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International moves: Bonelli recruits A&O Italy senior capital markets partner while BLP makes double Dubai hire

Italian firm BonelliErede, the European best friend of Slaughter and May, has made a key hire with Allen & Overy‘s Italy senior partner, Massimiliano Danusso. Meanwhile, Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has invested in its Dubai team with a double hire.

Constituting a major hire for Bonelli, which rebranded from Bonelli Erede Pappalardo several months ago, Allen & Overy’s former head of Italian international capital markets Danusso is cited by the Legal 500 as a leading individual in debt capital markets work and described as a ‘strategically thinking’ adviser.

Bond specialist Danusso is to be managing partner of the London office, and brings with him a team of eight lawyers from Allen & Overy who had he worked with previously.

Italian leader Bonelli voiced its intention to tackle the City last year, as its 13-year-old London arm serves as a gateway to other jurisdictions. London head Andrea Carta Mantiglia told Legal Business at the time: ‘We look at the London office as a means to develop our international strategy at large, including pursuing further Africa and Asia work. London is ideally placed to develop those activities. We are also looking in the market to expand our presence here, we will relocate people and hire.’

Elsewhere, BLP has moved to improve its UAE offering with King & Spalding Dubai disputes head Raza Mithani and DLA Piper’s Alexander Sarac who join the firm on 3 February.

Mithani led the disputes practice for King & Spalding in Dubai, working across various sectors including financial services, aerospace and defence, energy, construction and insurance. Prior to his move to Dubai in 2008, Mithani practised as a barrister from No5 Chambers.

Energy and infrastructure partner Sarac had served as legal director in DLA Piper’s finance and projects team in Tanzania, since 2013. A statement today (25 January) said his appointment ‘continues BLP’s development of its capability in Africa.’

Sarac is tasked with strengthening the firm’s project finance practice and ‘enhance BLP’s ability to advise clients in relation to investments into and out of Africa in conjunction with the wider team in Europe and Asia.’

BLP UAE country managing partner Richard Davies added: ‘Strategically these hires are hugely important for BLP both globally and specifically for our Middle East and Africa practice. They help us to join up our efforts in Africa, Europe and Asia.’

The firm has been making concerted efforts to improve its disputes offering internationally, and in March last year, launched an arbitration practice in Hong Kong with the hire of a nine-strong team from local boutique Hayley & Co.