Keep your eye on the Latin American ball

London’s Lord Mayor, Fiona Woolf, gave an upbeat assessment of the many opportunities for UK firms in Latin America following her trip to Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay at a Canning House briefing this week.

“We can’t do enough in Latin America,” the Lord Mayor said citing Britain’s expertise in infrastructure, energy, finance and legal services coupled with the growth and potential projects in Latin America.

But she acknowledged the UK had taken its eye off the Latin American ball. A view echoed by Alan Charlton, Britain’s ex-Ambassador to Brazil.

He pointed out that British governments over the years have taken a sporadic interest in Latin America which has somehow never been sustained. This has led to the UK falling back against competitors in Europe.

Whichever government is in power needs to stay energised with its eye on the goal.

The Lord Mayor advocated the personal touch suggesting firms visit Latin America and get to know the client and their country.

Trade with Brazil is growing, last year £1bn of infrastructure contracts were signed, and Mrs Woolf was extremely encouraged by how much more outward facing Brazil has become, not just looking at New York but London too.

While the challenges to foreign law firms operating in Brazil are well known, the Law Society and others are working for change. Britain’s Justice Minister, Chris Grayling, met with lawyers in Sao Paolo and Brasilia in May encouraging them to come to the Global Law Summit in London.

He also discussed the Young Lawyer’s Exchange Programme organised by the Bar Council, Law Society, Federal OAB and Lex Anglo-Brazil. There were also talks on a potential bilateral arbitration chamber, with involvement of English law.

If you’d like help meeting firms then MD Communications can help you do just that, researching the markets, helping you identify possible partner firms, arranging introductions and raising your profile and/or managing a multi-media PR campaign.

For a copy of our White Paper Untapped Potential: UK Legal Services & Latin America please contact us.

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