Norton Rose is opening a new office in Milan with the entire civil team from two-partner firm Studio Legale Vassallie.
The civil and criminal practice of Vassallie has split and the 11-lawyer civil group is moving with former managing partner Roberto Cornetta. The new office is due to open in September.
The team will also be joined by Norton Rose energy group head and M&A specialist partner Michael Taylor and an assistant in November.
Taylor says: "You could view what we have done as a merger, except we have brought individuals into the firm."
The office will be taking on further staff and is expected to total 20 by the end of the year.
Norton Rose has realised the need for an Italian base. Taylor says: "The commercial legal market is booming in Italy and our competitors have all established offices."
Cornetta says: "I have been working alongside Norton Rose in Italy for several years. There is a plan to expand to Rome or the north east with other people. This is a fantastic opportunity to join the firm at a time when it has many exciting development plans for Europe."
Cornetta and his team will bring clients such as airline Alitalia to Norton Rose.