Clifford Chance is still struggling to sign off a cooperation agreement on the exit of disgruntled Italian partners over issues including the ownership of its Rome premises
As many as five Italian partners and a total of 20 lawyers are likely to quit the firm as Clifford Chance seeks to bring the faction-ridden Italian practice in line with the rest of the partnership. Among the stumbling blocks to an exit agreement, The Lawyer understands that the lease to the Rome office is owned by one or more of the partners who are set on quitting the worldwide partnership. As a result, remaining partners could find themselves in the bizarre position of facing eviction from their Rome premises. However, Clifford Chance's management is hoping to sign a cooperation agreement to manage the exit of senior partner Vittorio Grimaldi, who is expected to retire from practice, and partners Roberto Capelli and Francesco Novelli, who plan to set up a new practice. According to reports in the Italian press, litigation partner Valerio di Gravio and corporate partner Alberto Dubini are also among those planning to leave and set up independently of Clifford Chance. They are disgruntled over plans to introduce a managing partner and believe they could earn more outside the Clifford Chance lockstep system.