SJ Berwin breaks into Italy with double office opening

SJ Berwin has confirmed its launch into the Italian market with the hire of private equity and acquisition finance heavyweight Alberto Morano and a team of three partners.

As exclusively revealed on (1 December), Morano will head the silver circle firm’s Italian operations, which will be launched officially today (5 December) with offices in Milan and Turin.

He will be supported by partners Massimo Chiaia and Fabio Cigna, who move across from White & Case, and partner Arturo Meglio, who joins from Lombardi Associati.

Chiaia was a partner in White & Case’s Milan office and Cigna an associate in the Turin office, while Meglio was a senior associate at Lombardi Associati.

Morano was previously White & Case’s Italian managing partner, but quit the US firm in August, just one month after the closure of the firm’s Rome office.

As first reported in The Lawyer (11 July), SJ Berwin has been searching for lateral hires in Italy for several months.

The Italian offices will initially focus on private equity, M&A, acquisition finance, real estate, corporate and labour law. This will be expanded to include EU and competition law through further hires in the next few months.

White & Case’s Italian operation has, meanwhile, come under increasing pressure following a spate of partner losses. Two partners left in June to join Varrenti Bassan Lenzi & Associati, which itself split off from the US firm in 2004.