Clifford Chance is sending out a clear signal of its commitment to Italy post-Grimaldi by hiring the partner in charge of Carnelutti's Padua office and four other lawyers.
As first revealed on www.thelawyer.com (5 November), corporate partner Oliviero Pessi brings clients including insurance giant Assicurazioni Generali and major exhibition centre Padova Fiere. The haul of four other lawyers includes Carnelutti's Padua head of litigation Stefano Armellini.
Clifford Chance currently has only one partner in Padua, corporate and commercial lawyer Gianandrea Rizzieri. It will now have around 18 lawyers in the city.
The Padua office was not part of Carnelutti's merger deal with McDermott Will & Emery, announced in September, and is set to dissolve on 1 January. Carnelutti managing partner Luca Arnaboldi told The Lawyer at the time: "We decided with McDermott that it wasn't strategic for an international network of offices to have a presence in Padua."
However, Clifford Chance is seeking to capitalise on the presence of international businesses such as Luxottica, Benetton, Diesel, Stefanel and DeLonghi in North East Italy. A number of investment funds and banks have also invested in Padua recently and the region is seen as an entry point to Eastern Europe.
Clifford Chance's existing client portfolio in Padua includes Stefanel, regional banks Banca Antonveneta and Banca Popolare Vicen-tina, retailer PAM and steel company Acciaierie Venete.
The additions in Padua mark a positive step for Clifford Chance after it lost senior partner Vittorio Grimaldi, four other partners and 26 lawyers last year. Grimaldi relaunched his own firm with the group.