Clifford Chance in the cold as tax ally Vitali teams up with Gianni Origoni

Clifford Chance’s associated Italian tax boutique Vitali Romagnoli Piccardi e Associati has dumped the magic circle firm in favour of a deal with flourishing Italian firm Gianni Origoni Grippo & Partners.

Vitali is in the process of negotiating its exit from its deal with Clifford Chance and hopes to have terminated its exclusive alliance with the magic circle firm by the end of this month.

Meanwhile, the tax boutique is also thrashing out the final details of a deal with Gianni Origoni. Neither Italian firm would comment on the agreement, but sources suggest it is likely to take the form of an alliance, with a view to a full merger in the near future.

Clifford Chance has had an exclusive association with Vitali since 2001, which came through the latter’s close connection with Clifford Chance’s merger partner Grimaldi.

However, in 2002 former senior partner Vittorio Grimaldi left the firm with a group of almost 30 lawyers to set up on his own.

Vitali is regarded as one of the top two tax boutiques in the Italian market. It was formerly Studio Tremonti, but rebranded when name partner Giulo Tremonti took on the role of finance minister in Silvio Berlusconi’s government.

Vitali still maintains close links with Tremonti and also has key relationships with a host of financial institutions such as Credit Suisse First Boston, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, as well as large corporates such as Luxottica, Nortel Europe and Starwood Hotels.

Clifford Chance declined to comment.