UK law firm Fieldfisher has entered Italy through a merger with 21 partner firm Studio Associato Servizi Professionali Integrati (SASPI), which has offices in Milan, Rome, Venice and Turin.
The deal, which will see SASPI change name to Fieldfisher once it takes effect on 1 July, adds 170 lawyers and accountants to the UK-based firm’s 400-strong practice. The combination will create a firm employing nearly 1,000 people globally, and take the number of offices in Fieldfisher up to 13.
The move follows a run of combinations and office launches at the traditionally tech-focused firm, after launching in Silicon Valley in 2012, Shanghai in 2013 and Manchester 2014 through a merger with Heatons.
SASPI was founded in 2002 by John Stewart, a former Italy managing partner at Ernst & Young (now EY). He turned SASPI into one of Italy’s largest tax practices and the firm has strength in banking, corporate, employment and data protection work. Stewart, who was born near Glasgow, will continue as managing partner following the tie-up.
Stewart said: ‘This is the next stage in developing our international presence and being part of a growing international legal brand. This geographic reach was very attractive to us but equally so was the firm’s reputation in technology, IP and banking, all of which complement the growing needs of our clients. Going forward we will look to grow our life sciences, IP and technology capabilities in Italy and to continue our growth of the last five years. We are looking to make Fieldfisher the largest law firm in Italy.’
The deal has been structured as a Swiss Verein, which means the SASPI will not share profits or liability. Fieldfisher managing partner Michael Chissick said: ‘We’re very pleased with the synergies between the client bases of the two firms and there are clear opportunities for cross-selling and co-operation. In particular, the agreement will strengthen our European employment, banking, corporate and tax groups – areas in which SASPI is particularly strong.’