The Lawyer European 100 rank9

A tripartite merger in 1999 was the foundation of the law firm now branded BonelliErede and until a couple of years ago known more formally as Bonelli Erede Pappalardo. The three small legacy practices – Bonelli e Associati in Genoa, Erede e Associati in Milan, and Pappalardo e Associati in Brussels – teamed up to become of Italy’s largest firms. Although similar in terms of staff numbers of several of its competitors, the high-end nature of BonelliErede’s work means that

A tripartite merger in 1999 was the foundation of the law firm now branded BonelliErede and until a couple of years ago known more formally as Bonelli Erede Pappalardo. The three small legacy practices – Bonelli e Associati in Genoa, Erede e Associati in Milan, and Pappalardo e Associati in Brussels – teamed up to become of Italy’s largest firms.

Although similar in terms of staff numbers of several of its competitors, the high-end nature of BonelliErede’s work means that The Lawyer European 100 estimate of its turnover puts it in the top 10 law firms in Europe.

While the firm’s founders, Franco Bonelli, Sergio Erede and Aurelio Pappalardo, are still at the firm, BonelliErede has been vigorously institutionalising in the past few years. The process began in 2011 when the firm shortened its lockstep and axed junior and salaried partner positions, turning all partners into full equity.

A couple of years later managing partner Alberto Saravalle stepped down after two three-year terms, to be replaced by tax and transfer pricing head Stefano Simontacchi and employment head Marcello Giustiniani as co-managing partners. The governance restructure was accompanied by another shake-up to remuneration, with more emphasis placed on contribution, and efforts to make Bonelli’s career paths more transparent.

The firm is part of Slaughter and May’s best friends group, working closely with the other firms on cross-border deals. Its own international presence outside Italy was historically limited but in 2016 and 2017 it has opened in Ethiopia, Egypt and Dubai – the first two offices through local associations.

Corporate work generates the largest proportion of BonelliErede’s revenue, about 44 per cent.

The law firm’s two managing partners have differing responsibilities, with Simontacchi responsible for strategic development and Giustiniani focusing on internal affairs.

An international committee and business development committee reports to Simontacchi, while committees focusing on IT, employee remuneration, partners’ remuneration and partnership report to Giustiniani. A maximum of one board member can sit on each committee.