Insight

How PLMJ's Unique Structure Shapes Its Insolvency Practice

A leading attorney with the 2019 "Law Firm of the Year" winner for Insolvency and Reorganization Law in Portugal speaks to Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer.

PLMJ "Law Firm of the Year" Interview
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

April 12, 2019 01:16 PM

Filipa Cotta of PLMJ is celebrating both her firm’s 2019 “Law Firm of the Year” award for Insolvency and Reorganization Law in Portugal, and its recent 50th anniversary as a major player in the Portuguese market. Cotta speaks with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer about changes in her insolvency practice, and what the firm has planned for the future.

Are there one or two landmark cases that you that you're especially proud of?

I would say that the most significant cases that we are dealing with in the last years are the ones related to Banco Espírito Santo (BES), which became insolvent in late 2014. Since then, we have been dealing with not only the banking part, but also with all the non-financial part, which was huge. The case is not just complex but also one of the highest-profile bankruptcy cases of all times in Portugal. In this context, we are advising the insolvency receivers in Luxembourg and are dealing with all that relates to the companies that are held by the insolvent estate in Portugal and Brazil. We are also advising foreign insolvency receivers in other transnational insolvencies, like the receivers of Banif Finance Ltd. in liquidation, a Cayman wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Internacional do Funchal, S.A. As per Portugal, there are also very interesting cases like the restructuring/insolvency of the so-called Group Chamartin and the restructuring process of Prado Cartolinas da Lousã.

Are there any specific attorneys that you would greatly recognize for assisting with these types of cases?

I would say that, in these types of cases, the leadership is really provided by both me and Nuno Líbano Monteiro. We also have Manuela Tavares Morais, a partner who assists in a lot on high profile and complex cases. In other insolvency cases representing the creditors, which are mainly, banks, I would draw your attention to the great work done by managing associate Catarina Guedes de Carvalho.

What does your firm do to help support practicing attorneys?

We have a mentoring program and every trainee lawyer has a mentor. Basically, this mentor has a mission to pass on PLMJ's culture and to help these young lawyers fit into the firm and to work effectively in line with our principles. We are a multidisciplinary law firm. PLMJ is quite large, so the young lawyers do need some assistance and guidance so that they can develop and they can be as well-integrated as possible.

More specifically, our restructuring and insolvency team offers this guidance by giving our trainees direct contact with partners that introduce them to clients. We do our best to have young attorneys and trainees involved in the high-profile cases that we have. We encourage them to be the most diligent, independent and confident they can be going forward.

Are there any trends in Insolvency and Reorganization Law you've witnessed in this last year, and do you see any changes coming in the coming years?

I think that the change we have been seeing and that I expect to continue to see in the years to come is actually the great complexity and diversity within insolvency and restructuring. I remember when insolvency was an area of the law considered as “secondary” and the lawyers didn't really care about. It was not sexy. Nowadays, insolvency and restructuring have a close connection with all the areas of the law: M&A, Tax, Criminal, corporate law, etc.

And why? Because back then we couldn't foresee that, for example, big companies, banks, and governmental concessionaires could become insolvent or need reorganization. These changes have increased the level of complexity in insolvency and restructuring cases, and makes the cases much more interesting, I would say.

We do our best to have young attorneys and trainees involved in the high-profile cases that we have. We encourage them to be the most diligent, independent and confident they can be going forward.

So, your firm has celebrated its 50th anniversary a couple of years ago. How has the firm's mission changed or evolved since its founding in 1967, and where do you see the firm heading in the future?

We are very democratic and diverse firm, and we are always trying to do our best. We love challenges and we have thrived on the challenges we have faced over the years. I can testify that since I've been working with the firm for 20 years now. I was a trainee at PLMJ, and I am now a partner.

In line with our strategy of looking ahead, I think that it's important to point out that we are heading to a new office in Lisbon in April. The building will have an art gallery for the PLMJ Foundation collection, which is one of the key and distinctive elements of PLMJ. It will also have abundant communal spaces to foster collaboration and more breakout areas. So, we are developing in that direction, to become more open and have more spaces to talk and share ideas.

We also have a recently elected a new board for the next three years. The board combines a very experienced managing partner with younger board members, so we are once again focusing on diversity and trying to continue the legacy we have built and to take the firm to new heights.

We remain the largest Portuguese firm with 427 people, including 58 partners. I think that that's something to be proud of, especially if you're talking about a 100% Portuguese firm.

Related Articles

An Interview With Eberhard Braun of Schultze & Braun


by Best Lawyers

The 2019 "Law Firm of the Year" winning firm was recognized in Germany for Restructuring and Insolvency Law.

Eberhard Braun Interview

Announcing the 2021 Best Lawyers in Portugal


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

2021 Best Lawyers in Portugal

Solving Insolvency


by Best Lawyers

Markus Fellner discusses emerging trends in insolvency and reorganization law and the work his firm has done with the visually impaired.

An Interview With Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner

An Interview With Norton Rose Fulbright


by Best Lawyers

Australia’s 2020 “Law Firm of the Year” in Insolvency and Reorganization Law

An Interview With Norton Rose Fulbright

Portugal Is Legislating Its Way to a Fairer Workplace


by Best Lawyers

Pedro Pardal Goulão of Morais Leitão discusses the big changes coming to Portugal in his "Law Firm of the Year" interview.

Gender Equality Law Portugal

A Startup Accelerator Program Sets Cuatrecasas Apart


by Best Lawyers

Miguel de Almada and Frederico Bettencourt Ferreira from the Portuguese firm discuss their 2019 "Law Firm of the Year" award for Litigation and Arbitration.

Cuatrecasas "Law Firm of the Year"

Opening Pandora's Box in Portuguese Tax Law


by Best Lawyers

Diogo Ortigão Ramos discusses Cuatrecasas' 2019 "Law Firm of the Year" award for tax law in Portugal.

Cuatrecasas Law Firm of the Year Interview

The 5 W’s of Bankruptcy Communications


by Eden Gillott

You might be an expert on bankruptcy, but communicating its practical realities to clients can get complicated.

The Who, What, and Why of Bankruptcy

A Practical Guide for Chapter 7 Practitioners


by Peter W. Hansen

Peter Hansen confronts and debunks common misconceptions surrounding debt repayment, bankruptcy and consolidation propagated by politicians and companies.

Large cracked piggy bank with person putting Band-aids on cracks

The 2023 Best Lawyers in Portugal™


by Best Lawyers

Announcing the elite group of lawyers recognized in Portugal for 2023.

Green and red Portuguese flag

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Germany™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Germany.

Black, red and yellow stripes

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Switzerland™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Switzerland.

Red flag with white cross

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Austria™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Austria.

Red and white stripes

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Italy™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Italy.

Green, white and red stripes

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Colombia™


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Colombia™

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in South Africa™


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

Announcing 2022 Best Lawyers in South Africa

Trending Articles

Presenting The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2025


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to present The Best Lawyers in Australia for 2025, marking the 17th consecutive year of Best Lawyers awards in Australia.

Australia flag over outline of country

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power


by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

Announcing The Best Lawyers in New Zealand™ 2025 Awards


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is announcing the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in New Zealand for 2025, including individual Best Lawyers and "Lawyer of the Year" awards.

New Zealand flag over image of country outline

Legal Distinction on Display: 15th Edition of The Best Lawyers in France™


by Best Lawyers

The industry’s best lawyers and firms working in France are revealed in the newly released, comprehensive the 15th Edition of The Best Lawyers in France™.

French flag in front of country's outline

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Japan™ 2025


by Best Lawyers

For a milestone 15th edition, Best Lawyers is proud to announce The Best Lawyers in Japan.

Japan flag over outline of country

The Best Lawyers in Singapore™ 2025 Edition


by Best Lawyers

For 2025, Best Lawyers presents the most esteemed awards for lawyers and law firms in Singapore.

Singapore flag over outline of country

Announcing the 13th Edition of Best Lawyers Rankings in the United Kingdom


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to announce the newest edition of legal rankings in the United Kingdom, marking the 13th consecutive edition of awards in the country.

British flag in front of country's outline

Announcing the 16th Edition of the Best Lawyers in Germany Rankings


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers announces the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in Germany™, featuring a unique set of rankings that highlights Germany's top legal talent.

German flag in front of country's outline

How Much Is a Lawyer Consultation Fee?


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers breaks down the key differences between consultation and retainer fees when hiring an attorney, a crucial first step in the legal process.

Client consulting with lawyer wearing a suit

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers’ Compensation Legal Guide


by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers' Compensation Legal Guide provides exclusive access to all Best Lawyers awards in related practice areas. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Illustration of several men and women in shades of orange and teal

Things to Do Before a Car Accident Happens to You


by Ellie Shaffer

In a car accident, certain things are beyond the point of no return, while some are well within an individual's control. Here's how to stay legally prepared.

Car dashcam recording street ahead

Celebrating Excellence in Law: 11th Edition of Best Lawyers in Italy™


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers announces the 11th edition of The Best Lawyers in Italy™, which features an elite list of awards showcasing Italy's current legal talent.

Italian flag in front of country's outline

Combating Nuclear Verdicts: Empirically Supported Strategies to Deflate the Effects of Anchoring Bias


by Sloan L. Abernathy

Sometimes a verdict can be the difference between amicability and nuclear level developments. But what is anchoring bias and how can strategy combat this?

Lawyer speaking in courtroom with crowd and judge in the foreground

The Push and Pitfalls of New York’s Attempt to Expand Wrongful Death Recovery


by Elizabeth M. Midgley and V. Christopher Potenza

The New York State Legislature recently went about updating certain wrongful death provisions and how they can be carried out in the future. Here's the latest.

Red tape blocking off a section of street

6 Ways a Lawyer Can Help You With Your Medical Malpractice Claim


by Adam Malone

If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Read on to learn how they can help with your claim.

Doctor in white lab coat showing x-ray to patient in blue scrubs