Squire Sanders’ talks with Haarmanns duo hit dead end

Squire Sanders & Dempsey’s plan to grow its Italian office has been stalled after discussions with two Haarmann Hemmelrath partners hit the rocks.

The US firm was believed to have been in talks with Italian partners Barnaba Ricci and Paolo Calmetta, who founded Haarmanns’ Milan operation, for several months. But it emerged last week that the conversations had faltered, with sources claiming Haarmanns had succeeded in a rearguard action to keep Ricci. Calmetta, however, has since quit the firm, but his destination is unknown.

Sources close to the discussions also cited personality differences between Ricci and Calmetta and Squire Sanders’ Italian management as a contributing factor.

A spokesperson for Squire Sanders said the firm was examining a range of options to expand the office, but declined to comment on talks with Ricci and Calmetta.

It is understood that Squire Sanders was also exploring a tie-in with Cannata Pierallini, the Rome-based associated firm of Coudert Brothers. The tiny, two-partner Italian boutique has been involved in merger talks with Squire Sanders as part of the broader discussions between the two US giants.

Coudert Brothers lost its Milan operation in one fell swoop when DLA took on the firm’s five partners in October last year.

Squire Sanders’ Milan office has also suffered losses, with partner Andrea Carreri quitting the firm earlier this year to join former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partners Giovanni Lega and Paolo Colucci at their new operation.

Squire Sanders opened in Italy in 2001 following a merger with boutique firm Studio Legale Bernascone. It now has three partners and nine lawyers in Milan, headed by managing partner Gabriele Bernascone.