Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank you very much for being with us here today to celebrate the opening of Noronha-Advogados´ Los Angeles offices. These are our ninth offices in five different countries, and the second in the United States of America, where we have had a commercial presence for 19 years, in the city of Miami, Florida. Noronha-Advogados was founded 21 years ago in São Paulo, Brazil, by three partners. Today, we are 29 partners and approximately 120 associates based in our offices situated in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília and Curitiba, in Brazil; London, United Kingdom, where we have been for 12 years; Lisbon, Portugal, where we have been for 10 years; Buenos Aires, Argentina, where we have been for 2 years; Miami and Los Angeles, in the USA.
Our partners are of Brazilian, Portuguese, Argentine, Italian, English and American nationalities. Since its inception, Noronha-Advogados has had a policy of affirmative action on behalf of women. Today, five of our offices are led by women and approximately 50% of our professionals are females. Noronha-Advogados is also very proud of its multicultural background and of its consequent linguistic and sociological capabilities. Every professional in the firm will at least speak English, in addition to his/her own native language. With the exception of those in litigation, every partner in the firm has either studied or worked abroad in one of our international offices, and quite a few had both experiences. Noronha-Advogados is today the largest international Latin-American/Portuguese law firm and the one with most transnational commercial presences.
Noronha-Advogados´ Brazilian practice is divided in the following departments: commercial banking; securities; mergers and acquisitions; international tax planning; consumer and competition law; intellectual property; taxation; contracts; labour; civil, commercial, tax and labour litigation; administrative law; aviation and maritime law; international trade law; real-estate, mining and corporations. Our Argentine offices have a similar profile of expertise on the local law. The Portuguese practice has a strong profile of mergers and acquisitions; commercial banking; contracts and corporations. The London offices render services on Brazilian and Portuguese law, and also on English law on matters of commercial banking; company law; contracts; and taxation. Our Miami offices are registered as foreign legal consultants in Brazilian and Portuguese law with the Florida Bar, which is what we intend to do in California.
What you see in the screen behind me is the Noronha-Advogados´ home page, which has been in place for over two years now. Besides basic information on the firm and its partners, our home page has our legal bulletin, that covers legislative topics of relevance in the jurisdictions where we are present; a fortnightly newsletter with legal developments in Brazil; publications and speeches by the partners; lawyers; and by guests of our 21 year old continuing legal education programme, which preceded the one put in place by the São Paulo section of the Brazilian Bar by 18 years. Now you are seeing the home page of our associated company, Legal Observer, Inc., which offers electronic commerce in legal materials on Brazilian and Portuguese laws, texts and basic legal forms, in the English and Portuguese languages.
The Los Angeles offices of Noronha-Advogados will be headed by two partners, Ida Ferraz and Aurelio Guzzoni, of the Brazilian Bar, who are here with us tonight, and will also be staffed by two young associates. From California, we endeavour to cover the west coast of the USA, in addition to Mexico and Central America. Similarly to what we have done in other countries, we plan to work very closely with the local bar and be instrumental, as we have been elsewhere, in the increase of trade between this part of the world with Mercosul and Portugal. I do hope to have, for the years to come, a very pleasant and mutually beneficial personal and professional relationship with most of you present here tonight.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.
Lawyer admitted in Brazil, England and Wales and Portugal. GATT and WTO panelist. Brazilian government ad-hoc representative for the Uruguay Round of the GATT. Post-graduation professor of the law of international trade.