Norton Rose expands in Italy with Rome launch

Norton Rose expands in Italy with Rome launch” />Norton Rose is making a bid to shore up its struggling Continental practice with a new office in Rome next month. The firm has had an office in Milan since September 2000.

The new office will be opened primarily off the back of the firm’s project finance practice. Rome is the driver of Italy’s privatisation and public private partnership/PFI market and Norton Rose will be pinning its hopes on winning work as a result of having a presence in the capital.

The firm acts for a number of banks funding major privatisation and PPP projects, including Banca Intesa, BNP Paribas and Mediocredito Centrale. It also handles finance work for the Italian export credit agency SACE, while several of the firm’s corporate clients, including Alitalia, have their headquarters in Rome.

Staff numbers for the new office have yet to be finalised, but the relatively small office is expected to have fewer than 10 fee-earners. Norton Rose will transfer associates from its 45 fee-earner Milan office to staff Rome, while Milan-based partners such as Mike Taylor and Italian managing partner Roberto Cornetta will split their time between the two offices. Senior associate Antonello Lupo, a new recruit from Gianni Origoni, will manage the office on a day-to-day basis and report to Cornetta.

Peter Martyr, the chief executive of Norton Rose, said that the firm’s Italian strategy had always been based on the need to have a presence in Milan and Rome. “We’ve now reached the point where we have a sufficient practice in Italy to take advantage of the significant opportunities that will result from having an office in Rome,” he said.