Accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has launched a combined tax and legal firm in Italy, raiding former network firm Pirola Pennuto Zei & Associati for eight partners and 80 lawyers.
The new firm's name is Studio TLS, which stands for Tax and Legal Services. It has launched with eight partners and 130 lawyers in total. The rest of the professionals come from PwC and other firms.
Pirola will continue to work with PwC, but on a reduced basis, whereas Studio TLS will become the official legal arm for PwC in Italy. Pirola is left with 18 partners and 250 lawyers.
Pirola has lost partners Gaetano Arnò, Luca Barbera, Franco Boga, Fabrizio Acerbis, Gianni Colucci, Nicola Broggi, Giorgio De Pace and Domenico Coldani.
Arnò said: "We believe that the future of the profession is not in small, national boutique firms, but in big international networks based on a multidisciplinary approach."
Studio TLS is aiming to provide a full-service corporate and commercial legal practice with offices in Milan and Rome.
The new firm aims to exploit client relationships with companies, banks and financial institutions that use PwC services but are not audited by the accounting firm.
"At the moment we have our own clients," said Arnò, "but our goal is to use the relationship with the PwC network to have relationships with other clients." Under EU regulations, PwC is unable to provide legal advice to audit clients.
Arnò said the firm will expand rapidly and that it has a budget to employ a total of 200 people by the end of July next year.
A three-partner management committee sets the strategic direction for Studio TLS, which comprises Arnò, Domenico Coldani and Luca Barbera.