Shearman signs best friends agreement with Italian tax boutique

Shearman & Sterling has formed a cooperation agreement with Italian tax boutique Tremonti Vitali Romagnoli Piccardi e Associati in a bid to offer clients a more integrated service on tax advice.

The two firms will remain independent but are planning to market and pitch jointly for projects and work together in other ways.

Shearman has been in Italy since 2002, when it launched a mainly US-focused capital markets team in Rome (22 April 2003). Since then it has diversified into other practice areas including M&A, finance and restructuring and in 2009 opened a Milan office (28 October 2009).

Italian managing partner Domenico Fanuele said the firm had had a growing number of enquiries for tax advice. Fanuele added that Tremonti Vitale had worked with Shearman on a number of transactions, including recently work on real estate funds in Milan and a transaction for the Qatari Investment Authority, so formalising the relationship was a natural development.

“We’ve been working together quite a while but in the last few years this collaboration’s intensified significantly,” Fanuele added.

Tremonti Vitali was founded around 30 years ago by Giulio Tremonti, who is currently a member of the Italian Senate, and fields a team of 15 partners specialising in all areas of tax law.

Managing partner Enrico Vitali said the arrangement with Shearman would open the doors to a more globalised market for the firm’s clients.

Fanuele said the move was a good step for Shearman in Italy.

“We’ve come a long way already from a small US outpost,” he said of the firm’s development, adding that the firm planned to continue growing steadily through internal promotions. Fanuele said a senior associate from Paris was currently on secondment in Milan in a bid to grow an international arbitration offering in Italy.

Shearman’s approach to Europe has seen a change this year, with the firm slimming down its German operations to refocus on Frankfurt (23 April 2013).