Meet Mateus Costa-Ribeiro: The 21-Year-Old Brazilian Man Who Is One Of The Youngest To Be Admitted To The New York State Bar In Decades

Photo Credit: Mateus Costa-Ribeiro

21-year-old Mateus Costa-Ribeiro has become one of the youngest people to be admitted as a member of the New York state bar in decades.

Not only did the academic finish his high school exams at the age of 14, he also won a case at Brazil’s highest court when he was just a teenager!

Here’s his story.

Mateus Costa-Ribeiro grew up in Brazil’s capital Brasília. His interest in law began when his older sister was taking the admissions exam for law. 13-year-old Mateus was then encouraged by his father, who is also a lawyer, to take the exam too and at 13-years-old he did just that! Passing the law test at such a young age, he still had years to complete at his High School. Despite this, he was able to convince a judge to let him take his final High School exams at just 14-years-old.

After 4-years, Mateus then graduated from law school and at 18-years-old, he won a case at Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court. He argued that ‘a state’s law regarding personal searches of employees was unconstitutional because labor law in Brazil is set by the federal government.’

Justice Luís Roberto Barroso, from the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil, said: “Everything with him was very, very precocious. He showed empathy and that’s a talent different from knowledge.”

Photo Credit: Supreme Federal Court of Brazil / 18-year-old Mateus Costa-Ribeiro at the Brazilian Supreme Court in 2018

After his win, he began a master of laws one-year program at Harvard Law School due to his desire to practice in the U.S. It wasn’t always easy for Mateus however. He often couldn’t participate in social activities such as events, due to being under the US legal age of 21.

To become a lawyer New York, one must be at least 21-years-old to take the bar exam. However, the Brazilian was only 19-years-old!

This didn’t stop the destined lawyer, Mateus Costa-Ribeiro was allowed to take the bar exam after he petitioned the New York State Court of Appeals … and of course, he passed!

The lawyer is now working at a top New York firm, Milbank LLP. Working as part of the Global Capital Markets team, Costa-Ribeiro represents Brazilian companies in the United States financial market.

The beginning of Mateus Costa-Ribeiro’s Instagram caption can be translated as: “Now it’s official! Today I became a lawyer in New York, in the United States. Looking forward to saying ‘I object, your Honor !!’ a day in court.”

An amazing story that provides proof that one is never too young to chase after their dreams and goals!