Freshfields' and Clifford Chance's Milan offices are fighting head to head in the battle to take over Italy's third largest insurance company.
Until recently Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni SpA (INA) was in friendly merger talks with Turin-based banking group San Paolo, represented by Clifford Chance.
However, Italy's largest insurance company Assicurazioni Generali, advised by Freshfields, scuppered San Paolo's plans by launching a $12.5bn (£7.8bn) hostile bid for INA.
It is understood that San Paolo is now considering a counter bid.
Clifford Chance is also advising San Paolo's banker Banco-IMI, since according to its Milan managing partner Nick Wrigley the firm's Italian merger partner Grimaldi has acted for it for "donkey's years" .
The Clifford Chance team includes Roberto Capelli, Balerio Di Gravio and Gianluca Rabbitti.
INA is being advised by Chiomenti Studio Legale, supported by the former president of Telecom Italia, Bernardino Libonati, on the anti-trust work.