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Legal Elites and the Shaping of Corporate Law Practice in Brazil: A Historical Study

  • Jayanth K. Krishnan, Vitor M. Dias and John E. Pence

Abstract

Brazil today has a legal market that allows for foreign lawyers and foreign firms, but existing regulations are restrictive. Foreign lawyers cannot practice domestic law or litigation, nor can Brazilian‐licensed lawyers working for foreign firms or partnering with foreign lawyers. This was not always the case, however. Until 1963, there was little regulation of the legal profession. Beginning in 1913, elite US lawyers traveled to Brazil, with some even becoming prominent domestic practitioners. They partnered with local elite lawyers (who maintained their domestic privileges) and served as key brokers for US businesses seeking market entry. Drawing on the elite theory literature, and on ethnographies, interview data, and over 1,000 pages of rare Portuguese and English archival sources, this study's thesis is that sophisticated US and Brazilian legal elites capitalized on the lack of regulation to advance their financial interests, and in the process transformed Brazil's corporate legal sector.

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Legal Elites and the Shaping of Corporate Law Practice in Brazil: A Historical Study

  • Jayanth K. Krishnan, Vitor M. Dias and John E. Pence

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