While the three years following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic were marked by instability and uncertainty – exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine resulting in gas supply issues and inflation – law firms have been presented with opportunities for expansion and growth within a significantly reshaped legal market. With Italy among the European countries that suffered the most from both the pandemic and the energy crisis, its legal community has been concerned as to their fate in 2022.
Both large international and independent law firms faced an arduous business environment, characterised by tightened competition, shifting client needs, technological advancement and strict regulatory developments. Despite these challenges, many of Italy’s best independent law firms were able to achieve strong results in 2022 and have unanimously reported their busiest and most successful years, with an average increase in revenue of up to 10%. Continue reading “Euro Elite 2023: Italy – Toughening up”
Visiting Milan at the end of 2019, it was striking that a map of law firms’ office addresses drawn up just the year before was no longer reliable: too many had moved, taken up larger premises… or no longer existed.
Finding our way to meetings with 20 partners at domestic and international firms, an unusual buzzword was emerging: consolidation. ‘There are too many Italian firms and there is not space for everyone, so they need to consolidate,’ argues one Milan-based partner of a foreign firm. Continue reading “The Italian report – Midway upon the journey of our life”
Looking out of the window of his office overlooking the picturesque Piazza del Duomo on a rainy April afternoon, one veteran Milan partner is feeling sentimental: ‘I remember the firms that used to dominate the market back when I started – Graziadei, Carnelutti, Pavia Ansaldo. No-one hears of them anymore.’ What on the surface seems nostalgic reflection poses a pressing question for Italy’s current legal elite: what will become of today’s top independents in the near future?
‘It is as if the market gets tired of dominating firms every ten years or so and replaces them with others,’ agrees a partner in another office in the northern Italian city. Continue reading “The Euro Elite: Italy – And yet it moves”
In 2011 Stefano Simontacchi, then head of tax at the Italian legal giant Bonelli Erede Pappalardo, made a high-stakes presentation at the firm’s general partners’ meeting. The increasingly disastrous economic climate in Italy was forcing the firm to reappraise its strategy and Simontacchi, as part of a three-partner committee, had been approved by the firm’s board to find a solution.
‘We needed strategic thinking about whether we wanted to be a very small boutique or whether we wanted to remain at the size we were,’ recalls Simontacchi. ‘In which case, how could we survive when overall spending capacity of the market is decreasing?’
Continue reading “Renaissance style – the battle to modernise Italy’s legal elite”
The Italian legal market has modernised over the past decade as local firms have reacted to greater client demands and the influx of foreign practices. Now there’s greater pressure on fees and billing arrangements
Over the past decade the Italian legal market has gradually been modernising, entering its own 2.0 era. Firms have taken a more business-focused approach to how they run their firms. Italian lawyers who traditionally prided themselves on their ability to advise on a wide range of areas have become more specialised. Continue reading “Italy 2.0”