Brazil has a legal system based on Civil Law, meaning like most of Europe and Latin America, it traces its roots to the Justinian and Napoleonic Codes, and is based on a highly codified approach to law. Nonetheless, in the last few decades Brazilian jurisprudence has been influenced by American philosophical and legal traditions. The legal profession in Brazil is regulated by the Order of Brazilian Lawyers, which is analogous to the bars or law societies which exist in other countries and jurisdictions.
Admission to the OAB requires the completion of a five-year undergraduate degree and passing an exam, similar to the bar exam in the United States. The Brazilian bar exam, however, is standardized throughout the country. Once these requirements are met, an attorney can register in the state where he or she will practice. In addition, the OAB strictly regulates foreign law firms and attorneys. As a result, there are few active foreign attorneys or law firms in Brazil.
Ricardo Tosto de Oliveira Carvalho is a Brazilian attorney based in Sao Paulo. A partner at the law firm of Leite, Tosto, and Barros, Tosto has over fifteen years of experience in corporate law and litigation, especially in the areas of bankruptcy, collections, and debt re-structuring. Before entering private practice, Tosto worked in the energy industry. He is admitted to the bars of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia, and is active in the legal community as a lecturer and presenter. A graduate of McKenzie Law School in Sao Paulo, he is a member of the International Bar Association. Find Ricardo Tosto on Twitter to learn more.