Ranked by Chambers and Partners / Asia Pacific 2014
What the team is known for A young but rapidly growing firm with an impressive ratio of partners to other staff and a full-service offering, organised into specialist practice groups. Represents major clients in the most active sectors of the Macanese economy, particularly gaming, construction, and banking and finance.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Expertise: “We bet on them when they were still small and were so happy with the result that they are now the only lawyers we use. I tell everybody that they’re the best corporate lawyers in Macau.”
Market standing: “Many big companies coming to Macau are looking to them for help.”
Gonçalo Mendes da Maia specialises in the banking and finance, construction and real estate spheres and the transactions which interconnect them. Clients single him out for his “knowledge of the law, strategic thinking and ability to deal with difficult matters and resolve the problems.”
Luís Mesquita de Melo is widely recognised as “a true gaming specialist.” He brings to his work the especially notable advantage of having been an executive with a major gaming operator, giving him valuable insights into that business and the associated financial, regulatory and hospitality spheres.
Ranked by Chambers and Partners / Asia Pacific 2013
This robust practice continues to increase its profile among both domestic and international clients, picking up several significant new mandates in the past year. It handles a high number of real estate and construction issues, including, of late, advising on the structuring of the legal and operational model for a major resort complex. Sources say: “Their partners are very experienced, very responsive and very diligent.” “They are more proactive than many other lawyers in the market.”
Clients hold Gonçalo Mendes da Maia in high esteem, regarding him as “a responsive and reliable counsel.” Sources are also “highly impressed” by his extensive legal knowledge.
Luis Mesquita de Melo is a new asset to MdME and heads the firm’s growing gaming practice, having previously worked at two of Macau’s most prominent casinos. Clients note that “Luis knows law in Macau inside out.”
MdME ranked Tier 1 by IFLR / 2014
MdME, established in 2006, has close to 15 lawyers and has shaken up the long settled Macanese legal market. Where traditional firms in town had risen partly on the back of their partners’ relationship with casino moguls, MdME, notwithstanding the relatively younger age of its five partners, has been winning mandates and challenging the status quo in the fast-changing gambling capital.
The firm recently established an alliance with Portuguese firm Morais Leitão and its network firms, as well as a strategic referral arrangement with US firm Dickinson Wright. The firm has a strong corporate and financial practice, which has been growing rapidly since the firm’s establishment.
In the banking practice at the firm, Gonçalo Mendes da Maia is the key contact.
The firm is also quite active in the debt and equity capital markets with Luís Mesquita de Melo, who worked as in-house at Sands China and Venetian Macau. The team acted as local counsel for the issuer on SOHO China’s Reg S issuance of $1 billion senior notes.
The corporate practice is led by Rui Pinto Proença, who recently acted on acquisitions in the insurance, real estate and gaming sectors.”
Asialaw Profiles – Asia Pacific Region 2014
MdME, founded in 2006, has a rapidly expanding team of lawyers with key expertise in corporate and financial matters.
“We have been working with MdME, they are good,” says a lawyer with an international firm. The firm has an alliance with the MLGTS Legal Circle, an association of firms in Macau, Portugal, Mozambique and Angola. In the US, the firm is allied with gaming firm Dickinson Wright.
Gonçalo Mendes da Maia heads the banking, finance and real estate practices. He has acted on several large infrastructure projects in Macau, including the light rail project and the ongoing Hong Kong-Macau bridge project.
For banking clients, the team advises on syndicated loans, as well as a broad range of capital markets financings, both through debt and equity issuances.
Luís Mesquita de Melo is the firm’s expert on gaming and hospitality and also has expertise on capital markets transactions. He was previously general counsel at a large casino operator before joining MdME and also an advisor for legal affairs to the Minister of Economy of Portugal.
Rui Pinto Proença is in charge of the firm’s corporate and M&A practice. Recent transactions for the team were in the insurance, pharmaceutical and security sectors. The partner also acts for private equity funds on their portfolio investments.
João Encarnação heads the firm’s intellectual property team and notary department. “He has good ethics and good skills in patents and intellectual property,” says a peer. Encarnação is an expert in patent, trade mark and design prosecution and applications, with a particular understanding of IT and telecom businesses.
MdME ranked Tier 1 by IFLR / 2013
MdME is seen by clients as “a new generation Macau law firm.” Its responsiveness and transactional support to its clients is aimed at giving an international approach to the more traditional market. Peers and clients appreciate the firm’s forward-thinking founding partner Gonçalo Mendes da Maia, saying “Macau law firms normally work like the Hong Kong firms in the 70s but these guys are progressive and have a very good response time, they act like any good international law firm. We’ve been using them pretty much exclusively.”
The firm has furthered its commitment to giving clients a wider reach by offering a strategic referral arrangement with US firm Dickson Wright, providing an important resource to clients who wish to enter into the American market. The addition to the eight-strong team of lawyers of Luís Mesquita de Melo, former Executive Vice-President at one of Macau’s largest licensed gaming operators, gives additional depth to the firm’s gaming practice.
Ranked by Chambers and Partners / Global 2012
This three-partner firm continues to increase in prominence, steadily gaining a reputation for responsiveness and engaging with clients. Its practice covers real estate, construction and corporate matters, as well as providing wider advice in relation to IP, employment and HR, banking and finance and dispute resolution issues. The team also provides fluent English, Portuguese and Mandarin speakers at partner level.
Sources say: “They know what we require in terms of depth and timing. They are always prompt and efficient.” “The firm is young, but they are helpful and they know their stuff.”
Partner Gonçalo Mendes da Maia is highly praised for his dedication to clients’ requirements, with one saying: “He went out of his way to work on our contract. He spent his time going through a messy deal and was at our beck and call.
Ranked by Chambers and Partners / Asia Pacific 2011
This fast-growing practice was established in 2006 and has an increasingly strong presence in the market. It fields a team of three partners, with a mainly corporate and commercial offering. It has been involved in several infrastructure projects in Macau, including roads, bridges and railway developments. The group also works with leading financial institutions and gaming companies, and is frequently instructed by international firms in Hong Kong as local counsel.
Partner Gonçalo Mendes da Maia is commended for his ability to anticipate clients’ needs. Sources say: “When it comes to off-the-cuff questions, he knows the answer off the top of his head. He’s energetic and proactive.
Ranked by Chambers and Partners / Global 2011
MdME enters the rankings for the first time, due to its rapidly increasing local profile and international presence. The firm offers a full service to domestic and multinational corporations and has established a dedicated China investment department to assist outbound investors from the PRC enter Portuguese markets. The team also assists foreign clients looking to invest locally. Gonçalo Mendes da Maia is the key contact for the firm. He specialises in transactional work, including banking, finance and real estate.
- Corporate INTL Macau Business Law Firm 2011
- Global Law Experts Macau Corporate Law Firm 2011
- The firm was designated by Asia Legal Business (ALB) as the only Macau law firm in the Intellectual Property “firms to watch” in Asia 2012
- MdME was awarded the Macau Business Law Firm of the Year by Corporate INTL
- MdME was awarded the 2012 Banking & Finance Law Firm of the Year by Finance Monthly Global Awards.