After almost 20 years in-house, Marcelo Marchetti has returned to private practice to start up his own firm Toledo, Marchetti, Oliveira e Vatari Advogados. He tells LACCA about how his long experience in the construction industry helps him better understand his client’s needs.
Marcelo Marchetti left Japanese engineering and construction company Toyo Engineering, where he served as general counsel for its two Brazilian subsidiaries Toyo Setal and Estaleiro do Brasil, to set up his own infrastructure and construction focused firm alongside three other partners.
Over the last two years, Marchetti had led the legal department of both Toyo Setal and Estaleiro do Brasil, which was the result of a joint venture between Toyo Engineering and Brazilian engineering company SOG – Óleo e Gás. Toyo Setal specialises in oil and gas onshore projects, such as refineries and industrial plants, while Estaleiro do Brasil focuses on offshore projects like floating production storage and offloading. Marchetti led a small team of three, which focused on corporate, contracts and routine legal advisory, while it outsourced most litigation work, including tax, labour, criminal and arbitration.
The move results from his desire to continue practising law while also being able to act as an entrepreneur taking on work with different companies and industries. During his many years in-house in Brazil, including 12 years at Brazilian construction company Camargo Corrêa from 2004 to 2016 and five years at energy and infrastructure company WorleyParsons, Marchetti felt increasingly like a businessman rather than a legal advisor, while also feeling that as a legal guardian of the company he remained outside of the business’s core. “I figured I could combine the best of both worlds [in my new role]: my experience as a lawyer, my skills in management from over 18 years in-house, with the knowledge gained from my MBA,” he explains.
Together with Leonardo Toledo, an old friend from Marchetti’s time as an in-house lawyer at Camargo Corrêa, and two other partners Roberto Oliveira and Luis Claudio Yukio Vatari, they decided to set up the new firm. Toledo will be responsible for projects, construction contracts and arbitration at the firm, while Oliveira and Vatari will oversee corporate and tax work respectively. Rather than being a boutique law firm, focusing on one or two practice areas, Marchetti calls it an “integrated boutique” specialising on the infrastructure and construction industry with services across various practice areas, including both transactional and non-transactional work. “I focus on construction contracts, claim management and compliance,” says Marchetti. “We are currently four partners, but more will join so we can comprehensively serve the industry,” he adds.
Marchetti is confident that his legal experience in-house and in-depth knowledge of the infrastructure and construction sector will serve him and his colleagues well in the new firm. “I have been within the same industry since I graduated from law school,” Marchetti explains, adding that the construction industry comes with very specific technical complexities, requiring law firms with a good understanding of the sector. “My experience will help bridge this gap, by speaking our clients’ language and a deep understanding of the industry’s problems,” he says. “We want to be close to the engineers, but also be able to provide high-quality legal services,” Marchetti adds.
While Marchetti is confident that his time in-house has given him a unique perspective into needs and priorities of clients, in the meantime, he points out that that much work remains to establish the firm and build a client network. “Our current focus is to organise a strong team with highly qualified lawyers and to create a modern corporate governance,” he explains. Other priorities for the next months will be to build strategic partnerships with key industrial players and legal institutions linked to the industry, including Brazil’s construction law institute, Instituto Brasileiro de Direito da Construção (IBDiC), and Brazil’s arbitration committee, Comitê Brasileiro de Arbitragem (CBAR).
The interview published on the LACCA – Latin American Corporate Counsel Association, website, 25 May 2018, can be found at https://bit.ly/2Lxwk9O