Brazil’s Yellow Brick Road to Transformation

Brazil is a country that, naturally, undergoes a constant process of updating itself. We embrace this view. Augusto Neves Dal Pozzo expects that Brazil will flourish in terms of national and international investments in infrastructure in the years to come, and that in addition to meeting the needs of the population in sanitation, urban mobility and education, Brazil will offer a highly qualified business environment for investors: a serious, ethical environment with public managers committed to good practices and compliance.

Dal Pozzo states he is prepared for this. With a highly qualified team, composed of lawyers with solid training and experience, he believes that the moment is absolutely suitable for them to change the perspectives of curious internationals and, through law, they can collaborate as transforming agents of societal conditions. He expands: “I believe that this is the dream of every lawyer working in Administrative Law.”

“We are prepared to serve international clients interested in infrastructure investments in Brazil, with a roster of professionals who are knowledgeable about the whole process, to offer, under national conditions, the necessary certainty, with serious, committed models that meet the aspirations of all.”

In our cover story this month, Augusto speaks about the infrastructure market in Brazil and how academia and research fits into his everyday practice in law, of building a better Brazil, for its citizens and beyond.

 It is increasingly necessary that those responsible for applying the law to specific cases have an effective knowledge of this complex legal regime, so as to ensure that the contracts fulfil the aspirations of those involved and, especially, serve the users who will benefit from them.

You have been immensely recognised for your work regarding judicial matters in the infrastructure market in Brazil; can you share with Lawyer Monthly more about your work in this area?

Ever since the beginning of my career as a lawyer I have been dedicated to the study of Infrastructure Law, not only in Brazil, but also in the international arena. I believe that our country offers a very favourable environment in this area considering the immense deficiencies that unfortunately exist, but which on the other hand, generate many investment opportunities in the area.

We participated in a vast array of projects in which the legal solutions presented by us enabled investments in the infrastructure market, whether connected to more socially driven aspects such as basic sanitation, education and public health, as well as logistics infrastructure related to deficiencies in urban mobility systems, road, rail, collective, port and airport transport, as well as other sectors connected to the energy matrix and telecommunications.

Issues arising from imperfect management of infrastructure contracts are also the subject of great care by the firm, involving qualified sectors, such as public services. The dynamics produced by incomplete contracts – which then results in the need for technological updating and correction of imperfections of the original model -, allied to the ever-changing concrete reality, requires, at all times, precise legal action with public authorities and their regulatory agents, so that the desired results be effectively achieved. Our joy, in this case, is doubled, as we not only collaborate with our client in the interpretation of legal matters, but also, and at the same time, improve the living conditions of the Brazilian population, thanks to infrastructure projects.

I believe that the business environment is undergoing an evident transformation in Brazil and, therefore, we are immersed in a favourable moment for an ethical, responsible and technically qualified performance.

As Professor of Administrative Law, what do you think are current interesting research points in this area of law, and why?

The modeling of concession contracts, public-private partnerships, and high-level public works contracts is also a major theme that allows for deepening academic studies. At the end of the day, everyone involved in these projects wants to know how they can finance the high costs that infrastructure projects entail, and how best to recover investments in an environment that embraces legal certainty and legitimate expectations. When one thinks that all these questions are formulated in an environment of high regulation and control of the official bodies and that, obligatorily, we must watch over the good practices of governance and compliance, we perceive the importance that the subject assumes today in Brazil. It is increasingly necessary that those responsible for applying the law to specific cases have an effective knowledge of this complex legal regime, so as to ensure that the contracts fulfil the aspirations of those involved and, especially, serve the users who will benefit from them.

The firm staff is constantly improving, both in the knowledge of market information and in the technical qualification so that we can meet the needs of clients and of domestic or foreign investors.

I have always believed that research, amplified theoretical references and the study of national and international cases, offer us the conditions to build a legal thesis capable of meeting the needs of the client.

From this, do you see any changes in the horizon, for lawyers and their clients / the public?

I believe that the business environment is undergoing an evident transformation in Brazil and, therefore, we are immersed in a favourable moment for an ethical, responsible and technically qualified performance. This attitude is widely valued.

Another major topic, as already mentioned, is the enormous shortages in the field of infrastructure, in various regions of Brazil. As the eighth largest economy in the world, this situation needs to be addressed by governments at the federal and regional levels. There is no way of promoting national development without the realisation of infrastructure projects. This horizon strengthens our performance as specialists in the subject. We can offer our national or international clients the security of a service that is not only technically accurate, but also indispensable in the construction of a viable and profitable project and which fully serves the public interest.

‘Smart’ cities are already a reality on which we are focusing, including helping public authorities to find solutions that meet the growing demands of their citizens.

For over 20 years, you have worked on extremely complex public contracts; how do you overcome the complexities? What process do you undergo when you are devising a juridical solution of strategic issues in this area?

After so many years of experience, it seems to me that overcoming the difficulties of these complex contracts is only possible through serious technical deepening. I have always believed that research, amplified theoretical references and the study of national and international cases, offer us the conditions to build a legal thesis capable of meeting the needs of the client. I also insist in working as a team. There are always valuable collaborations in the process of building work, as a result of the lawyers’ experiences. I’m part of a winning team!

In the last years I have intensely updated my work through international incursions that introduce me to new models of action that I seek to adapt and bring to the Brazilian reality. This has been of great value and makes all the difference, so much so that we started an internal project to encourage other legal teams to have this type of opportunity.

Brazil is a country that, naturally, undergoes a constant process of updating itself. We embrace this view.

Are there any regulations which pose challenges for those in construction? Do you think these regulations should be altered?

Law is a dynamic activity, mainly Administrative Law, due to its character and vocation to govern the relations between private parties and the public entity in the provision of benefits to the community. In recent years we have been able to experience significant advancement in some aspects and many still need improvement. I believe that the concerns refer to the adequacy of norms, as contrasted with the speed of modern times, through a process of interpretation and application of the law that meets the aspirations of the parties involved.

The digital society has changed paradigms and needs, and it is imperative that public services meet the demands of the population, both in quality and in quantity. Universalisation is an unavoidable need: it is necessary to place the citizen at the centre of public authorities’ attention, since this is the main duty of the State. Technological innovation, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, the big data are pressing realities, which will require that public authorities and everyone who is contractually involved with them adopt a new view of current thinking, so that citizens’ quality of life be in consonance with the constitutional principle of dignity of individuals. ‘Smart’ cities are already a reality on which we are focusing, including helping public authorities to find solutions that meet the growing demands of their citizens.

 

What motivates you about your role?

Practice the best possible law; being the most innovative with my solutions, the most respectful to society, thus bringing better results to customers, loyalty towards my partners, firm colleagues and the entire legal community. The law that is the most efficient: this is why I divide my day-to-day schedule between the office, the academy (with classes for undergraduate and graduate, lectures and publications) and participation in representative institutions. This trinomial gives me the differentiated condition of experiencing varied facets of law, and of consistently claiming the best solutions to the problems of the clients that we represent.

At the firm we conquered a prominent position in solving complex cases that became paradigm for all the activity. I am proud to be a part of these projects and to continue researching in order to prepare myself for those still to come.

 

How have you seen law change overtime?

This is another motivation for us to always be updated: changes meet the demands of society which thus enforces the need to improve existing laws. Brazil is a country that, naturally, undergoes a constant process of updating itself. We embrace this view. We, lawyers, need to be prepared for this. Very recently we have adopted a new Code of Civil Procedure; we are already preparing for the changes in the Penal Code and still live with a tax regime almost casuistic, which changes daily. This is our daily challenge. I have been invited by Professor Marcio Cammarosano, one of my masters of the academy, to take part in a Commission of Jurists created by the National Congress, which studies a profound modification in all federal legislation involving administrative law and the infrastructure sector.

Augusto Neves Dal Pozzo
Founder
www.dalpozzo.com.br
Rua Gomes de Carvalho, 1510 | 9º andar | São Paulo | 04547-005 | Brasil

 

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