PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has launched a combined tax and legal firm in Italy, raiding former network firm Pirola Pennuto Zei & Associati for eight partners and 80 lawyers.
Pirola Pennuto Zei & Associati will continue to work with PwC but on a reduced basis, whereas the new name for PwC’s legal arm in Italy will become Studio TLS. Pirola is left with 18 partners and 250 lawyers.
Studio TLS stands for Tax and Legal Services. It has launched with eight partners and 130 lawyers in total. The rest of the professionals come from PwC and other firms.
Pirola Pennuto Zei has lost partners Gaetano Arnò, Luca Barbera, Franco Boga, Fabrizio Acerbis, Gianni Colucci, Nicola Broggi, Giorgio De Pace, and Domenico Coldani.
Gaetano Arnò said: “We believe that the future of the profession is not in small, national boutique firms but in big international networks based on a multidisciplinary approach.”
Studio TLS is aiming to provide a full service corporate and commercial legal practice with offices in Milan and Rome.
The new firm aims to exploit client relationships with companies, banks and financial institutions that use PwC services but are not audited by the accounting firm.
“At the moment we have our own clients,” said Arnò, “but our goal is to use a relationship with the PwC network to have a relationship with other clients.”
Under EU regulations, PwC cannot give legal advice to audit clients.
Arnò said the firm will expand rapidly, and has a budget to employ a total of 200 people by the end of July next year.
A three-partner management committee sets the strategic direction for Studio TLS, comprised of Arnò, Domenico Coldani and Luca Barbera.
Pirola Pennuto Zei declined to comment.