privilege, pro bono and legal advertising. The organisation also accompanies the passing of new laws, and helps law firms face the challenges of doing business in the country, such as providing training on new legislation and law firm management.

Fonte: Latin Lawyer