The legal profession in Brazil is governed by the Order of Lawyers, equivalent to the bar or law society in most English-speaking countries. The country’s legal system is civil-law based, meaning it relies heavily on interpretation of codified laws and not on legal precedent and jurisprudence, which are more important in common law countries. The Order of Lawyers is a self-regulating organization which controls admission to the legal profession. Each state has a section of the Order, and a uniform bar exam is necessary to gain admission.
Admission to the Order of Lawyers requires a law degree, which usually requires five years of study. There is no post-graduate experience requirement, although law school curricula require an internship or practical experience. In recent years, bar pass rates have been extremely low, with many candidates repeating the exam several times before finally succeeding.
As in most civil law jurisdictions, the law is an extremely academic field in Brazil. Before the first Brazilian universities were founded in the 1930s, law schools were among the most important cultural institutions in the country. Law is one of the most competitive majors at tuition-free public universities, with aspiring lawyers taking admissions exam cram courses for years while in high school.
Ricardo Tosto de Oliveira Carvalho is a leader in the Brazilian legal community. Mr. Tosto began as a solo practitioner and in a short time became become an international figure in high-stakes corporate litigation. His firm,Leite, Tosto, and Barros is among the 500 leading firms in the country. He attended law school at Mackenzie Presbyterian University in Sao Paulo, graduating with distinction, and went on to build the prestigious firm with offices in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia. The full-service firm practices in a wide range of areas, especially credit recovery and public law, as well as general litigation.
Mr. Tosto is also an accomplished author who has published an original, innovative work takes a fresh look at a historical trial from a contemporary perspective. Tosto’s book, The Trial of Tiradentes, weighs the evidence in the famous plot to overthrow the Portuguese colonial government in Brazil.
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