The Brazilian firm opened the office on 18 July in the city of Palo Alto, which lies at the heart of California's Silicon Valley. It will be led by technology and telecoms partner Raphael de Cunto, who will be supported by a small team of lawyers and at least one other partner. Except Cunto, the team will be rotated on regular basis. Tax partner Luiz Roberto Peroba and IP and technology partners André Giacchetta and José Mauro Decoussau Machado are heavily involved in the project and are likely to spend time in Palo Alto.
Silicon Valley is home to some of the world's biggest technology companies, including Apple, Intel and Facebook. Pinheiro Neto reports a growing stream of revenue from the area. "The office sends a message of commitment to the clients we already have, while the increasing flow of partners to the region will be supported by the office and will surely broaden our contacts and develop more business," explains Cunto.
Latin Lawyer reported on several technology deals involving Pinheiro Neto last year. The firm helped Gestora de Inteligência de Crédito, a joint venture involving some of Brazil's largest banks, sign a supply agreement with US technology provider LexisNexis Risk Solutions in October. Private equity investor Advent also hired the firm to buy a stake in Brazilian online financial technology company Easynvest.
The firm is also known for being an early mover in the fintech sector.
Another reason for the office is Pinheiro Neto's partnership with two universities in the area, Berkeley and Stanford. It encourages associates to take their Master of Laws at these top-rank institutions. "Putting it all together the decision to open the office was reached quite quickly," adds Cunto.
Pinheiro Neto's lawyers in Palo Alto will not practise US law, but expect to draw more work for the firm's Brazilian technology practice, which covers IP matters, technology-related transactions and venture capital. "We believe Silicon Valley presents many different opportunities for business," says Cunto.
Latin Lawyer understands Pinheiro Neto is the first major Brazilian firm to open an office in Silicon Valley. However, there are several other Brazilian Latin Lawyer 250-listed firms with a presence in the country. Besides Brazilian outfits with US-linked association agreements, Campos Mello Advogados; Demarest Advogados; Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados and Rolim, Viotti & Leite Campos Advogados all have offices in New York, while Felsberg Advogados has an outpost in Miami.