At the start of 2020, many industry observers believed Brazil would carry the weight for legal work in Latin America, as the region’s biggest economy does most years, in part because prospects have dimmed for the region’s second-biggest economy, Mexico, amid flagging confidence in the country’s leadership.

Then came COVID-19. The region as a whole has been hard-hit by the pandemic, representing about a quarter of new infections worldwide over the summer. Brazil and Mexico, where presidents have taken a laissez-faire approach to stifling the virus, account for the lion’s share of those infections.