Thursday 24 January 2019
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The International Bar Association (IBA) announces Horacio Bernardes Neto as the new President of the legal profession’s global body. A senior partner at law firm Motta Fernandes Advogados (MFA) in São Paulo, Brazil, Mr Bernardes Neto is the first Brazilian to assume the role, succeeding the Czech Republic’s Martin Šolc. His tenure is for two years, from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020.
Of his new role, Mr Bernardes Neto commented: ‘I feel truly honoured to be President of this distinguished organisation, and my heart swells with pride at being the first Brazilian to hold the position. It means so much to me and to my colleagues in Brazil’s legal profession, for whose support and good wishes I am grateful. I have been a member of the International Bar Association for almost four decades, and in that time I have met peers from almost every country. I consider my election to the presidency proof of the geographical diversity of the IBA, of whose work in the world I am a respectful advocate. Now, like my predecessors, I am in the fortunate position of being able to bring to bear global legal perspective and action on a number of pressing issues through specially created task forces, which I will scope in the coming days, in consultation with colleagues.’
He concluded: ‘Staying true to the principles of the IBA’s founders, my intention is to contribute the great skills within the Association towards the advancement of more just and equal societies.’
Prior to assuming the presidency of the IBA, Mr Bernardes Neto held the positions of IBA Vice-President (2017–2018); IBA Secretary-General (2015–2016); and Chair of the IBA Bar Issues Commission (2013–2014). Recently, he was at the IBA’s main office in London, discussing the areas to be prioritised during his time in office, which will include developing initiatives on the refugee crisis; dealing with bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession; considering the role of lawyers from a business perspective; and wellbeing in the legal profession.
Mr Bernardes Neto has taken leadership roles in global pro bono work as a founding member of the Pro Bono Institute and as a member of the Drafting Committee of the Pro Bono Declaration for the Americas, facilitated by the Cyrus R Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar. He is described in Chambers and Partners’ Chambers Latin America as having ‘recognised strength in all areas of corporate law with an additional background in antitrust and private equity matters’ and as being ‘well versed in arbitration proceedings’.
Prior to joining MFA, Mr Bernardes Neto was a founding partner of Xavier, Bernardes, Bragança – Sociedade de Advogados; a partner at Bomchil, Castro, Goodrich, Claro, Arosemena and Associates; and was with Dr Graf von der Goltz, Dr Wessing & Partners in Düsseldorf and London. His main areas of expertise are mergers and acquisitions, general corporate law, private equity, antitrust, contracts and arbitration.
The new Vice-President of the IBA is James M Klotz. He is a partner in the Canadian law firm Miller Thomson, where he is Co-Chair of its International Business Transactions Group and leads the firm’s anti-corruption and international governance practice. Almudena Arpón de Mendívil is the new Secretary-General of the IBA. She is a partner with the Spanish law firm Gómez-Acebo & Pombo, where she leads the Corporate Technology, Media and Telecommunications Group. Their tenures are for the calendar years 2019 and 2020.
Notes to the Editor
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