Slaughter and May's Italian best friend Bonelli Erede Pappalardo is in expansionist mode at its new London office
The firm is branching out from its structured finance base and plans to add a traditional banking, corporate finance and M&A capability.
Bonelli wants to capitalise on major corporate law reforms in Italy, which will become effective in 2004, and the changing regulatory environment for banks.
Bonelli has just moved into its first permanent office in the City at 9 Ironmonger Lane. It opened a temporary office on Throgmorton Street in December 2001 after hiring partner Alberto Del Din from Clifford Chance's London Italian desk. Del Din joined Bonelli along with Milan-based Clifford Chance partner Paolo Oliviero to build a structured finance practice for the firm.
Bonelli now plans to add a second resident London partner alongside Del Din by relocating a member of its Italian corporate finance practice, while a third partner will split his time between Italy and the UK. The firm has also hired an associate from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and expects to grow the office considerably from its current eight lawyers.
Bonelli partner Alberto Saravalle said: "Our new office gives us the opportunity to develop our London practice into new areas. We want to be able to offer sophisticated regulatory advice to the banks and other institutions, and perhaps in due course to have M&A and corporate finance lawyers in London supported by Milan and Rome."
As well as Slaughters, Bonelli works with US firms that include Shearman & Sterling and Cravath Swaine & Moore. The firm has a German law capability in Italy and is considering adding a South American desk.