CSFB launches Italian legal desk

Baker & McKenzie is losing one of its finance partners to client Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) as the bank sets up an Italian legal desk.

Baker & McKenzie finance partner Raffaele Rizzi, who specialises in banking deals for the firm’s Italian clients, will be head of Italian legal affairs at CSFB in London.

He says that CSFB is the first bank to set up such a role in London, and says he is moving for the new challenge.

Rizzi says: “I’ve been at Baker & McKenzie since 1993, and CSFB has always been a major client of mine. I’ve been working with them since joining the firm, and this is a new role. I’m responsible for supervising the Italian related legal issues, not for a specific department but for all the groups.”

He says his work will involve a lot of securitisation, M&A and initial public offerings.

At Baker & McKenzie Rizzi acted for clients including ABN Amro Bank, Barclays and HSBC.

Earlier this year, he jointly led a deal with head of the banking and finance practice in London Chris Hogan, acting as international and Italian counsel to WestLB. The client was the arranger of a £72.8m securitisation of Italian lease receivables by Landes.

His departure leaves the firm with seven banking and finance partners covering project finance work, acquisition finance and structured finance, including derivatives and securitisation.

Other clients of the practice include Standard Bank, Crédit Lyonnais, the Bank of Scotland and Dresdner Kleinwort Benson.

Hogan says: “You always have mixed feelings when you have had someone with you for a long time but I think all things considered it was a good move for him and it was a good move for us.”

He says CSFB is still instructing the firm on Italian matters. The bank also uses Clifford Chance, Allen & Overy and Linklaters & Alliance among others for external legal advice.

Hogan says the London office is in discussions with the firm’s Rome and Milan offices with a view to sending over another lawyer as a replacement for Rizzi. Baker & McKenzie’s City finance practice boasts a number of lawyers sent in from across the network and most of the work is multi-jurisdictional.