Our Social DNA: How We Contribute to Society’s Progress

At Mattos Filho, we compile knowledge, create strategies and act to promote positive impact through our legal work. This purpose manifests itself through our social ecosystem, which is structured around three pillars – our Mattos Filho 100% Pro Bono practice, Corporate Citizenship area, and Instituto Mattos Filho.

In 2022, we sought to further stimulate our individual and collective power as agents of transformation within the scope of sustainability, transparency, and ethics in human relations.

One of the main examples of this is our pro bono legal services, where we balance the time we dedicate between supporting civil society organizations and assisting individuals in vulnerable situations. Both of these fronts complement each other; supporting organizations allows us to extend the reach of our impact, while attending to individuals enables the firm to provide an even more humanized approach, especially in regard to regions and issues where rights are not always properly upheld.

Some of the most prominent cases we are dedicated to concern defending women in situations of domestic violence. In this area, we further amplify our impact through important discussions within Brazil’s higher courts, pushing to advance interpretations of the country’s preeminent law on domestic violence, the Maria da Penha Law.

In cases related to discrimination, we handle various proceedings at the São Paulo State Citizenship and Justice Department, defending individuals who are victims of racial, sexual orientation or gender-based discrimination. We also work within the criminal justice system to defend individuals in custody hearings and in drafting habeas corpus petitions. In these situations, we look to ensure the due process of law and reduce detention time in a country with the world’s third-highest incarceration rate.

Many of these cases reach the firm through a partnership we established in 2019 with the Public Defender's Office of the State of São Paulo, an institution essential to defending individual and collective rights in the context of the democratic rule of law.

We also work to defend migrants and refugees – another consolidated area within the Mattos Filho 100% Pro Bono practice. In 2022, we expanded the scope of this work to include general migrants and economic migrants rather than exclusively those who change countries in an attempt to flee persecution, war, and serious human rights violations.

Between individuals in socially vulnerable situations and non-profit institutions, we volunteered a total of over 23,000 hours to pro bono legal work in 2022. In addition to those at the firm who work exclusively within our 100% Pro Bono practice, approximately 500 other professionals were involved.

"Pro bono means 'for the good', and together with access to justice, that’s what we end up promoting – bringing out the best in people, a stronger connection with the firm’s values and culture, and an expanded worldview. Professionals become more engaged with each other and with the legal profession itself. By becoming more aware of our purpose, they engage in transformation."

Flavia Regina Oliveira
Partner – Mattos Filho 100% Pro Bono and Civil Society Organizations, Social Business & Human Rights

From Brazil to Ireland: an international voice for human rights and access to justice

Throughout our journey, we have always pushed for broad and democratic access to justice and a focus on human rights. The pioneering work of the Mattos Filho 100% Pro Bono practice also positions us as leaders in the debate on these topics.

In October 2022, we coordinated the participation of Latin American institutions in the Public Interest Law Network Forum (PilNet), held in Dublin, Ireland. We were responsible for leading and presenting the session "Every Stakeholder at the Table: Pro Bono Impact in Latin America" – an opportunity to address the challenges and advancements of pro bono legal work in the region. Our participation reinforced Mattos Filho's presence in international forums discussing public interest law.

Public content for social transformation

We believe our professionals’ knowledge and insights should be made publicly available in support of institutions and human rights advocates. In 2022, our 100% Pro Bono practice released the second edition of its book Human Rights in Evidence, a compilation of legal opinions and theses developed over the previous two years, covering areas such as women's rights, anti-discrimination law, prerogatives for lawyers, and public security.

Human Rights in Evidence Vol. 2

"As well as making us more aware of our role as legal professionals, our pro bono area’s pioneering efforts and the continuous improvement of the firm’s human rights have positioned Mattos Filho as a leader in these areas. We are constantly sought after by partner organizations and even other law firms to share our experience, inspiring people to follow the same path. It is a great responsibility."

Bianca dos Santos Waks
Coordinating Lawyer – Mattos Filho 100% Pro Bono

A focus on equality

In 2022, Mattos Filho’s Diversity & Inclusion Program added ‘Equity’ to its name (DE&I), reflecting our focus on identifying solutions by carefully examining inequality among different groups and individuals. We offer a series of initiatives to accelerate career progression for specific groups based on the assumption that not everyone has equal access to education or opportunities.

"Companies often talk about including and retaining diverse talent, but inclusion and retention are not objectives in and of themselves. For us, the goal is to ensure that this talent develops, grows, reaches leadership positions, and inspires others. This is the path to strengthen our culture and build Mattos Filho's legacy. By looking at individuals and their specific characteristics, and considering intersectionality, we can promote equity effectively and move closer to true equality more quickly. I believe that by caring for each individual talent and for our work environment as a whole, we drive the growth of the firm and its ability to sustain itself long-term."

Laura Davis Mattar
Manager – Corporate Citizenship

One of the issues addressed under the theme of equity was promoting a sense of belonging. This included actions to welcome marginalized groups and raise awareness among leaders, managers, and allies in regard to dealing with differences and leveraging them to boost professional development. The firm’s Organizational Development area conducted training on harassment and unconscious bias to facilitate fair decision-making. The participation of the firm’s leaders in these training sessions was obligatory, as we believe tackling these two topics is crucial for creating an even more respectful, fair, and integrated work environment – one focused on developing people and our ability to lead transformation.

"Companies often talk about including and retaining diverse talent, but inclusion and retention are not objectives in and of themselves. For us, the goal is to ensure that this talent develops, grows, reaches leadership positions, and inspires others. This is the path to strengthen our culture and build Mattos Filho's legacy. By looking at individuals and their specific characteristics, and considering intersectionality, we can promote equity effectively and move closer to true equality more quickly. I believe that by caring for each individual talent and for our work environment as a whole, we drive the growth of the firm and its ability to sustain itself long-term."

Laura Davis Mattar
Manager – Corporate Citizenship

"We constantly reinforce a culture of respect within the firm, open communication channels, and encourage professionals to exchange perspectives. We step out of our bubble. We create ways to engage and correct what is necessary. We build paths and encourage professionals to embrace the cause and spread the message. Diversity is so important to Mattos Filho that it is factored into our partners’ performance evaluations, in terms of how they perceive and realize the firm's potential for diversity."

Renata Correia Cubas
Partner and Sponsor of the firm's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program

Diversity attracts diversity

In 2021, we conducted an exercise to understand how diversity was reflected within the firm’s different practices. The study involved conversations with partners and groups at all professional levels. Based on the information, we established goals to standardize our view of the subject so each area could progress in relation to diversity in 2022.

This commitment to diversity has turned the firm into a point of reference even beyond the legal sector. Clients approach us as a unique player in the market who can help them think and implement diversity programs that take the context in which they operate into account. As such, we have been able to support clients in achieving their own diversity and inclusion objectives as well.

Our DE&I program is run by the firm's Corporate Citizenship area and is based on five pillars – gender equity, LGBTQIAPN+ rights, racial equity, rights of people with disabilities, and religious freedom. Through the program’s initiatives, we engage our professionals and aim to inspire the market.

See some of the highlights of our affinity groups’ work in 2022:


In June – LGBTQIAPN+ Pride Month – we invited Miguel Mesquita, a human rights expert from the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, to discuss the advances and challenges for this group in Latin America. During the same month, our lawyers and interns assisted the transgender population in clarifying their doubts about name and gender rectification in a special action at the fifth edition of the São Paulo Trans Pride March.

Gender Equity

We signed the commitment letter of the She Leads 2030 Movement, a UN Global Compact Network Brazil and UN Women initiative for promoting gender parity in companies’ senior leadership positions. The firm’s 4Women affinity group – focused on women’s career development – released an infographic titled Mulheres em Conselho de Administração (Women on Boards) to increase the visibility of the benefits of including women in these spaces. Meanwhile, our EmFamília affinity group conducted the second edition of a survey to understand perceptions and experiences of parents in the workplace.

Racial Equity

Reinforcing our commitment to confronting and tackling structural racism both in the legal market and in society, we expanded Soma Talentos, our affirmative action program directed at boosting hires of black professionals. For the first time, 2022 focused not only on hiring interns but also qualified lawyers to increase black representation higher up the corporate chain.

The firm’s affinity group in this area, Soma, also published an infographic on a landmark Federal Supreme Court (STF) ruling that officially deems racial insults as a type of racism and, therefore, a non-prescriptive and non-bailable crime in Brazil. This material has been an important factor in people unfamiliar with technical legal language obtaining a better understanding of the law and their rights, encouraging awareness of important issues to construct a fairer and more equal society.

Rights of People with Disabilities

The main initiative in this area in 2022 concerned the consolidation of a multidisciplinary team with professionals from the firm’s various administrative areas, which sought to improve the experience of professionals with disabilities – ensuring greater accessibility, effective inclusion, and opportunities and pathways for career progression. Furthermore, a series of discussions were conducted with professionals with disabilities at the firm, who shared their day-to-day and career challenges. This contributed to constructing a support network that promotes self-esteem both inside and outside the workplace.

Religious Freedom

We continued to promote the practice of our religious freedom policy, assisting professionals of different beliefs in reconciling their work routines with the traditions of their faiths. Among other initiatives, we prepare commemorative e-cards so that our religious professionals can send their communities good wishes on the key dates of their respective religions.

Mova: volunteering that brings people together

Mova, our corporate volunteering program, promotes the engagement of professionals in initiatives with proven social impact. In the year we returned to the office after working 100% remotely during the pandemic, one of 2022’s major highlights was the resumption of in-person volunteering actions.

In total, 20 partners and 634 professionals took part in both in-person and remote actions, benefiting several different Brazilian regions. Professionals representing different practices, departments, and levels within the firm worked together on important causes. We conducted book donation and blood donation campaigns for riverside communities in the Brazilian Amazon, collected food baskets for over 1,700 families experiencing hunger or food insecurity, and collected donations of formal clothing for scholarship recipients in law courses supported by Instituto Mattos Filho.

Even with the pandemic gradually subsiding, Mova has kept its Digital Social Academy – its main legacy from the period – running. Through the academy, professionals from across the firm offer a ‘menu’ of webinars to people supported by our partner organizations. The webinars cover various topics, including legal matters, technical and behavioral skills, and cultural considerations.

Sponsored Projects in 2022

Whenever possible, the projects we select to fund through fiscal incentives are aligned with the goals of our DE&I Program and the Mattos Filho 100% Pro Bono practice. One of the highlights in 2022 was the sponsorship of the artist Abdias Nascimento's solo exhibition at the São Paulo Museum of Art (Masp) and guided tours at São Paulo’s AfroBrasil Emanoel Araújo Museum. Also noteworthy were Adriana Varejão's exhibition at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo gallery and an exhibition on Brazil’s indigenous languages at the Museum of the Portuguese Language.

As part of our efforts to expand the impact of our initiatives, we organized for students from the Lasar Segall Public School to visit the Museum of the Portuguese Language. Mattos Filho adopted began to sponsor the school in 2019 through an institution known as Parceiros da Educação (Partners in Education).

"One of the most important aspects of Mattos Filho's relationship with partner institutions is our genuine desire to make effective contributions in the long term, creating relationships, strengthening ties, opening doors, and connecting different people and sources of knowledge. I believe this movement allows Mattos Filho's social ecosystem to make a greater social impact,” commented Laura Davis Mattar.

Discover the social and cultural projects we supported in 2022 through Brazil’s fiscal incentive laws:

Cultural Incentive Law

Osesp – São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra Foundation
Pina – São Paulo State Pinacoteca
Masp – São Paulo Museum of Art Assis Chateaubriand
Museum of the Portuguese Language
MAM RJ – Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art
São Paulo Biennial
AfroBrasil Museum
Holocaust Victims Memorial

Sports Incentive Law

Instituto Superação
Luta pela Paz
Futebol de Rua

Child & Adolescent Rights Incentive Law

Gol de Letra Foundation
Santo Agostinho Association
Reciclar Institute
Israelite Center for Multidisciplinary Support

Elderly Incentive Law

Hospital de Amor
Hospital Angelina Caron

PRONAS (National Healthcare Support Program for People with Disabilities)

Olga Kos

Pioneers in the Sustainability Agenda

After conducting our first two greenhouse gas emission assessments for 2019 and 2020, in 2022, we continued with a third analysis of our 2021 emissions. Based on the three assessments and following the guidelines of the Global Compact Business Ambition 1.5ºC initiative, we are developing an action plan to achieve net-zero emissions across all three of its scopes by 2050 through emission reduction measures and, when necessary, offsetting.

As part of this commitment, we are the only law firm in Latin America that is part of the Net Zero Lawyers Alliance, which brings together international firms with the same goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The alliance exchanges strategies on how to reach this goal, as well as how to train professionals and provide legal assistance to clients in building a viable path toward a low-carbon economy.

Instituto Mattos Filho aims to promote law and strengthen access to justice, to generate positive long-term social impacts that contribute to a freer, more diverse, and more democratic society. Established in 2018, the institute is fully independent of the law firm and is funded by its partners. Its core principles include promoting access to justice, together with the Mattos Filho 100% Pro Bono practice, providing scholarships and mentorship programs for law students, disseminating legal knowledge, and financing initiatives that promote diversity and civic responsibility.

In 2022, Instituto Mattos Filho conducted its first census to better understand the profile of its scholarship recipients, mostly women and people of African descent. The fourth edition of the institute’s Access to Justice Challenge distributed BRL 190,000 among four organizations to identify, recognize, and reward initiatives dedicated to advancing this theme in Brazil. Furthermore, the institute’s Equidade (Equity) project, conducted in partnership with the organization Politize!, translates human rights and legal protection systems into simple language for the general public. So far, this project has reached over one million people.

Featured in
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Bianca dos Santos Waks
Coordinating Lawyer – Mattos Filho 100% Pro Bono
Flavia Regina Oliveira
Partner – Mattos Filho 100% Pro Bono and Civil Society Organizations, Social Business & Human Rights
Laura Davis Mattar
Manager – Corporate Citizenship
Renata Correia Cubas
Partner and Sponsor – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program