Eleonora Coelho Advogados
Rua Funchal, 263 Conj. 161
04551-060, São Paulo, Brazil
Eleonora Coelho receives widespread acclaim as "a leading arbitrator in Brazil" thanks to her top-notch practice spanning a variety of commercial, civil and transactional matters.
Eleonora Coelho is the founding partner of Eleonora Coelho Advogados. She has a master’s degree in litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) from Université Paris II - Panthéon Assas; and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of São Paulo Law School. She has more than 25 years of experience in national and international arbitrations, ADR and court litigation, and in the definition of pre-litigation strategies.
How would you describe your career to date?
My career has always been based on hard work, study and dedication. I started as a legal intern and then as a lawyer in one of the leading law firms in Latin America where I learned to practice law with excellence. In my early years as attorney, I moved to France to take a masters in arbitration and adequate dispute resolution methods at the University of Paris. Then I had the opportunity to work on the first major Brazilian arbitration case at the time. From there, I started to dedicate myself to academic and professional activities on that matter and in 2015 I opened my own law firm.
What did you find most challenging about entering the arbitration field?
It was challenging to work in arbitration, because the Brazilian Arbitration Act enacted in 1996 faced constitutional challenges and it was unknown whether arbitration would thrive or not. Only in 2001, when the Federal Supreme Court declared its constitutionality, arbitration began to develop in Brazil. Thus, the biggest challenge was to fight for arbitration to be not only known but also accepted in Brazil.
It is reported that there is a new generation of arbitrators emerging who are increasingly specialised. How does increased specialisation benefit the arbitration market and what are the potential pitfalls?
Indeed, there is a generation of extremely prepared and specialised young people emerging, which is a great asset for all who work in and benefit from arbitration. I cannot see any pitfalls, because for a young person to become a specialist in arbitration, he/she must have a very broad education that includes studying substantive and procedural arbitration laws, languages and having international experience. In sum, we have the honour and privilege of having an exceptionally well-trained generation working with us today!
Many arbitral awards are starting to end up back in court for enforcement proceedings. Does arbitration have an enforcement issue, and how could this be addressed if so?
To the best of my knowledge there is no scientific data that could lead us to the conclusion that there has been an increase of arbitration cases that are ending up in state courts. In any case, institutions and players are always engaged in the improvement of arbitration and in the adoption of good practices. The Brazilian Arbitration Committee for instance has worked on a toolkit on arbitral award writing, which brings guidelines for newcomers.
What green arbitration trends are currently prevalent in the market?
The global arbitration community is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and launched in 2021 the Greener Arbitration Protocol. The CAM-CCBC is the representative of the initiative in Brazil. The objective is to minimise the impact of arbitral proceedings on the environment and it involves several players in the arbitration community around the world: arbitration centres, arbitrators, law firms, hearing venues, funders, legal journalists, legal technology providers, among others.
One of my last actions as president of CAM-CCBC was to issue an Administrative Orientation (03/2023), listing concrete actions to be taken by the institution to reduce its carbon footprint.
To what extent is arbitration meeting the challenges of improving diversity?
Since the launch of the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge in 2015, the arbitral community has become more aware of the issue of gender diversity and has improved in that sense. Many institutions have signed the pledge and have adopted the pledge’s guidelines of having at least 30 percent women on the roster of arbitrators. CAM-CCBC for example had only 14 percent women arbitrators in its roster and currently has 33 percent. Also, the institution does not hold, sponsor or support events or activities that do not have at least 30 percent women as speakers. However, much still needs to be done, especially regarding racial and ethnic diversity.
What role do you see third-party funding playing in arbitration moving forward?
I believe that third party funding enables parties in financial and economic difficulties to commence arbitrations in the best possible manner, which means having the best assistance, the best lawyers, legal opinions, etc. In other words, it provides adequate access to justice in many cases.
What makes Eleonora Coelho Advogados stand out from its competitors in the market?
Eleonora Coelho Advogados is a boutique law firm that has a highly experienced and qualified team of lawyers who devote themselves to cases with very special and distinctive depth and attention. Furthermore, our practice is guided by ethics, diversity and extremely personalised service.