Simmons Italian raid provides employment law capability

Simmons & Simmons’ Italian practice is to launch an employment law capability with a team from Turin firm Rossotto e Associate.

Guiseppe Menegazzi joins Simmons as an equity partner from Rossotto’s Milan office, where he was head of the firm’s labour law unit. He brings a team of four lawyers with him and a practice that boasts clients such as Walt Disney.

The hires mark a new initiative for Simmons in Italy. The practice previously had just one associate specialising in employment in Alessandra Ferroni, but he was among those who left Simmons for Linklaters & Alliance member Gianni Origoni & Partners last month (The Lawyer, 2 and 23 April).

Head of Simmons’ Milan office Marco Franzini says the new team will strengthen the firm’s corporate and finance practices in Italy and provide a specialist employment law capability. “Having such a strong employment team in Italy means we’ll be able to show the big international clients who we act for in London that we can assist them on a cross-border basis if they have any employment needs in Italy,” he says. “The problem we had before was that clients were ready to pass employment work to us, but because we only had one employment lawyer, we didn’t have the capacity to manage important deals.”

Menegazzi’s team includes Luca Basilio and Andrea Morda. Both were partners at Rossotto, but Franzini says the firm will not dilute profitability by making them partners immediately. “The firm is recovering on the profit per partner side, and we want to keep driving that in the right direction,” he says.

Corporate partner at Rossotto Mario Ferrari confirms the departures. He says: “Guiseppe’s been with us for two years. He’s now decided to move on, but we still have an excellent relationship with him. This is not a harsh divorce.”

The team hire comes after a series of departures from Simmons in Italy, led by former senior partner Eugenio Grippo. Twelve lawyers left to join Gianni Origoni, where Grippo is set to become a name partner.