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International firms have had mixed success in Italy, especially when it comes to approaching corporate clients with long-established links to traditional domestic firms.
But this month US firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and Allen & Overy (A&O) have both launched attacks on the market in a bid to make the most of the resurgence in corporate activity in Italy. Orrick launched its corporate practice in Rome, snapping up corporate boutique Tantalo & Associati. Meanwhile, A&O bagged young M&A star Giovanni Gazzaniga from Gianni Origoni Grippo & Partners.
The chance to work on bigger, multinational deals is helping to lure Italian talent to the larger firms and plans to expand further into corporate should keep them there.
A&O's managing partner for Italy Massimiliano Danusso said: "Certainly in the past six months the market's shown signs of recovery, so this [demand for corporate lawyers] is a consequence.
"There could be an additional lateral by the end of the year."
New A&O arrival Gazzaniga said: "I spent 11 years at Gianni Origoni and the reasons for my decision to leave are various. Although Gianni Origoni is one of the best for corporate in Italy, there's a limit in terms of its international perspective."
Tantalo managing partner Pietro Tantalo joined Orrick as head of the Italian corporate practice, bringing with him a team of five associates.
Orrick Rome managing partner Patrizio Messina told The Lawyer: "He's a well-known lawyer in the Rome corporate finance and private equity market.
"At the moment our plan is to increase the corporate department in Rome and in the rest of Italy ."
Tantalo is working on the privatisation of the state broadcasting company RAI and will take that work with him to Orrick.