A&O raids local rivals to firm up in Italy

Allen & Overy‘s (A&O) troubled Italian operation has raided independents Gianni Origoni Grippo and Ripa di Meana LC to make two corporate hires.

A former protégé of name partner Franco Bonelli at Bonelli Erede Pappalardo, Paolo Ghiglione, will join A&O’s Milan office next week as a senior corporate associate. After seven years at Bonelli, Ghiglione joined boutique firm Ripa di Meana LC, the result of a 2006 merger between Ripa di Meana and Lega Colucci, which was founded by former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Italian managing partner Giovanni Lega.

Meanwhile, A&O is also taking on Gerardo Gabrielli from Gianni Origoni, Linklaters‘ former ally in the peninsula. He joins as a corporate trainee.

The hires push A&O’s corporate capability in Italy to 40, including seven partners.

The magic circle firm has had its troubles in Italy over the past 12 months. It closed its Turin office in October 2006 – although it still maintains friendly relations with the spin-off Pavesio e Associati.

Then in 2007, Italian head of banking Giancarlo Castorino left for boutique MBL & Partners, while banking partner Davide Mencacci went to Linklaters, taking two associates with him.