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European retreat: Ashurst pulls out of Rome days after Sweden exit

In its second European closure this month, Ashurst is shutting the doors to its Rome office after five years, with its remaining lawyers relocating to Milan following a review of its Italian offering.

The closure comes just one week after Ashurst confirmed it would close its Swedish offering with the entire team of 30 staff moving to fellow Stockholm-based firm Hamilton.

Following the resignation of Ashurst’s Rome office’s sole partner Aian Abbas, the firm will move its remaining associate and trainee into its Milan office. Several staff have already left since the office first opened, with the office’s founding partners Francesco De Gennaro and Domenico Gullo moving on to DLA Piper late last year. Fellow founding partner Carmine Bruno has also left the firm, joining Tonucci & Partners in 2013.

Ashurst has indicated it will continue to run an Italian competition practice through its Brussels office where Italian qualified competition partner Denis Fosselard is based.

Italy managing partner Stephen Edlmann said: ‘It will be more efficient and effective if we run out of one centre. Our existing clients’ interests are paramount and they are predominantly all based in Milan. Our business generally in Italy is very good and our clients will get the same level of service that they had before effectively.’

In January Ashurst put plans to open a base in South Korea on hold. While plans were already stagnated, they were understood to come to a halt last year after a team of Ashurst partners led by its then Tokyo managing partner John McClenahan exited to spearhead US firm King & Spalding’s launch in Tokyo.

Ashurst first showed its interest in Seoul alongside plans to launch a second office in China shortly after it merged with Australian firm Blake Dawson in 2011, and went ahead with its Beijing office plans the following year.