Please describe your current role (eg, responsibilities, size of team, structure).
I am general counsel to Bracor Investimentos Imobiliários, one of the leading corporate real estate companies in Brazil. The company is privately owned and was formed in 2006 through an association between Carlos Betancourt and Equity International, to capitalise on the emerging and scalable opportunities in Brazil's corporate real estate sector. I joined Bracor in January 2007 and have been responsible for its legal department since then. We currently have a team of four lawyers (including myself) and one trainee.
What has been the greatest achievement of your career thus far?
The experience in Bracor has certainly been one of the most gratifying. I participated from the very beginning in structuring the company and helping the other departments to build a well-balanced portfolio of institutional-quality industrial, office and retail properties leased under long-term, triple net contracts, mainly to single, high credit quality tenants. We have had four rounds of capitalisation involving a diverse pool of investors (the majority of which are international), and are currently in the process of returning capital to these shareholders.
What is the most challenging situation that you have faced in your current role?
I guess the most challenging situation I have experienced as counsel of Bracor is actually a recurring one. Since our business involves long-term build-to-suit and sale-leaseback lease agreements, which are fairly new to the Brazilian market, and since we obtained financing mainly through long-term asset-backed debt securities, we had to help our clients (tenants) - as well as the financial institutions that provided financing to the company - to obtain the necessary legal comfort in relation to the validity and enforceability of the contractual arrangements we proposed.
Are there certain kinds of legal issues that you routinely refer to outside counsel? And what kind of matters do you tend to handle in-house?
Legal due diligence in relation to the properties/companies we intend to acquire, legal opinions on tax and antitrust matters, and anything involving litigation are the issues I refer to outside counsel. We usually deal with corporate matters - as well as the arrangements among our shareholders - in-house.
Which two/three law firms that you have recently instructed have made you smile, and why?
Koury Lopes Advogados for its corporate and fiscal law advice, and Tozzini Freire Advogados in relation to environmental/real estate issues.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?
Always read what you have written before sending it out.
What are the most significant challenges that in-house lawyers are likely to face over the next few years?
To manage legal risk in an increasingly global environment.
With regard to your industry, are there any recent significant developments worth highlighting?
I believe that the ability to securitise real estate receivables is providing new debt options for institutional real estate investors and is a positive step towards the development of a more permanent commercial mortgage market.
If not a lawyer, what would you be?
A full-time mother or a writer (although I believe I am not sufficiently talented).
About Bracor Investimentos Imobiliários
Bracor Investimentos Imobiliários is a privately owned company and was formed in 2006 through an association between Carlos Betancourt and Equity International. The company's main focus is the acquisition, development and retrofit of quality industrial, office and retail properties, which are leased to high credit quality tenants under long-term, triple net contracts. Bracor's high-quality portfolio has been built through sale-leasebacks, build-to-suit, single-asset and portfolio acquisitions, and strategic joint ventures.