EY Italian overhaul forces mass exodus and closures

EY Law Italy is in the final throes of a strategic review, which has seen several offices close, up to 50 lawyers depart and the realignment of key practice areas.

The firm is set to close its single-partner Naples employment practice, after already winding up operations in Treviso and Genoa earlier this year.

At the same time, EY Law’s former head of banking Corrado Verna is leaving to set up his own practice, while Bologna-based partner Sante Ricci has left to take up a senior post at Italian car-maker Fiat.

It is understood that the prohibition on advising audit clients was behind Verna’s decision to leave. EY Law and Verna will maintain a referral relationship.

The departures coincide with the resignation of EY Law Italy’s former head of energy Francesco Cerasi, who left the firm with an associate for DLA, as revealed in The Lawyer (26 July).

Cerasi was appointed co-managing partner of DLA’s new Rome office with co-leader Roberto Pera who, with Fabrizio Morelli and Fabio De Paolis, joined the UK firm from Italian independent Pera Morelli De Paolis & Associati.

EY Law’s Italian practice is going through a period of strategic review. Managing partner Francesco Marotta instigated an overhaul in 2002 in response to regulatory changes brought about by Sarbanes-Oxley.

Marotta is streamlining the Italian practice through the closure of peripheral offices and discussions with underperforming partners.
The accountancy-tied firm will also refocus on core practice areas in which the possibility for conflicts is limited, including corporate, real estate, public law and regulatory law.