`NCTM was formed just 18 months ago when Negri-Clementi Montironi e Soci merged with Toffoletto. At that time, the employment expertise which Tofolletto brought to the firm was seen as a major strength of the merger.`But employment partner Franco Toffoletto, who is leading the breakaway employment team, said that his practice needs to operate as a niche firm in order to meet client demand for increasingly specialised services and expertise in European legislation.`”I felt it would be better to follow Ius Laboris rather than going ahead with a firm that offers a mixture of services,” he said.`Rowe & Maw and Dutch firm Loyens & Loeff are now the only non-niche firms within the Ius Laboris referral group, which has nine members. Headquartered in Brussels, the alliance was launched in January this year to undertake joint marketing and training initiatives and joint presentations to clients, as well as client referrals. It does not share fees.`Toffoletto said that the demerger was also necessary to avoid client conflicts and to leave NCTM free to pursue international alliances and partnerships without conflicting with the firm’s role in the Ius Laboris alliance. “The rest of the firm might want to join an alliance with other law firms,” he said. “Any kind of alliance is based on the exclusivity of its links.”`NCTM had an association with Ashurst Morris Crisp until the UK firm launched its own Italian operation in Milan in April 2000.`Toffoletto has taken 20 NCTM employment and labour lawyers with him to set up the new firm, called Toffoletto e Soci.`The rest of NCTM will focus on its core business areas of banking, M&A, initial public offering, antitrust and commercial law. Alberto Toffoletto and his team of corporate and antitrust law specialists will remain with the firm.`NCTM will cooperate with Toffoletto e Soci on a preferential basis on employment matters and the new firm’s lawyers will operate out of NCTM’s Rome, Verona and Vicenza offices.