TozziniFreire Advogados: 45 years of history
By Fernando Eduardo Serec, Flávia Cristina M. de Campos Andrade, Luis Renato Ferreira da Silva, Marcelo Calliari, Maria Elisa Gualandi Verri, Patrícia Helena Marta Martins, and Shin Jae Kim, members of the Executive Committee.
45 years ago, Syllas Tozzini and José Luis de Salles Freire founded TozziniFreire Advogados, considered one of the main Brazilian full-service law firms in the legal market, which features branch offices in São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Campinas, Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, and New York. The seven elected members of the Executive Committee have been working towards the greatest challenge for the coming years: to maintain the important legacy they inherited from the founders.
TozziniFreire’s pioneering approach has always been based on three values: excellence, inclusion and innovation. These pillars were fundamental throughout the firm’s history and permeated all the initiatives carried out since then.
TozziniFreire played a key role in the 1990s, in the first wave of infrastructure privatization. Among many transactions in which the firm has participated, we highlight several proceedings in the steel, petrochemical, and energy industries, such as the sale of Usiminas, whose transaction value was 1.7 billion dollars. According to Flávia Cristina M. de Campos Andrade, member of the Executive Committee and head of the Restructuring and Insolvency practice group, this developed expertise certainly made TozziniFreire even more prepared for the second wave that is coming.
“There is no question that we have a professional trajectory that stands out for our performance in some of the largest transactions in the country, but we cannot forget our internal achievements, which also contribute to the evolution of the Brazilian legal market” – completes Flávia.
The firm is a benchmark due to its administrative organization and concern with issues of social and environmental impact. TozziniFreire was the first law firm to create its own Compliance program and, since 2008, it has also adopted an internal Code of Ethics and Conduct, in addition to the OAB (Brazilian Bar Association) Code. As of 2016, it has a compliance officer, with unrestricted access and reporting to the Executive Committee.
TozziniFreire has a structured Business Development and Corporate Communications team, led by three other members of the Executive Committee: Marcelo Calliari, head of the Antitrust practice, Patrícia Helena Marta Martins, co-head of the Technology & Innovation and Cybersecurity & Data Privacy teams, and Shin Jae Kim, head of the Compliance & Investigation practice.
“Over time, we have developed a stellar expertise in communication and we value legal marketing as an important tool to enhance our services” – says Patrícia. For Shin, the legal and administrative teams must always go hand in hand for the best functioning of the firm. “We know the importance of a well-structured Business Development and Communications Department and, at TozziniFreire, we have been always investing in this sector” – concludes Marcelo.
In addition, along with partner Maria Elisa Gualandi Verri, partner Luis Renato Ferreira da Silva, head of the Dispute Resolution practice at the Porto Alegre branch office, is responsible for the Human and Organizational Development Department, an innovative area in the legal market, which focuses mainly on campaigns for the well-being of employees.
“Amid the pandemic, focusing on the mental and physical health of our teams became even more necessary. Thus, we have quickly adapted and anticipated solutions, which has allowed us to navigate through this moment with more peace of mind” – states Luis Renato.
These are actions with enormous internal impact that help position TozziniFreire among the best firms in the market.
For TozziniFreire, integrity is not only a simple pillar of action but also a valuable prerequisite to be observed in all businesses and actions. This concept permeates all the initiatives of TFInclusão, a program introduced in 2018, which consolidates the firm’s social actions since its establishment in 1976, comprising three main fronts: pro bono, diversity and social. In our work, we highlight five themes divided into affinity groups, through which we strive to help change the current reality of the legal market and of our country:
TFAffinity – promotes the values and rights of the LGBTI+ community.
TFAfro – addresses the development of black lawyers and promotes their participation in law firms.
TFforHer – discusses gender equity and reduction of vulnerabilities.
TFMundi – aimed at refugees, the group debates their struggles, proposing possible actions.
TFwithoutBarriers – initiatives in favor of the inclusion of People with Disabilities, including discussion and learning about ableism, accessibility and reducing inequality.
Another great milestone in Diversity and Inclusion is the Executive Committee itself, which for over 15 years has had a relevant female participation and, since 2019, it has been majorly composed of women.
“We are aware of our responsibility in society and, even though we already have a female majority in our teams and other initiatives with great social impact, we recognize the challenges and barriers that still need to be overcome in the legal market when it comes to minority groups in general” – highlights Maria Elisa.
TozziniFreire actively contributes to an effectively fairer and more egalitarian Brazilian society. Through its pro bono work, the firm makes its legal expertise available to social projects, non-profit institutions and people in vulnerability, embracing law for inclusion.
The firm has an active role in pioneering initiatives in the Brazilian legal market, introducing the full open space model in its offices since 2006, creating several foreign desks to serve strategic global regions and consolidating unprecedented key areas, such as Compliance and Information Technology. In 2016, it was the first Brazilian full-service law firm to dedicate an area especially to startups.
In 2018, TozziniFreire introduced the first innovation program of a Brazilian law firm: ThinkFuture. Through it, the firm has been developing advanced client delivery solutions, using technology, legal operations, legal design and visual law as pillars of quality.
Fernando Serec, CEO and head of the Litigation and Arbitration practice areas, leads the project and ensures that investments aimed at business and technological sustainability, such as Artificial Intelligence and partnerships with law techs will continue to be made, always thinking about productivity, anticipation of solutions and new sectors.
Still concerning innovation, Fernando highlights the brand renewal and the expansion of the firm over the past 12 months, with 10 recent hiring of partners, the launching of four new areas and three new groups: Human Rights and Companies; Crisis Management; Financial Innovation; Fintechs & Payments; ESG; Sustainable and Impact Investing; and Gaming and E-Sports.
The new visual identity is in line with the firm´s movements of recent years: constant innovation and growth, without leaving its roots behind. After an immersive study of TozziniFreire’s culture, a manifesto that expresses the values that are part of its daily routine was developed, such as agility, creativity, collaborative culture, integrity, respect for diversity, and client focus, which is always at the center of its initiatives. This positioning strategically guides TozziniFreire’s next years of pioneering initiatives, innovating processes and technologies, enhancing talents, and inspiring future professionals.
“We will remain focused on the future” – finalizes Fernando.