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Alliance with NY giant Skadden sparks stateside office for Italian law practice
Italian firm Studio Legale Chiomenti is to launch a New York office to further strengthen its new exclusive alliance with US giant Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. The new office will be independent from Skadden and will practise only Italian law. Chiomenti partner Vitt-orio Tadei said the signing of the new joint venture referral agreement with Skadden in June had triggered the decision. "We've been thinking about opening in New York for a few years and we have now taken the decision to proceed in the next few months. One of the reasons is that we now have this alliance with Skadden. That is the primary reason to open an office in New York. "Certainly we would have done it anyway, but the alliance puts it into a different perspective. "We have had relationships with US clients for years. We assist US clients in Italy and we want to be closer to them. We opened in London in 1993 for the same reason. The alliance with Skadden gives us an additional reason to be there. It will certainly strengthen the tie as well as our relationship with our clients in the US." Chiomenti is now in the process of identifying which lawyers will relocate to New York and where the office will be located. The firm does not plan to open within Skadden's New York premises. Tadei said: "It will be an office with experienced lawyers. We will send at least four people initially." The group will include a tax lawyer to complement the office's focus on corporate, M&A and banking. Skadden's London managing partner Bruce Buck said the move would increase contacts between the two firms and improve the alliance. "They've been thinking about it for a long time. The fact that we now have the alliance makes them think this is the right time," he said. Buck said the launch of a New York Chiomenti office had not formed part of the alliance deal. "We knew during the discussions about the alliance that Chiomenti was considering this. We didn't say anything either way, but after we entered into the alliance we wholeheartedly supported the idea. "We will definitely do some cross-marketing there to Skadden clients. We will be trying to look for new opportunities, pitching to people who are clients for neither firm. Chiomenti also has some clients in New York which we don't do work for." Buck said investment banks and commercial banks would be key targets for cross-marketing. Few Italian firms currently have a New York presence, with Linklaters & Alliance member Gianni Origoni Grippo & Partners being the most established in the US.