DLA Piper boosts Italy with five partner hire from Grimaldi

DLA Piper is strengthening its Italy offering with the hire of a five partner, 15-person team from Studio Legale Grimaldi e Associati, adding three new partners in Rome and two in Milan.

The cross-disciplinary team, which focuses on the energy, infrastructure and project finance sectors, includes Grimaldi senior partner Francesco Novelli, who has been appointed as senior partner of DLA Piper’s Italian practice and head of its national energy practice.

He will be joined in Rome by partners Giovanni Ragnoni Bosco Lucarelli and Francesco Satta, while another partner, Ugo Calo, will work out of Milan, alongside energy partner Federico Zucconi Galli Fonseca.

The senior partner role is a new position at DLA in Italy that has been created for Novelli, with the team hire, which includes 11 lawyers and four trainees, taking headcount in DLA’s Italian offices to around 240 lawyers.

The transatlantic firm’s managing partner Federico Sutti said: “This shows the shift in the market – five years ago, someone like Novelli would never have considered us, but now there’s a greater role for international firms and we’re one of the major players.”

Sutti said the firm still needs to bulk up in equity capital markets, corporate and litigation and arbitration.

Legal Week reported in December that Grimaldi e Associati had voted to dissolve in the wake of the departure of corporate chief Roberto Cappelli and an 11-lawyer team to Italian leader Gianni Origoni Grippo & Partners, which subsequently rebranded as Gianni Origoni Grippo Cappelli & Partners.

Grimaldi was set originally set up in 2002 through a split-off from Clifford Chance in the culmination of a long-running row over the management of the top UK firm’s Italian practice.

The five partners who set up the independent firm were name partner Vittorio Grimaldi, Rome-based Francesco Novelli and Valerio Di Gravio, and Milan partners Roberto Cappelli and Alberto Dubini, who defected alongside 26 lawyers.

With about 17 partners, Grimaldi was one of Italy’s larger independent firms, having posted an estimated €27m (£22.8m) in turnover for the 2010 calendar year.

Related: DLA Piper boosts Italy with hire of Gianni corporate team