Partners at the firm have okayed the move and, pending the granting of relevant licences, the new office will open in March.
The planned office will comprise five lawyers. Riccardo Sensi will be the resident partner and the team will also include local lawyers. Rome-based Domenico Tulli will be the office managing partner.
Gianni already has offices in Brussels, London and New York as well as five bases in Italy. Tulli sees the firm’s latest venture as an extension of its international strategy, enabling it to better advise Italian clients active in the UAE and Middle Eastern businesses interested in Italy.
“The decision to open an office here has to do with the flow of business from Italy to Abu Dhabi,” said Tulli, “but also the flow of business we expect to come from Abu Dhabi into Italy and the rest of Europe. Abu Dhabi is a place that, in spite of the global economic crisis, still has liquidity and it’s a place where most of the decision making [in the area] happens.
“There are significant investments being made from the area into Italy in the automotive, fashion and real-estate industries.”
According to the firm, a presence in Abu Dhabi will also provide a window through which it can access China, India and Singapore.
Although Gianni has no more immediate expansion plans, Tulli said he hopes that the firm’s first Middle Eastern office will be a springboard for further launches.
“We’re definitely interested in certain areas,” said Tulli, “particularly Dubai, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. But entering with a permanent office in these places is still difficult. The aim is to do business with these countries first and then look for opportunities to expand in the future.”