UK law firm HFW has announced that it is boosting its presence in Latin America through a cooperation agreement with newly established Brazilian firm CAL, founded by aviation insurance specialist Julio Costa.

Julio Costa

HFW said on 19 June that Costa would join the firm as aviation and insurance partner after CAL was launched later this month, subject to local regulatory approval.

The new firm was founded by Costa and other members of the insurance team from Tauil & Chequer Advogados in cooperation with Mayer Brown (TCMB), and will operate from offices in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

Costa was previously partner at Clyde & Co from May 2008 to 2011, before setting up aviation and insurance boutique to Cruz Costa Advogados, which was absorbed by Tauil & Chequer in 2013.

Costa has been involved in insurance cases arising out of numerous high-profile aviation accidents in the region, including TAM Airlines Flight 3054 which overran the runway at São Paulo–Congonhas Airport in 2007; the crash of Air France Flight 447 en route to Rio de Janeiro in 2009; and the 2014 business jet crash that killed Brazilian Socialist Party presidential candidate Eduardo Campos.

He told ALN: “I was attracted by HFW's deep industry expertise in insurance and aviation; commitment to developing business in Brazil and across Latin America; and the collegiate approach of the global team."

“Being part of such a large and specialist global team will be hugely beneficial to my clients,” Costa added in a statement published by HFW. “We are also very excited about the opportunities for CAL, and have ambitious plans to grow and develop our practices to align with HFW's business.”

The firm said its existing São Paulo aviation and disputes partner Fernando Albino would join CAL after the firm was set up. 

“Brazil is the world's eighth-largest economy and a key centre for many of our clients,” Richard Crump, HFW global senior partner, added. “Our cooperation arrangement with CAL is [an] important step in our continued international expansion, and means we are able to provide clients with specialist advice in Brazil and across Latin America."

The partnership with CAL will be the seventh international tie-up HFW has entered into since January 2016, including a fully integrated merger with US energy and marine law firm Legge Farrow Kimmitt McGrath & Brown in January 2017.

Tauil & Chequer Advogados did not respond to a request for comment.