Lovells raids local firms to launch two Italian offices

LOVELLS is to enter the Italian market with the opening of fully integrated offices in Milan and Rome in October. This comes as the next step in its strategy to create a one-stop international firm.

Linklaters & Alliance member Gianni Origoni & Partners will lose Paolo Criscione to the new Italian practice, which he will head from Milan. Criscione, an M&A, corporate-commercial and anti-trust lawyer, has been known at Lovells since 1989, when he joined the London office of Titmuss Sainer Dechert.

Italian firm Pavia e Ansalado will lose partner Fulvia Astolfi and consultant Jeff Greenbaum to the Rome office. Around 20 other lawyers will also join from Italian firms.

Lovells corporate partner Marco Compagnoni, a prime mover in the initiative, says: “We’d been looking for some time for the right sort of people or the right firm, and arrived at various combinations. But we’ve known Paolo Criscione for a very long time and have worked with him and his colleagues over the years.”

Criscione says: “I was interested in joining a fully integrated practice that is run on a worldwide, rather than on an office, basis. I’m delighted to be joining Lovells.”

A rapid expansion to around 100 lawyers is planned. “It’s a case of getting the right people in the right practice areas, who are used to high-quality international work and delivering what is now commonly viewed as an Anglo-Saxon type of product,” explains Compagnoni.

The practice will open from day one on an integrated basis. “We don’t think associations are a good idea in Italy,” says Compagnoni. “This is all about delivering business synergies and a better service to clients.”

The practice will initially focus on international corporate and M&A work, as well as financial services, tax advice and complementary areas of domestic Italian law. Property, IP and banking will be added later on, and employment capability will be increased as soon as possible. Some work may be subcontracted until the firm’s full capability is reached.

The new practice is aimed at both existing clients and at winning new Italian clients who require services in jurisdictions where Lovells is strong. Previously, Lovells had referred its Italian work to local firms.