THE FIRM

Cavalcanti Sion Advogados was created following a merger between the team led by attorney Dora Cavalcanti, who has over 25 years’ experience in criminal law, and her long-term partner Paula Sion.

The sum of their legal skills has created an even more comprehensive and well-structured law firm capable of focusing on today’s most complex challenges in Criminal Law.

The firm is fully committed to discretion, availability and working closely with clients to build a frank and robust relationship and determine the best strategy for each particular case.

Acknowledgment:

Ethics and legality are key tenets in all the firm’s activities, which are centered on the team’s shared opinion that criminal representation is essential to protect liberty and the Democratic State of Law.

WHAT WE DO

The firm’s partners have extensive experience in major criminal cases and they have achieved positive results based on their combative and intelligent approach to criminal representation.

The firm closely monitors progress in all its cases, acts quickly to protect its clients’ interests and is continuously researching the latest developments in case law and academia.

The firm provides representation and consultancy in all areas of criminal law.

The firm is involved in cases across the country and some that have cross-border repercussions, supported by a wide network of partner firms and correspondent attorneys.

Consultancy services includes legal opinions, case strategy studies and assistance producing criminal compliance policies.

We provide representation at all stages of a case, including the investigative and judicial phases, to provide the best possible defense.

We file appeals and constitutional submissions as and when appropriate, including habeas corpus and writs of mandamus, and the firm will always provide clients with the most comprehensive defense possible.

Cavalcanti and Sion attorneys have acted as counsel in cases before the Superior Court of Justice and Federal Supreme Court and are aware of all the most recent positions from all of the Superior Courts.

Additionally, the partners are frequently involved in jury trials, which are the essence of criminal law and where oral argument is paramount.

People and companies fall victims to crime every day. It is also common to find company employees involved in crime and wrongdoing.

As the authorities are often overstretched, private investigations can be a key means of uncovering crime and collecting evidence to support criminal prosecutions.

If sufficient evidence is found, the firm can draw up and file applications to initiate inquiries, file criminal complaints and crime reports with the competent authorities and assist prosecutions.

The firm has vast experience in assisting criminal prosecutions and supporting state or federal prosecutors to help bring offenders to justice and obtain compensation.

OUR CLIENTS

The firm focuses primarily on Corporate Criminal Law and represents various foreign and domestic companies.

It has extensive experience liaising with legal and infrastructure departments to help serve each company’s specific requirements.

Financial Institutions and Capital Markets

In strategic cases and mass-market portfolios.
Main areas: internal and external fraud, police action involving bank branches, misconduct, crimes against the national financial system, tax crime, Money Laundering or Asset Concealment and consumer law offenses.

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Light and heavy industry

Main areas: environmental crime, work accident cases, internal and external fraud, government-related cases (Public Procurement Act and crimes against public administration), tax crime, shipping and distribution cases.

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Civil construction and infrastructure

Main areas: environmental crime, work accident cases, internal and external fraud, government-related cases (Public Procurement Act and crimes against public administration), tax crime.

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Medical and hospital sector

Main areas: import and export cases, consumer relations crime, tax crime, government-related cases (Public Procurement Act and crimes against public administration), internal and external fraud.

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Technology and development

Main areas: import and export cases, consumer relations crime, tax crime, government-related cases (Public Procurement Act and crimes against public administration), internal and external fraud.

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Agribusiness

Main areas: import and export cases, tax crime, environmental crime, government-related cases (Public Procurement Act and crimes against public administration), shipping and distribution cases, work accident cases, internal and external fraud.

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Service sector

Main areas: tax crime, consumer law offenses, government-related cases (Public Procurement Act and crimes against public administration), internal and external fraud, industry association defenses.

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Oil and Gas

Main areas: environmental crime, import and export cases, tax crime, government interactions (Public Procurement Act and crimes against public administration), internal and external fraud.

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Food products and distribution

Main areas: consumer relations, import and export cases, tax crime, government interactions (Public Procurement Act and crimes against public administration), internal and external fraud.

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Under Brazilian criminal law, prosecutions are always brought against individuals except in cases involving environmental crimes. This means that even in cases involving corporate crimes, the firm is predominantly focused on the individual involved.

Whether we are defending someone or helping them obtain an appropriate response from the authorities if they have been the victim of a crime, we understand crimes and the resulting accusations fundamentally affect people.

This is based on our view that criminal law is not just another branch of the law. It touches on people’s lives and liberty and can cause sleepless nights and negatively affect mood, health and happiness. For the person involved, there is no such thing as a small criminal problem.
Just like a doctor, a criminal lawyer needs to act with humanity and tread with care. Doctors handle people’s lives and health, whereas criminal lawyers are responsible for their future and freedom.

This is why our analyses have to have the same level of precision, detail and information. Treatment also needs to be surgical, using the best possible method to “cure” the problem and reduce any side-effects.

The level of service, case, dedication and support is always the same whether you have suffered a crime or been accused of one, are a small business owner or General Counsel at a major company, to give people the support they need while dealing with criminal issues.

CRIMINAL LAW

Criminal law encompasses much more than it used to. Apart from the crimes listed in the Criminal Code, there is a long list of specific criminal laws. New crimes are constantly being created and have criminal repercussions in various aspects of everyday life.

There is a growing international trend to use criminal law not just as a set of rules to protect society’s fundamental values, but also as a means of regulating business and reinforcing state power.

Many of these new crimes are enacted in specific pieces of legislation in Financial, Corporate or Special Criminal Law, as opposed to  what is now known as Classic Criminal Law.

Our team has broad experience in both areas.

These are crimes listed in the Criminal Code, which is intended to protect life, property, the organization of work, religious sentiment and the dead, sexual dignity, the family, the body, public peace, legal authority and public administration.

The better-known crimes include homicide, bodily injury, slander, libel and defamation, theft and robbery, criminal deception, misappropriation, rape, fraudulent misrepresentation and corruption.

These are crimes listed in the Criminal Code, which is intended to protect life, property, the organization of work, religious sentiment and the dead, sexual dignity, the family, the body, public peace, legal authority and public administration.

The better-known crimes include homicide, bodily injury, slander, libel and defamation, theft and robbery, criminal deception, misappropriation, rape, fraudulent misrepresentation and corruption.

TEAM

Dora Cavalcanti

Dora received her degree from the São Paulo University Law Faculty in 1994.
She has over 25 years’ experience in criminal law, is accustomed to a wide variety of challenges defending her clients and has worked on a broad range of higly complex cases over the years.

She is the founder and director of the Innocence Project brazil, which is committed to exonerating people who have been unfairly convicted and improving the Brazilian criminal justice system.

She is also one of the original board members at the Institute for the Protection of the Right to a Defense (IDDD) that she helped create in 1990 and which works to increase access to justice and reinforce people’s right to a fair hearing. The was the Institute’s vice-president for over 10 years, President from 2002 to 2007 and Chair of the Deliberative Council from 2015 to 2019.

Dora has vast experience in cases involving international cooperation and she is regularly recognized by well-known international publications including Chambers Latin America, Who’s Who and Leaders League.
She also wants to increase women’s involvement in criminal advocacy and she is a regular speaker at related events and congresses here in Brazil and overseas. She stood as a candidate for the OAB/SP Presidency in 2021.

Paula Sion

Paula graduated from the Mackenzie Presbyterian University in 1999. She has a post-graduate degree in Economic and European Criminal Law from the University of Coimbra, in partnership with the Brazilian Institute of Criminal Sciences (2001); she also concluded a specialist course on Financial Crime in the “Tax, Money Laundering and other Crimes” module at the Getulio Vargas Foundation School of Law (in 2007).

Paula Sion represents clients in many different areas on a wide range of criminal law matters including corporate crime, financial crime, money-laundering, tax crime, public procurement crime and others.

She is tough on defense, but has the pragmatism needed to achieve the best possible outcome in each particular case and she recently worked on negotiations for one of Brazil’s biggest ever plea bargain agreements.

Paula was Cultural Director and Funding Coordinator at the Institute for the Protection of the Right to a Defense (IDDD 2011-2014) and is one of its founding partners. She is currently a member of the Fiscal Committee at the Innocence Project Brazil. She was a board member at the Prerogatives Commission and member of the Criminal Law Committee for the Sao Paulo chapter of the Brazilian Bar Association from 2019-2021 and candidate for vice-president of the Lawyer’s Welfare Association – Caasp -OAB/SP in 2021.

Gabriel Holtz

Gabriel holds a degree in Law from Pontifical Catholic University in São Paulo – PUC/SP and a post-graduate degree in Financial Crime from the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV). In 2015, he served as a monitor on the Criminal Procedure Course at the Pontifical Catholic University in São Paulo.

He is a member of the Criminal Law Commission of the Center for the Study of Law Firms (CESA), the Brazilian Institute for Criminal Sciences (IBCCRIM) and the Criminal Procedure Commission at the Brazilian Bar Association.

He is fluent in English.

Pollyana Soares

Graduated in 2010 from the São Paulo University Law School (USP), She holds a postgraduate degree in Criminal Procedure Law from the University of Coimbra, in partnership with the Brazilian Institute of Criminal Sciences (2019) and is a specialist in Economic Criminal Law from the same institution (2020). In 2023, she obtained a certification in corporate investigations, forensics, and compliance from the KPMG Business School.

She serves as a rapporteur for the IV Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Bar Association of Brazil in São Paulo (SP) and is the president of the Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Commission of the Bar Association of Brazil in São Paulo (SP), Subsection of Lapa, for the triennium from 2022 to 2024. She is a member of the Institute for the Defense of the Right to Defense (IDDD), an associate of the Institute of Lawyers of São Paulo (IASP), and the Deputy Coordinator of the Amicus Curiae Department of the Brazilian Institute of Criminal Sciences (IBCCrim).

Cristiane Costa

Cristiane graduated from the University of São Paulo – USP Faculty of Law (2019). She has a post-graduate degree in Financial Crime Law from the University of Coimbra Faculty of Law, in partnership with the Brazilian Institute of Criminal Sciences (2001);

She is a member of the Brazilian Institute for Criminal Sciences (IBCCRIM) and the Innocence Project Brazil.

She is fluent in English.

Nicole Mizrahi Dentes

Nicole graduated from the São Paulo University Law School (USP) in 2020, in addition to participating in an academic exchange at the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (Sciences Po) in 2017/2018.

She has a post-graduate degree in Financial Criminal Law from the Institute of European Economic Criminal Law (IDPEE) at the School of Law of the University of Coimbra in partnership with the Brazilian Institute of Criminal Sciences (IBCCRIM).

She is fluent in English and French.

Helena Cabrera de Oliveira

Helena graduated from the Mackenzie Presbyterian University Law School (2016) and holds a postgraduate degree in Criminal Law and Criminology from the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Policy (ICPC). She served as a monitor for the Negotiation Techniques for Lawyers Course (2020), the Compliance Postgraduate Program (2020/2021), the Short Course in Law and Government Relations (2021), and the Postgraduate Program in Economic Criminal Law (2022/2023), all at FGV LAW.

She volunteered as a lawyer for the Pro Bono Institute’s Custody Hearing Project (2017/2018) and is currently a volunteer lawyer associated with the Innocence Project Brazil and the Defense Rights Project in the Jury Trial at the Institute for the Defense of the Right to Defense (IDDD).

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

The firm is intrinsically committed to building a fairer society and prioritizes pro bono involvement in various projects in the criminal law and crime policy areas.

Aware of the role we play increasing people’s access to the courts and protecting individual freedoms, we spare no time or effort addressing one of the most sensitive human problems: people’s right to a fair hearing.

Our partners and associates are constantly involved in initiatives organized by the Innocence Project Brazil, Institute for the Protection of the Right to a Defense (IDDD) and Brazilian Institute of Criminal Sciences.

In partnership with the Rahal, Carnelós e Vargas do Amaral Advogados, the firm won the Lumen award from the Law Firm Studies Center (CESA); in 2019, the Innocence Project Brazil won the Innovare Award in the Advocacy Category and in 2021, Dora Cavalcanti received the Myrthes Gomes de Campos medal, the highest commendation from the OAB-DF, for the social significance of the Project she brought to Brazil.

In 2022, Dora Cavalcanti became a donor to an Board member of the “Sempre Sanfran” Project organized by well-known lawyers who graduated from the Largo de São Francisco to assist projects that support academic excellence, research and extension and diversity and inclusion.

To find out more, please visit the websites:

iddd.org.br
ibccrim.org.br
innocencebrasil.org