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Simmons & Simmons' Italian practice has lost an equity partner and 10 other lawyers to Linklaters & Alliance member Gianni Origoni & Partners following management restructuring at Simmons aimed at making it more democratic.
Corporate partner Stefano Speroni leaves with of counsel Eugenio Grippo, as well as Andrea Giannelli, eight other lawyers and four trainees.
Grippo co-founded the firm, which merged with Simmons to form Simmons & Simmons Grippo in 1997. He took on the role of senior partner, but did not join the firm's equity system. A source at the firm says: "It wasn't an option. He founded the firm with Stefano when they joined, but you can't just slot Eugenio into our partnership. We're a modern, democratic firm and we run things our way. Eugenio comes from a more traditional background."
The management structure of the Italian practice was changed three months ago, when equity partners Marco Franzini and Antonio Di Pasquale were elected to take on new positions, heading the Milan and Rome offices respectively.
Simmons senior partner Bill Knight says: "The Italian partners agreed that that was the best way to run the firm, which is moving on in Italy. We started by absorbing Eugenio's firm. There was a question of what his role should be, and he wanted a slightly different role to the one we could offer him.
"He feels that Gianni Origoni will give him a bigger part to play than we would. As a result, we've lost him and a few others because he was the founder of the firm in Italy."
The departures leave the practice with eight equity partners and around 60 other lawyers.