Glória Bezerra de Menezes is a Brazilian and European lawyer, having completed her college in 2004 in Brazil, she graduated in International Business Law and International Business Management from the University of Rostock and, at that University, started her Ph.D. in the same area. Since 2007, Glória has lived in Germany, where she had the opportunity to grow professionally, opening the first Brazilian legal firm of lawyers in the country, which is different from Brazil, where there are no law firms, only law firms.
In Germany, she is known as the best Brazilian lawyer, serving clients throughout Europe and in countries around the world. In addition to his legal firm, in which three more lawyers and a public administrator work, Glória also has another company in Germany – together with a partner – that offers recruitment of Brazilian professionals in the country, offering courses in language, assistance in the recognition of the diploma and legal advice in obtaining a work visa. The lawyer still works as a sworn translator and public interpreter.
Glória is married to a German, has four children – aged between two and thirteen years – and some dreams: helping Brazilians to fulfill their dream of living and working in Germany, in addition to supporting Brazilian women in Germany so that they can establish themselves in the country and obtain its financial independence. She already works with some social projects that help women victims of domestic violence and, this year, she will create the first non-profit organization focused on offering housing, a German course, technical courses, social and legal assistance for Brazilian women who migrated country and, for some reason, are alone and in need of support.
IBI interviewed the lawyer, who better explains the challenges she faced in her career and the importance of her work for Europe and Brazil.
1. What were your motivations for entering Germany and working with clients across Europe and other countries?
Throughout my study at college, I worked with some social projects that aimed to spread information about rights to people who lived in the community where I lived and studied. I have always believed that for human beings to be able to fight for their goals and dreams, they need to know their rights. At the end of my law course, I did a final work in the area of international law, as it was always my intention to live and work in Germany. When I decided to go to Germany in 2006, I had the dream of doing a postgraduate course at a university there and having the chance to work as a lawyer in the country. That was how I started to work as a Brazilian lawyer in Germany and continued with my legal advice for my clients in Brazil, mainly businessmen, who had the objective of undertaking in Germany. Over the years, I realized that many Brazilians had the dream of undertaking abroad and that many clients asked for information on how to undertake in Germany. In addition to these clients, some Brazilian clients already lived in Germany and Europe and had many doubts about their rights and felt unprotected because they did not speak German and had no knowledge of their rights in Germany and Europe. Thus, I decided to take a Master’s degree in the area of international business law and international business management, at the University of Rostock, and, in 2011, I concluded successfully. In this way, I obtained the theoretical knowledge I needed to be able to legally guide my clients in Germany, and the success of my work made it possible for me to start having clients in several other countries in Europe, as well as in other continents. In 2018 my expansion project was increasing and I partnered with a renowned office with strong experience in the market in the city of Lisbon, in Portugal. Therefore, I registered as a Brazilian lawyer with the Bar Association in Lisbon and started working in Germany and throughout Europe as a European lawyer, since I am registered in Portugal, which is part of the European Union and, thus, allows the Brazilian lawyer can work as a European lawyer in Europe. I have always been concerned with improving my legal knowledge and, therefore, I am always updating and improving my knowledge to offer the best possible legal advice to my clients. I am currently pursuing a second master’s degree in succession law and business succession law. I have already completed a specialization in labor law and data protection law in Germany. The need for legally qualified professionals to meet the needs of clients across Europe and other countries in the world, motivated me to strive to achieve a promising and successful space in my career. In 2020, in the period of the Coronavirus pandemic crisis in Germany, which hit several entrepreneurs and caused the closure of many companies in the country, I decided to open my legal company: O-Ziel Consulting Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft, in Germany. The name of the company: O-Ziel, is the short form for Orientiert Zum Ziel, which in English means: Oriented towards the goal. And my goal is to offer legal advice to my clients with competence, respect, and professionalism. And that is the recipe for my success.
2. How important is it to you to have a team of women in your office?
In my legal firm, I have a team of lawyers, which is composed of women. In my opinion, it is important for women to fight for their space in the business market and for them to achieve their space of equality with men.
3. Tell us more about how the process of recruiting Brazilian professionals to work in Germany works.
The process of recruiting Brazilian professionals to work in Germany is not difficult. It is important that the Brazilian professional is only well guided by law so that he can achieve his goal. Germany has a great shortage of highly qualified professionals. In this way, engineers, IT professionals, doctors, dentists, nurses, professionals in the technical area, whether in the electronic, mechanical, and other sectors are always in demand. Those who work in the computer area do not need to master the German language, as many companies only require English to work. These people will be able to look for a job vacancy in Germany and apply for a work visa. The most suitable work visa is the “Blue Card”, as the professional will receive more rights in Germany. To receive this visa, the professional must have a university degree and a job offer in Germany, in which he must receive at least 56,800 euros per year. In some professions that are in short supply in Germany, such as doctors, engineers, scientists, mathematicians, dentists, or in the field of computers, the professional will need to find a job that offers a salary of at least 44,304 thousand euros per year. For professionals who need the German language to work in Germany, I recommend learning German beforehand in Brazil to receive a chance to work in Germany. For professionals who have the financial availability to learn German in Germany, I would recommend learning German directly in Germany, as in six months of intensive German course in Germany it is possible to acquire the basic level of German (between B1-B2) to be able to work in Germany. And that way, the professional will have a better chance of getting a job in Germany more quickly.
There are professions in Brazil that are not recognized in Germany and, therefore, it is necessary to recognize the Brazilian Diploma in Germany. The professional must be informed beforehand. But IT professionals do not need to recognize the Diploma to work in Germany, as do lawyers. But medical and dental professionals need a longer process to be able to work in Germany. Engineers and technical professionals and scientists get a chance to work faster in Germany and the Diploma recognition process is simpler.
4. How do you feel that your work as a translator and interpreter influences your other professional areas?
My work as a sworn translator and public interpreter has helped and helps a lot in my career as a lawyer. When I need to work as a sworn public translator and I need, for example, to translate a public sentence, the fact that I have legal knowledge makes it easier for me to better understand legal texts and, thus, translate documents more quickly and effectively. And when I need to work as an interpreter for a client, during a hearing, for example, or before public authorities, the fact that I am a lawyer allows me to help the client effectively, by understanding the questions of the judges more clearly or the authorities and, thus, I get my clients to respond more safely to inquiries. But when I work in a legal case with a client and this client needs a sworn public translation of a public document that will be fundamental to the case, I always ask the client to translate the document with another sworn public translator, so that there is no conflict of interests.
5. What care do you provide through social projects to women victims of domestic violence in Germany?
Unfortunately, many women are victims of domestic violence in Germany and not only foreign women are the victims, but German women as well. According to surveys, one in three women in Germany has been victims of domestic violence at least once in Germany, whether physical or psychological. Some projects in Germany significantly help women and I actively participate in some of them. And because I got to know the difficulties that Brazilian women face here in Germany, because they don’t speak the German language (most of the time), that’s what motivated me to create my project. I will found a non-profit association, to provide legal, psychological, and social services to Brazilians in Germany. It will be a project that will benefit not only women victims of domestic violence, but all those who need help in the areas: legal, social, or psychological, whether women or men.
6. Bearing in mind that Germany is a country with a more rigorous visa withdrawal process, how does the process of helping Brazilian professionals start a professional life in the country work?
Through the legal guidance of my company, we offer support to provide legal advice from the beginning of the process to live in Germany. For example, when the client is still living in Brazil and has received a job offer in Germany and, consequently, an employment contract, our company offers legal guidance to analyze whether the contract is following the laws in Germany. Unfortunately, there are many cases of customers who receive unfair contracts and who violate their rights. From the moment we analyze the client’s contract and the client accepts the job vacancy in Germany, we offer legal advice to apply for a work visa before the German Consulate in Brazil. And when the customer arrives in Germany, we provide legal advice on the apartment rental contract, as in several other contracts that are mandatory in Germany, such as health insurance, liability insurance, among others.
7. As it is important for you to value women in the job market and also in your personal lives, where do you see yourself as an entrepreneurial woman in the next five years?
My dream is to expand my company to other cities in Germany and, later, to other countries in Europe. Soon my company will have a branch in Berlin and Munich and, later, it will have a branch in Portugal. I have the dream of owning a company that allows me to offer job opportunities to Brazilian lawyers who want to work in Germany. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for a Brazilian lawyer to have a good job opportunity in Germany, to get a good job chance he needs to graduate in Germany, have a command of the German and English languages, in addition to having some specific knowledge that office in Germany requires you to fill a specific vacancy. In my company, I will give job opportunities to lawyers who want a chance in the German job market.