The Italian legal market is set to go through some of the most radical changes in its history, as the government puts in place the Bersani reforms to liberalise the provision of legal services.

The reforms cover several industries and have proved controversial on the peninsula. Last year major cities were paralysed when thousands of taxi drivers went on strike to protest against the removal of the minimum tariff. Lawyers kept a slightly lower profile, writing stern letters to the government instead.

This Italy Special Report also investigates the regulatory burden on IPOs. Despite the market having one of its best years in 2006, with 21 new listings, difficulties still remain for lawyers and their clients. Italian capital markets regulators take on average five times longer than recommended in the Prospectus Directive to review IPO documents, risking a shift of capital from Italy’s stock exchange to alternative markets.