Surviving Economic Difficulties in Brazil – Lawyer Monthly | Legal News Magazine

Surviving Economic Difficulties in Brazil

We now speak with Ester Santana, an expert in tax consulting and in domestic and international tax and estate planning. She discusses the ways in which she uses her years of expertise to overcome challenges her role presents, and the Brazilian fiscal deficit target.


What different requirements do international clients have, in comparison to domestic clients?  International clients tend to be more practical and they want you to go straight to the point, allowing them to be faster decision makers. It is not unusual to see domestic clients going around the same issue over and over and taking more time to make a decision, notably regarding to business restructuring and estate planning.


How do you use your expertise to meet their demands?

The time I spent abroad allowed me to build a strong network with lawyers from around the world, and my contacts frequently assist on the firm’s projects abroad. Additionally, to fulfil my client´s expectations and needs, I normally use my expertise to ask the right questions and understand the client´s purpose, before providing the legal advice.


The Brazilian government announced a rise in the country’s fiscal deficit target for this year and 2018; what do you think could be done to improve this situation?

The clients should review their corporate and tax structures, anticipating any impact that the changes in our economic environment may have in their business and operations. It is always important to work with a backup plan. For instance, clients should consider benefiting from tax amnesty programmes or evaluating alternatives to use tax credits to offset any potential increase in the tax liability. Moreover, clients may want to consider diversifying their portfolio risks by investing parts of their savings abroad. In those circumstances, we have to be well prepared to assist them internationally.


Moreover, how will this affect your role with your clients?

In times of economic recession, I have to be more sensitive to financial problems and cash flow difficulties that the client may face. Thus, in order to represent the clients to solve their legal and tax issues, I need to be more flexible and creative in terms of fee arrangements.


As Thought Leader, can you share the most challenging aspect of your job and how you overcome this challenge?

The most challenging aspect of my job is to say “no”, when all what your client wants to hear is a “yes”; but even so, I have to be able to retain the client in these situations, so that they will not seek another law firm to do what they intend.

I truly believe it is also part of my job to educate my clients and guide them the right way. I have to be very cautious in not misreading the facts and the client´s case. I try to overcome this challenge by building trust and gaining the client’s confidence in a long-lasting relationship.


My name is Ester Santana and I am partner at Chamon Santana Law Firm (CSA Law). I have a law degree from PUC in São Paulo and over 10 years of experience in tax consulting and litigation, having also worked for KPMG’s Tax Advisors – Legal Services area.

My specialty is in tax consulting and in domestic and international tax and estate planning. I hold a Degree in Master of Laws in Taxation from Northwestern University in Chicago (USA) and graduated with honors. I was also awarded with the first place in the 15th Competition of LL.M Students held by the American Bar Association in the US.

At CSA, I primarily focus on interlocution with professional investors and with multinational groups and companies. I am also a member of STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) and the ABA (American Bar Association).


CSA is a highly qualified law firm specialized in cases and operations involving tax consulting and litigation, corporate law, succession planning, M&A, and business structuring. We operate in a far more effective manner than other firms. We add value to our clients and their organisations by providing innovative, tailor-made solutions that deliver high rates of return and that are aligned with each company’s business strategy.

Our more than 20 years of experience and long-term partnership with our founding partners Ricardo Chamon and Ester Santana guarantee that we apply a systemic view to each case. This approach allows us to anticipate the impacts and benefits legal decisions have on businesses.

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