Leading Italian transactional boutique Labruna Mazziotti Segni has lured litigation and arbitration partner Enrico Zattoni from Pedersoli & Associati.
The news highlights the amount of partner movement between Italian firms at the moment, sparked by the market slowdown.
Pedersoli has also lost tax head Alfredo Malguzzi and tax partner Enrico Cossa, who left to set up their own tax boutique – a loss of three out of 13 equity partners.
Zattoni joins Labruna Mazziotti with four associates, boosting the litigation and arbitration practice to 14 lawyers.
Labruna Mazziotti co-founder Fabio Labruna said the hire was part of a drive to become a complete transactional firm.
“The overall strategy of the firm is to grow in three areas: M&A, capital markets and litigation. We want to maintain a size that’s close to 100 lawyers, which isn’t compatible with a full-service firm,” he said.
Labruna Mazziotti numbers around 70 lawyers across offices in Milan and Rome, with revenue of around e18m (£14.24m).
Labruna said the activity in the market could be down to independent firms looking to strengthen themselves in lean times.
“The market is low in Italy, like everywhere else in Europe,” he said. “That facilitates a repositioning of firms. We will see only a few independent firms emerging from this. But it’s difficult to predict right now who that will be.”
Along with lateral movement across firms, partners in independent operations have been setting up a series of new boutiques.
Pedersoli’s tax spin-off is one example, while Baker & McKenzie Bologna head Giorgio Bernini split from the firm last month to launch his own corporate and competition boutique.
A smaller practice is easier to handle in a slowdown, ;said ;Labruna, adding: “When the market isn’t particularly strong, there’s an advantage of having a smaller structure because you can manage costs much more easily.
“But there’s a question mark over this strategy once the market picks up again. Which it will do, hopefully.”
Zattoni and Antonio Segni, ;co-founder ;of Labruna Mazziotti, have known each other since they took their LLM at Harvard Law School in 1992.