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Carlos Portugal Gouvêa

William D. Zabel ‘61 Visiting Professor in Human Rights

Fall 2022

Carlos Portugal Gouvea
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Carlos Portugal Gouvêa is an Associate Professor at the University of São Paulo Law School (USP) in Brazil, where he also leads the Asian Legal Studies Center (CELA), the Law and Poverty Group (GDP), the Indigenous Rights Research Group (DPI), and the Data Protection Studies Group (NPD-TechLab). He also coordinates the most prestigious business law review in Brazil, the Revista de Direito Mercantil Industrial, Econômico e Financeiro. He joined the faculty of USP in 2011 and holds an S.J.D.’08 from Harvard Law School and a LL.B.’01 and Livre-Docência’22 from the University of São Paulo. His scholarship focuses on corporate governance, ESG, human rights and distributive issues in private law.

He has served as Counselor at the Brazilian Council of Appeals of the National Financial System (CRSFN) from 2015 to 2018, which is the appeals body of the Brazilian Securities Commission and Central Bank. In such capacity, he was the rapporteur of leading decisions regarding the use of statistical analysis as proof in insider trading cases and fiduciary duties of controlling shareholders.

As a practicing lawyer and consultant, he founded the first law firm in Brazil with focus on corporate governance matters, PGLaw, leading the implementation of the first human rights and business programs in Brazilian public companies and other large-scale consumer, anticorruption and diversity compliance projects. As a consultant to the World Bank, he assisted the Brazilian Water Regulation Agency in training local regulators to implement the Federal Sanitation Law of 2020 with the purpose of making water distribution and treatment universal in Brazil. He was previously an associate at corporate department of Debevoise & Plimpton, with focus on corporate governance matters.

As a human rights activist, he was a founding member of two of the most relevant human right non-profits in Brazil: Instituto Sou da Paz, which led the largest anti-violence campaign in the country, resulting in the enactment of the federal Gun Control Act of 2003, and Conectas Human Rights, based on a grant from the United Nations Foundation to create a leading human rights organization in the developing south.

His scholarship is focused on research that can have a high and immediate impact on legislation and case law in developing countries. As a co-coordinator of the Law and Poverty Group (GDP), in 2021 he led the research project that grounded the most important ruling of the Brazilian Supreme Court on the relationship between intellectual property and health, which struck down as unconstitutional section of the Brazilian Intellectual Property Law that allowed for an automatic extension of patent protection. He also led a group of 52 researchers who documented violence against Indigenous communities in Brazil. Such study grounded the petition of the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil denouncing the practice of genocide in Brazil before the International Criminal Court in 2021.

He is currently a board member of several Brazilian companies, non-profit and governmental organizations, such as the Fulbright Commission in Brazil, which is the largest grantor of scholarships for foreign studies in Brazil, the Brazilian Students Organization (Brasa), the largest organization for Brazilian students abroad, Generation, an organization founded by McKinsey & Company to train underprivileged students on coding, and the endowment fund of the University of São Paulo Law School, Sempre SanFran.