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Norton Rose partners are poised to vote on plans to open a Rome office. The firm's Milan base is already in talks with a number of potential laterals about launching a practice in the capital
The extended presence would help Norton Rose exploit the market for projects, infrastructure and energy work. Closer proximity to Italy's seat of government is seen as key to growing this practice area.
Milan managing partner Roberto Cornetta said: "We're looking at the market and we'll take a decision in a few months. We're in the preliminary stages of discussions with potential partners."
Norton Rose is also expanding its M&A and capital markets practice with the hire of a well-known associate from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Paolo Daviddi will join as an equity partner in the New Year. He will be the sixth partner in the Milan office, which opened in September 2000.
Daviddi's relationships include ABN Amro, JPMorgan, Lehman Brothers, BNP Paribas, UBS Warburg, Credit Suisse First Boston, HSBC, Banca Imi and Lazard.
Cornetta said: "With his expertise and reputation, Paolo will be a wonderful asset to the Milan practice and the global finance practice."
Norton Rose is stepping up its office secondment programme to boost integration and will set up the first exchange between Germany and Milan in the New Year. An Italian associate will also be seconded to London to work with partner Jonathan Walsh as part of an initiative to grow the Italian securitisation practice.