Senior Fellow – Brazil

Mariana Freitas de Souza is a lawyer and mediator in Brazil and serves as the director of the Brazilian Center of Mediation and Arbitration (CBMA), a pioneering private mediation and arbitration center in Rio de Janeiro.

About Mariana Freitas de Souza

Mariana Freitas de Souza is a lawyer and mediator in Brazil and serves as the director of the Brazilian Center of Mediation and Arbitration (CBMA), a pioneering private mediation and arbitration center in Rio de Janeiro. She has been a lawyer and law professor in Brazil for over 15 years.

Ms. Freitas de Souza began her ADR journey after completing an LL.M from Tulane University in 2003. Upon returning to Brazil, she joined one of the largest firms in the country, where she began her mediation and arbitration practice, both as counsel to her clients and as a neutral.

Ms. Freitas de Souza brings into her mediations her deep experience of the corporate world, both as outside and in-house counsel. She teaches ADR at Candido Mendes University and also provides numerous commercial mediation trainings, including at CBMA, which she coordinates.

She is on the panel of Neutrals of the Brazilian Center for Mediation and Arbitration (CBMA), FGV Chamber of Mediation and Arbitration, Brazilian Commercial Mediation and Arbitration Chamber (CAMARB), and Industry Federation of São Paulo (CIESP/FIESP).

Ms. Freitas de Souza further serves as a member of the arbitration and mediation committees of the Brazilian Bar Association and the Brazilian Lawyer’s Institute. She is on the advisory board of the Brazilian Bar Association and is Vice-President of the ICFML (Portuguese qualifying program for IMI certification).

Litigation Practice

Ms. Freitas de Souza´s legal practice covers commercial and civil law issues, including:

  • Commercial contracts
  • Property and property development, including land-lord/ tenant disputes
  • Mining
  • Rights of minorities
  • Consumer protection
  • Environment protection and public interest litigation

During her work with the mining industry in Brazil, Ms. Freitas de Souza had the opportunity to manage a variety of issues, including: environmental protection, state and municipal regulation of soil exploration, rights of traditional communities, and relations with public authorities, among others.

Mediation Practice

Ms. Freitas de Souza has been a mediator since 2003 and has mediated several cases with a high rate of settlement. She coordinates the Mediation Center at the Brazilian Bar Association in Rio de Janeiro and practices at the Rio de Janeiro Court of Appeals. She also mediates privately.  Her diverse mediation experience includes cases in the areas of:

  • Property- real estate, landlord/tenant
  • Contracts – including commercial contracts, sub-contracts, vendor disputes
  • Family business disputes
  • Commercial – partnership, consumer disputes
  • Company disputes – shareholder issues
  • Professional ethics – disputes between lawyers and clients
ADR Achievements and Training

  • Ms. Freitas de Souza is Vice-President of ICFML, part of the team responsible for the IMI qualifying program assessment in Portuguese. She is director at CBMA, where she organizes and coordinates an annual Mediation Seminar in Rio de Janeiro with guest speakers from Brazil and abroad.
  • She further coordinates the NYC ADR Conference, a joint initiative between NYU’s Brazilian Legal Society (BLS) and CBMA.
  • Ms. Freitas de Souza coordinates the Mediation Center at the Brazilian Bar Association. This center is used for lawyers to submit their professional and personal disputes to mediation.
  • Awarded a Weinstein JAMS International Fellowship (2016).
  • Trained in mediation at Tulane Law School, during her LL.M program.
  • Has undergone extensive advanced mediation and dispute resolution training at JAMS (San Francisco), Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University and Stanford Law School.

ADR Teaching and Mentoring

As director of the Brazilian Center of Mediation and Arbitration:

  • She began Rio de Janeiro’s first training in commercial mediation, where she teaches lawyers, judges and other professionals in the classroom, as well as in actual commercial mediations at the Rio de Janeiro Courthouse.
  • She coordinates several workshops on dispute resolution, namely in techniques for breaking impasse, dispute system design, psychological aspects of mediation, etc.

As a professor, she teaches:

  • Negotiation, Mediation and Arbitration for law students at Candido Mendes School of Law
  • Dispute System Design for mediators
  • Online Dispute Resolution.
  • ADR to students in several postgraduate courses in Brazil

Publications and Education

Publications & Presentations

Ms. Freitas de Souza has published several articles for newspapers, law journals and books on ADR.

She has been a guest speaker at more than 20 events on ADR, in Brazil and abroad.

Educational Qualifications

  • LL.M from São Paulo Catholic University on family and inheritance law (2016)
  • Master of Laws (LL.M) from Tulane University (2003)
  • Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from Rio de Janeiro State University (2001)

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