Columbia Law School Brazilian Association Hosts Inaugural Conference

Columbia Law School Brazilian Association ForumThe Columbia Law School Brazilian Association recently gathered a diverse group of panelists at the Law School to address the particularities of the Brazilian legal scenario, to share their views on the relationship between the American and the Brazilian markets, and to debate legal mechanisms faced by investors interested in Brazil. The daylong event, held April 21 and titled “2017 CLS Brazil Forum: Challenges and Perspectives,” was the first annual conference hosted by the student organization.

In the opening panel, speakers focused on the ongoing “Operation Car Wash”—one of the largest corruption scandals in modern history. The participants addressed not only its legal and political outcomes, but also the role of in-house and external counsels when dealing with investigations and implementing effective compliance programs. Later, a team of experts—including Justice Paulo de Tarso Sanseverino of the Brazilian Superior Court of Justice, lawyers from both U.S. and Brazilian law firms, and an arbitrator—discussed their perspectives on the dispute resolution environment in Brazil, remarking the enactment of the new Brazilian Civil Procedure Code, and the constantly expanding international arbitration practice.

The afternoon agenda started with an overview of national and cross-border M&A transactions, including suggestions for improving and strengthening the Brazilian M&A market from the standpoint of main foreign players. In the following panel, the debate turned to the differences between U.S. and Brazilian legal frameworks for bankruptcies and restructurings. Under the lead of Edward Morrison, the Charles Evans Gerber Professor of Law, a group of experts discussed what efforts are worth making to enhance the environment for restructurings in Brazil, and how investors and creditors can protect themselves when dealing with Brazilian companies in distress. Finally, a panel moderated by Merritt B. Fox, the Michael E. Patterson Professor of Law and the NASDAQ Professor for Law and Economics of Capital Markets, discussed the recent developments, trends, and regulatory improvements in Brazilian capital markets.

Justice Luís Roberto Barroso of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court delivered the opening and closing keynote speeches of the conference. After an introduction by Sylvia T. Polo, dean of Graduate Legal Studies, Barroso shared his opinions on some of the most relevant issues concerning the Brazilian legal and political environments, such as the need for an amendment to the Brazilian Constitution regarding the funding of election campaigns, the downsizing of the Brazilian state, and effective measures to fight corruption. In his final speech, Barroso noted that Brazil finds itself in a moment of paramount relevance in its history, and he encouraged Brazilian students and forum attendees to use their own work and intellectual resources to improve the country.

The opening and the closing keynote addresses, as well as the five thematic panels, have been live-streamed and recorded. The videos will be available soon on the forum’s website.

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Posted on May 2, 2017

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