Linklaters attempts Italy comeback with star A&O hire

Linklaters has made its first move to replenish its Italian offering by hiring star banking and finance partner Davide Mencacci from Allen & Overy’s Milan office.

Mencacci will be Linklaters’ only Italian-qualified partner, and its third partner on the ground in Italy. Rome-based Luigi Sensi offers US securities and capital markets advice, while Milan partner Sarosh Mewawalla divides his time between projects and banking.

Mencacci said in a statement: “After much careful consideration I have accepted a position with Linklaters in Italy. I have immensely enjoyed my time with Allen & Overy and would like to thank my colleagues for their support and friendship over the years. I very much look forward to the exciting challenges that lie ahead with Linklaters.”

Mencacci shares important clients with Sensi in particular, including Lehman Brothers.

The hire of Mencacci, who is dual-qualified, represents Linklaters’ second high-profile banking hire in a week.

As first reported in The Lawyer (26 January), Linklaters’ London office will be the new home for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer banking rainmaker David Ereira.

Mencacci’s hire is also the first Linklaters’ Italian arm has made since it split with former ally Gianni Origoni Grippo in April 2004. The split meant that Linklaters has the fewest partners on the ground in Italy of all the magic circle firms.

Since then, Linklaters is understood to have held merger talks with Milan-based M&A boutique Giliberti Pappalettera Triscornia e Associati.

Meanwhile, A&O’s Italian offices have seen a spate of departures in the last 12 months, mainly confined to the now-closed Turin office, but Mencacci is the second boldface name to leave Milan for a rival Anglo-Saxon firm, after head of transport, banking and project finance Franco Vigliano went to Ashurst last year.