People tend to be national – centric when is comes to the law. Many have trouble picturing how another country’s law functions. In order to understand foreign law, one must understand their own country’s. American law is based on common law which centers around judicial precedence. This means that sitting judges give opinions on individual cases which creates a loose statute upon which another judge’s decision can be based. Although the U.S. also has codified law, laws passed by a legislative body, the extistance of both is intended to balance each other.
A country with some similarities to the american legal system is Brazil. Unlike the U.S., Brazilian law is based on codified laws, which gives less power to judge’s precedence. The basis for this is old European policy, mostly from Portugal, which began to settle Brazil in the mid – 16th century. Preparing to practice law in the U.S. and Brazil is also different. In the U.S., a potential law student must earn a bachelors degree that does not have to be associated with law. They must then earn a three year JD (juris doctorate) before sitting for the bar exam. Brazilian law students go straight to law school and earn a five year Bacharel di Direito (Bachelor of Laws) which qualifies them to sit for the bar exam. In the actual practice of Brazilian law, judges question witnesses, present evidence and find experts to testify. While Lawyers still represent clients, they take a less investigative role but have a more vested interested in “defending” their client.
A lawyer that has a stellar reputation in the Brazilian legal community is Ricardo Tosto. Starting out in a small practice, Sr. Tosto worked his way up through the most successful firms in the country to owning the largest legal firm in Brazil. As the founding partner, he took part in some of the most ground breaking decisions in the Brazilian Legal System. Functioning as lead council in many high profile, big money cases, he has also enacted major legal mechanisms which have become a cornerstone of Brazilian legal practice. In addition, he has represented several Brazilian corporations as well as economic interests.
Mentoring most of his partners, Sr. Tosto has brought his legal firm, Leite, Tosto y Barros Advogados, to one of the most well reputationed firms in Brazil. As his landmarks in the field continues, Ricardo Tosto’s impression on Brazilian law will not be soon forgotten.