The first wave of Brazilian lawyers headed to London in November 2014 to work alongside their UK counterparts under a new joint initiative between the Bar Council, the Law Society, BPP Law School, the Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil (OAB) and Lex Anglo-Brasil.
Together, they launched the new Brazilian British Lawyers Exchange Programme for young lawyers. The first group of Brazilian lawyers arrived in London from 17 November to 12 December and gained vital experience of the legal system in England & Wales. Lawyers from Brazilian law firms and other organisations, such as Banco do Brasil, participated in a four week programme which included a short, bespoke academic programme at BPP Law School and placements in solicitors’ firms and barristers’ chambers, supplemented with a series of legal seminars and social and networking events.
Key figures from the legal sector in England and Wales reserved special praise for the launch of the scheme.
Nicholas Lavender QC, chairman of the Bar Council, said: “This programme is a two-way street which is designed to benefit Brazilian and UK qualified lawyers in the early stages of their career in international commercial work. They will gain a better understanding of how the English and Brazilian legal systems work. It will enable them to develop valuable contacts, which will prove beneficial as UK-Brazil legal links grow stronger, reflecting improved trade and investment between the two countries.
“Brazil is a country which the world wants to do business with, and the legal sector in England & Wales is a world leader. Closer working between the two markets will be of value not only to the programme’s participants, but potentially for the future of legal services in both countries.”
Andrew Caplen, former president of the Law Society of England and Wales, said: “There is a real momentum for the UK doing business with Brazil and the Law Society is proud to be a part of it. As a key market, we are supporting our members by developing business in Brazil through visits, events and initiatives such as this innovative exchange programme.
“Both UK and Brazilian lawyers have a lot to gain by fostering our ongoing relationship. The Brazil exchange could not have come at a better time, as the Bar Council and Law Society are supporting the Global Law Summit in 2015. We will be promoting the UK legal sector at the summit and it offers our members an opportunity to discuss, debate and develop relationships across markets and jurisdictions from around the world.”
Frederico Singarajah, on behalf of Lex Anglo-Brazil, said: “Lex Anglo-Brasil is very pleased see this level of cooperation between the bar associations in such a short space of time. This is precisely what we stand for and we are pleased to assist young lawyers gain an insight into such different jurisdictions.”
Peter Crisp, the Dean of the Law School at BPP, said: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with the Bar Council and the Law Society in hosting our Brazilian lawyers. We are looking forward to providing a rich educational experience for the Brazilian lawyers during their study week with us at BPP.”
It’s not the first time the UK legal sector has linked up with their Brazilian counterparts. Last year the Law Society and the Bar Council supported the launch of Lex Anglo-Brasil, a bilateral organisation linking lawyers in each country through events and updates on legal developments. The Law Society and the Bar Council signed agreements with the OAB to strengthen ties between the organisations and their members. The new exchange programme is part of the implementation of these agreements, which have also seen high level visits by each organisation and ongoing dialogue on policy matters of mutual interest.