Clifford Chance ramps up Padua with Carnelutti haul

Clifford Chance is sending out a clear signal of its commitment to Italy post-Grimaldi by hiring the partner in charge of Carnelutti’s Padua office and four other lawyers.

Corporate partner Oliviero Pessi brings clients including insurance giant Assicurazioni Generali and major exhibition centre Padova Fiere to Clifford Chance. The haul of four other lawyers includes Carnelutti’s Padua head of litigation Stefano Armellini.

Clifford Chance currently has only one partner in Padua, corporate and commercial lawyer Gianandrea Rizzieri. It will now have a total of around 18 lawyers in Padua.

The Carnelutti office was not part of the firm’s merger deal with McDermott Will & Emery, announced in September, and is set to dissolve on 1 January. Carnelutti managing partner Luca Arnaboldi told The Lawyer at the time: “We decided with McDermott that it wasn’t strategic for an international network of offices to have a presence in Padua.”

However, Clifford Chance is seeking to capitalise on the presence of international businesses such as Luxottica, Benetton, Diesel, Stefanel and De Longhi in North Eastern Italy. A number of investment funds and banks have also invested in Padua recently and the region is seen as an entry point to Eastern Europe.

Clifford Chance’s existing client portfolio in Padua includes Stefanel as well as regional banks Banca Antonveneta and Banca Popolare Vicentina, retailer PAM and steel company Acciaierie Venete.

The additions in Padua mark a positive step for Clifford Chance after it lost senior partner Vittorio Grimaldi, four other partners and 26 lawyers last year. Grimaldi re-launched his own firm with the group.