Italy

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Local bar associations

Competition authority: Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato

Financial regulator: Bank of Italy

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction: 

Banking, Capital markets : Debt, Capital markets : Equity, Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation, M&A, Project developmentProject finance, Restructuring and insolvency

Jurisdiction overview

The Italian legal system is underpinned by the country’s constitution (originated in 1948) and the civil code, which are based on a variety of sources including Roman law, the Napoleonic code and the civil code of Germany.

Due in part to its membership of the EU, there are few restrictions on foreign law firms or lawyers practising in Italy, particularly if they come from an EEA state, and they governed by the same regulations as local firms. Equally there are no separate naming requirements so firms can operate under their normal business brand. All lawyers have to be registered at one of the Italian regional bar associations. 

The legal market itself is made up of a combination of Italian, UK and US firms. The Italian domestics are a mix of large corporate firms who cover all areas of practice, and smaller boutiques who focus on one or two core areas, usually restructuring and insolvency or specialised financial products. The last decade has also seen a notable shift of firms adopting modern corporate structures as opposed to the more traditional family firm model that had dominated before.

Among the foreign outfits, UK magic and silver circle firms are the most established, and though they don’t have the same manpower as some of the largest Italian domestics, their networks and ability to offer UK law advice means they are competing in a slightly different market. The few US firms present are in a similar position and work in close conjunction with their London offices or focus on US investment into Italy and, in recent years, the willingness of Italian companies to tap US finance markets.

Italy is a sophisticated market and lawyers tend to be specialised in one or two specific practice areas or products rather than acting as generalists.

Financial and corporate
Allen & Overy

During its more than 20 years in Italy, Allen & Overy has established itself as one of the leading corporate law firms in the country as evident by its strong rankings across the board.

Its strong banking practice handles work for both the lenders and borrowers on a mix of acquisition finance, syndicated loans and credit facilities. Its financing expertise also extends to real estate sector where it advises financial institutions on the financing of real estate developments and acquisitions. The firm also specialises in loan portfolio work advising a mix of banks and investment management companies on the acquisition and sale of NPLs and UTPs. 

The capital markets team acts on the securitisation of NPLs, UTPs and commercial mortgages among others. Its debt work also includes work for issuers and arrangers on various types of bond issues such as green, climate, projects, retail and panda bonds. 

Elsewhere publicly listed clients also look to the firm for advice on takeovers and sale transactions across several sectors including technology and real estate. In private M&A it advises a mix of multinational and domestic companies, investment funds and private equity on cross border and domestic acquisitions, disposals and joint ventures. Its M&A team also advises its clients on disposals as part of restructuring process to help rescue the company. 

Rescue mandates include work for distressed companies on pre-insolvency agreements, corporate and debt restructurings, and insolvency matters. Work on the creditors' side is also common for the firm, where it often acts on cross border insolvency and administration in real estate, retail and manufacturing sectors among others. 

During the research period the firm strengthened its real estate practice with the addition of counsel Milena Linguanti from DLA Piper.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Banca Carige restructuring

•Cassa di Risparmio di Bolzano €507 million RMBS

•Creval €1.5 billion loan securitisation

•Juventus €175 million 3.375% bond issue

•Playtech €846 million acquisition of 70.6% stake in Snaitech

•Prysmian Group €1.7 billion acquisition financing

•Snam €500 million 1.25% bond issue

•Vroon Group €1.5 billion debt restructuring

Client feedback

"Always available and well prepared." – Capital markets: debt

"Excellent skills, always up to speed with new regulatory aspects, proactive with the clients and supportive." – Capital markets: debt

"The overall assessment is extremely positive. High professionalism and kind availability." – Capital markets: debt

"Solid team, with undisputed knowledge in the debt capital markets." – Capital markets: debt

"Allen & Overy has established a significant experience in the capital markets area with particular reference to the drafting of corporate and contractual documents, always showing great attention to the needs of all the subjects involved in them." – Capital markets: Debt

"Very good response and quick problem solving from both associates and partners." – Capital markets: debt

"The overall assessment is positive.They have a strong knowledge of our bank and are able to interact with all the internal procedures." – Capital markets: debt

"Very focused, always updated about the most recent change in legislation, reliable and efficient." – Capital markets: debt

"Great professionalism and experience in the required consulting sector." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"High professionalism, availability and the constant problem solving approach is really appreciated." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"High level of professional skills, strong focus to deliver results and problem solving approach for the client and counter parties." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"The team was fully dedicated to our project always delivering the requested documentation on time." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"Very strong knowledge and network with professionals. They are young and motivated." – Restructuring and insolvency

"The lawyer I've dealt with has a wide and solid experience in both the corporate Finance and Restructuring areas. He is particularly good in dealing with both the banks and debtors. He is very well focused in solving any problem in a very professional way." – Restructuring and insolvency

"High knowledge of the sector and specific subject matters, professional and readily available for meeting and/or conference call, and very quick in response and drafting and reviewing documents." – Restructuring and insolvency

"In-depth knowledge of Italian Bankruptcy Law framework, accompanied by a great number of collaterals and marketing campaigns (workshops) that are highly appreciated." – Restructuring and insolvency

Ashurst

The Italian office of Ashurst is a full service corporate law firm that is among the strongest in project finance in Italy. Its energy sector work is also highly regarded in the jurisdiction.

The firm is very active on the lender side of project financing and refinancing of renewable energy power plants. It has acted on some of the largest financing in the renewables energy sector. The firm advises the borrowers on a mix of acquisition finance and complex financing transactions including equity bridge financing. Its banking and finance team also acts on infrastructure projects, advising the banks on the financing of large value projects in telecoms sector recently. 

The M&A and capital markets team are also engaged in work in the renewable energy sector, advising investors on acquisitions of renewable energy portfolio or acting for issuer and arranger-side bond issues. The firm is active in other sectors including retail, real estate and automotive.

It also advises distressed companies on restructuring mandates, negotiating terms with creditors. Advisory roles for creditors and investors on debt restructuring and recovery and acquisition of distressed loans portfolio are also common for the firm. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•EF Kosmos €1.02 billion refinancing

•F2i Energie Rinnovabili €995 million refinancing

•Gaia €105 million financing 

•Gestioni Armatoriali restructuring

•Liberty House €740 million acquisition of European ArcelorMittal steel assets

•Open Fiber Fiber to the Home (FTTH) project

•Tages €452 million financing

•Värde Partners €337 million bond financing

Client feedback

"Well-coordinated between different departments, very pragmatic, solution-oriented approach and creative when required." - M&A

"The lawyers we worked with have an excellent knowledge of the subject, are always available and provide concise and punctual answers." - Project finance

"Financial assistance team devoted to the deal; High quality lawyers, particularly in debt structuring." - Project finance

"One of the best law firms in the renewable sector in Italy. They are very well-organised, efficient and result-oriented." - Project finance

"Solution-oriented and good legal knowledge. Relatively small transaction team with dedicated people." - Project finance

"Very professional and with specific knowledge." - Restructuring and insolvency

"High quality work, very responsive, pro-active and commercial." - Restructuring and insolvency

Chiomenti

Chiomenti is one of the strongest firms in Italy with expertise across the board. 

In financing work the firm works on both domestic and cross border transactions advising both lenders and borrowers on a mix of leveraged finance, acquisition finance, real estate development and project finance. Its work in project finance focuses on the infrastructure sector, often advising the lenders, grantor and other relevant parties on the establishment of funding, negotiations and borrowing of loans. It also advises private parties on the preparation of unsolicited proposals to undertake projects.

The firm's banking and capital markets expertise often come together to advise large banks and institutions on NPL transactions. Representing a mix of sellers, originators, buyers and arrangers, the firm is well versed in loan portfolio securitisations and acquisitions. Advice to the arrangers on bond issues and the establishment of EMTN programme is also common for the firm. The firm is also seen on the issuer side of structured products and equity transactions.

One of its standout practices is M&A. Active on both private and public M&A, it advises both on deal in sectors including automotive, real estate, technology and financial services among others. The firm also has a strong reputation in private equity and is often involved in large domestic and cross border transactions.

The firm's work in distressed transactions varies between working for restructuring companies and creditors. It advises on a mix of debt and corporate restructurings and pre-insolvency negotiations across several sectors and jurisdictions. 

During the research period the banking team saw the departure of partner Carmelo Raimondo to Fieldfisher and counsel Raffaella Fantozzi to her own independent boutique CF Law. Counsel Massimo Colozza also left the firm. Counsel Sara Cerrone joined from BonelliErede and partner Marco Cerritelli from McDermott Will & Emery.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Banco BPM and Banco Popolare €5.1 billion NPL portfolio securitisation

•Carel Industries Borsa Italiana IPO

•Crédit Agricole establishment of €16 billion covered bond programme

•Credito Valtellinese €1.6 billion NPL portfolio securitisation

•CVC Capital Partners €3 billion acquisition of Recordati

•Immobiliare Grande Distribuzione €200 million facility agreement

•Michael Kors €1.83 billion acquisition of Gianni Versace

•Playtech €846 million acquisition of 70.6% stake in Snaitech

Client feedback

"Chiomenti is a top tier law firm for structured finance work. The team is led by Gregorio Consoli, an outstanding lawyer with strong negotiation skills." – Banking                       

"Top tier law firm, with outstanding experience in banking and structured finance." – Banking 

"Great knowledge and processing skills, and best track-record in Italy for NPL-related transactions." – Banking 

"The Company has a long standing relationship with Chiomenti, which has been developed over a decade. Our latest assignment definitely confirms the quality and reliability of Chiomenti" – Banking

"Excellent support, availability and competence. Outstanding under all dimensions." – M&A

"Strong capabilities to understand a broad business and strategic picture and to address legal advice accordingly." – M&A

"Chiomenti lawyers are extremely professional, always available and able to revert to us in due course. The main strength of the firm is the top quality of its professionals and the ability to assist the client in almost all the fields of activity, also within tight time frames." – Restructuring and insolvency

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton specialises in cross border and domestic M&A transactions and has offices in Rome and Milan. 

The banking and finance team often advises acquirers on acquisition financings, and the firm has a strong presence in borrower-side leveraged financings. The firm’s work for banks and financial institution is primarily regulatory work for American and European entities on European and Italian regulations. 

In the capital markets space the firm advises listed companies on equity transactions ranging from public offerings to capital raisings. It also has experience of advising underwriters on IPOs. 

The Italian arm of Cleary is one of the leading M&A firms in the country and often advises on some of the largest, innovative transactions in the country. Foreign funds and corporations mandate the firm on acquisitions and divestments in Italy. The firm is particularly notable for its work in the public M&A advising on takeovers and exchange offers. Its expertise in the regulatory industries such as gas, telecoms and media along and advice on the acquisitions of distressed companies are also highly regarded in Italy.

During the research period corporate partner Roberto Casati left the firm to join Linklaters

Recent Deal Data highlights

•AAgrati/IDEAMI €750 million joint venture

•ArcelorMittal €4.2 billion acquisition of Ilva

•ACS, Atlantia and Hochtief €16.5 billion takeover of Abertis

•Candy/Qingdao Haier €629 million joint venture

•CJ CheilJedang $1.8 billion acquisition of 80% stake in Schwan

•Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane acquisition of Alitalia and Alitalia Cityliner

•Hanon Systems $1.23 billion acquisition of global Fluid Pressure & Controls business from Magna International

•Michael Kors €1.83 billion acquisition of Gianni Versace

Clifford Chance

The Italian team of Clifford Chance is one of the strongest firms in Italy with particular expertise in financing. The firm has a strong relationship with banks and financial instructions advising them on a range of domestic and cross border transactions under Italian and English law.

In banking and finance the firm advises multinational and domestic banks on a mix of syndicated and bilateral loans involving acquisition and leveraged finance, credit facilities and corporate and project finance. Regulatory advice under European and Italian law is also a recurring source of work. The firm also advises the banks as creditors on debt restructurings and international insolvencies. However, work for distressed companies is also common for the firm. Elsewhere, alternative lenders including private equity and investment firms mandate the firm on the financing and acquisitions of real estate portfolios. 

Work for banks also extends to capital markets transactions where it advises the underwriters and global coordinators on IPOs, rights issues and capital increases. In the debt space it advises the dealers and arrangers on a mix of vanilla and covered bond issues under Italian, New York and English law. The firm is also active in the securitisation space often advising the banks as arrangers on RMBS, CMBS, ABS and NPL transactions. 

The firm also has a strong M&A offering. Able to work on large multijurisdictional transactions it has acted for international clients on deals across sectors including TMT, financial services and transport sector. The firm also acts on strategic public and private transactions. Energy is an active sector for the M&A practice. It has advised energy companies and investment firms on acquisition of renewable portfolios and joint ventures for the development of renewable portfolios recently. 

The firm’s projects team is also active in the energy sector often for lenders, developers and operators in financing, tender participations and constructions of gas pipelines and renewable power plants. 

During the research period finance and capital markets counsel Massimiliano Bianchi left the firm to join EY.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena €26 billion NPL securitisation

•Credito Valtellinese €700 million capital increase

•CVC Capital Partners €3 billion acquisition of Recordati

•Leonardo €1.8 billion revolving credit facilities

•Mediaset and F2i $1.89 billion takeover of El Towers

•Partners Group €2 billion acquisition of Megadyne Group and Ammeraal Beltech

•Republic of Italy €8 billion 3.85% BTP issue

•Unicredit €1 billion 7.50% AT1 bond issue

Legance

Legance has one of the most reputable finance practices in Italy.

In banking and finance the firm is often counsel to leading domestic and international banks and financial institutions on syndicated loans, leveraged acquisition finance, project finance, refinancing and real estate development financings. 

The firm also advises the banks in their capacity as arranger, servicer and investors on the securitisation of loan portfolios and subsequent subscriptions. Elsewhere in the debt space, the firm advises both issuers and arrangers on bonds under EMTN programmes. The firm is also capable of handling complex debt products such as the issuance of mini bonds and securitisations under the new STS regulations. 

The firm is active in public M&A and on equity deals. In private M&A transactions, it has experience on both cross border and domestic transactions. Clients vary from industry leading corporations to private equity houses and state funds. 

In the projects space the firm is stronger in financing and advising lenders on power plant projects is often its focus in the area. The firm is also active in social infrastructure projects advising the investors on financing via project bond issues. 

The firm's restructuring practice represents both creditors and debtors on debt and corporate restructurings and insolvency proceedings under Italian law.

Corporate lawyers Laura Li Donni from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Alberto Emanuele Vaudano from Gianni Origoni Grippo Cappelli & Partners are the new additions to the firm as counsel and senior counsel respectively. The energy team also gained a new partner in Cristina Martorana from Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, while Luca Geninatti Satè left to join Giovanardi Pototschnig & Associati Studio Legale.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•A2A €4 billion EMTN programme

•Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena €26 billion NPL securitisation

•Calsonic Kansei €5.8 billion acquisition of Magneti Marelli

•Carnival Corporation/China State Shipbuilding Corporation €1.5 billion joint venture

•EssilorLuxottica €3.2 billion acquisition finance

•F2i €1.3 billion acquisition of RTR solar portfolio

•Mediaset and F2i $1.89 billion takeover of El Towers

•Nexi Borsa Italiana IPO

Client feedback

"They managed due diligence phase well, focusing on concrete elements and trying to force situations in order to reach a rapid and efficient conclusion in the interest of the involved parties." - Banking

"Good negotiation and documentation capabilities." – Banking 

"Top service, strong negotiator, highly committed and dedicated team." – Banking 

"Outstanding knowledge of legal framework and business issues of renewables in Italy." – M&A

"Legance act as the real best-in-class. All professionals involved are very accurate and they can advise on clients' every needs." – M&A

"Very professional and highly competent advisors, I would highly recommend their work." – Project development

"I really appreciate the Legance team coordinated by the partner Giovanni Scirocco. All the professionals are always available and very well prepared. The work is carried out with the utmost timeliness, precision and flexibility." – Project finance

"Very professional and promptly responds to client needs, smooth project management, easy approach and very good value for money." – Project finance

"Legance team are acknowledged and praised by the markets and clients for their technical expertise, commercial acumen and strong negotiation skills. Most recently they successfully supported the MLAs in our transaction." – Project finance

"Ver professional, availability of partner and tough in negotiation on key points while pragmatic on minor ones." – Project finance

"High quality of service, very knowledgeable about market and sectors, pragmatic and solution-oriented and high level of availability." – Project finance

Nctm Studio Legale

Nctm Studio Legale is an independent Italian law firm with offices in Europe and China. Active in corporate and commercial transactions the firm is a leading advisor to SMEs on IPOs in AIM Italia. During the research period it advised a technology company on its IPO in Italy's main stock exchange. 

The firm has notable M&A practice and advises multinational corporations and private equity on large cross border transactions public and private deals.

In the banking area the firm advises a mix of Italian and UK banks and alternative lenders in corporate and acquisition financings, syndicated loans and real estate financing. 

In the restructuring space the firm advises Italian companies on its debt and corporate restructurings. Active in both in and out of court restructurings, the firm has established a niche expertise on the restructurings of real estate funds. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Askoll AIM Italy IPO

•Castlelake and Coller Investment Capital acquisition of 65% stake in NBG Pangaea REIC

•Carnival and Costa Crociere €250 million financing

•Carnival Corporation/China State Shipbuilding Corporation €1.5 billion joint venture

•Partners Group €2 billion acquisition of Megadyne Group and Ammeraal Beltech

•Renergetica AIM Italia IPO

•SolarEdge €139 million acquisition of 51% stake in SMRE

•Techedge Borsa Italiana IPO

Client feedback

"NCTM lawyers are always working hard to implement the bank's interest and requirements into contract documentation, including the borrower's situation. The lawyers' work are precise, circumstantial, constructive, careful and quick. They are always available and ready to help. They always find a solution to every problems and give us (and the borrower) several possible alternatives." – Banking

"Time flexibility, client protection attitude, client care approach and value for money." – M&A

"Very smart and helpful lawyers upon whom you can put all your confidence. Easy contact, fast reaction and friendly relations." – M&A

"Their contribution has been outstanding: time effective, smart, perfectly understanding of our goal and constraints, and very cost effective. They were also very cooperative and friendly." – M&A

"Very efficient in negotiating and always available." – M&A

"The team of Pietro Zanoni and Alessia Trevisan were thorough, pro-active, professional, quick and particularly attentive to details. The biggest strength is their attention to the issues that matter while not wasting time on small details. I couldn't recommend them more highly." – M&A

Pietro Zanoni

"Utmost professionalism with a very practical sense. Extreme accuracy in describing situations."

"He is the most impressive lawyer I've had in my 35 years experience. He is smart, quick to understand and even quicker to find answers. I would trust him all the way."

"A pleasant person, determined, expert in M&A, strong and with a focus on the objective."

Stefano Padovani

"Flexibility, knowledgeable and client protection approach."

Martina Marmo and Stefano Padovani

"They work hard to implement the bank's interest and requirements into contract documentation, including the borrower's situation. Both of them work with precision, detail-orientation, constructive approach and careful and quick reactions. They are always available and ready to help. They always find a solution to every problem and give us (and the borrower) several possible alternatives."

Studio Legale RCCD

Studio Legale RCCD is a boutique firm that specialises in structured finance and securitisation transactions. 

The firm covers all aspects of securitisations including RMBS, ABS and GACS transactions in domestic and cross border transactions. The firm is also notable for its specialism in recently popular and newer products such as basket bonds and UTPs transactions. Clients include a mix of Italian banks and foreign debt investors acting as originators, servicers, investors and arrangers. Its work on the debt space also includes expertise in structured products such as covered bond and hybrid bond issues. 

In the banking space the firm focuses on structured finance and advises a mix of borrowers and lenders on collateralised and non-collateralised financing, factoring and term loan facilities. Syndicated loans and acquisition financings are also part of the team's offering. 

The team also advises local and international borrowers on debt restructuring under Italian law. Although mostly active on domestic restructurings, the firm is also capable of acting on cross border restructuring mandates. 

Acquisition of distressed assets is another one of firm's capabilities. Its M&A expertise also includes cross border transactions for both buyers and sellers across wide range of sectors. 

During the research period restructuring and insolvency partner Paolo Rusconi left the firm to join K&L Gates in Milan.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Banco di Sardegna €1 billion loan securitisation

•Bper Banca €600 million 1.125% covered bond issue

•Bper Banca €500 million 1% notes issue

•Banco BPM and Banco Popolare €5.1 billion NPL portfolio securitisation

•Banco Popolare di Bari and Cassa di Risparmio di Orvieto €826 million RMBS

•Intesa Sanpaolo €4 billion synthetic loan securitisation 

Client feedback

"RCCD are by far the best firm for complex securitisation and banking and finance work. They are also very strong in corporate, M&A and restructuring." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"Simply the best in the market for technical knowledge, ability to identify solution where all the others fail and deploy a team to suit our needs." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"Available, proactive and professionals. The firm should focus beyond the Italian market." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"Highly Professional and friendly." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"Absolutely fundamental and excellent in quality." – Restructuring and insolvency

"Excellent firm, with market leading capabilities in the financial sphere." – Restructuring and insolvency

White & Case

International law firm White & Case has built up a strong finance and capital markets practice in the jurisdiction. Its knowledge of English and US law allows the firm to handle capital markets and financing transactions under more than just Italian law. 

The firm's finance practice is active on both borrower and lender side. Advisors to leading Italian multinational banks, financial institutions and companies across various sectors, the firm acts on syndicated loans, acquisition and corporate financing, multi-tranche facilities and bridge loan financings among other structures. The firm also advises borrowers on debt restructuring and project financing transactions. 

In the capital markets space the firm utilises its US and UK law knowledge to specialise in US and euro private placement and Yankee bonds issue. Its capability in high yield bond issues is also recognised in the market. The firm primarily advises issuers but does work for underwriters and global coordinators. 

In the equity space it advises both issuers and underwriters on IPOs and private placement of shares. The firm has also picked up work in securitisation transactions and has acted for originators and arrangers on securitisation of mortgage loans and receivables. 

The firm's corporate team is active in cross border and domestic transactions across several industries. The firm is gaining presence in the private equity space. 

During the research period the firm strengthened its finance practice with the recruitment of dual qualified lawyer Alessandro Nolet from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. M&A partner Tommaso Tosi, also dual qualified, joined from Shearman & Sterling.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Acea €3 billion EMTN programme

•Blackstone and Goldman Sachs €100 million acquisition of minority stake in Prima Assicurazioni

•CVC Capital Partners €3.03 billion acquisition of Recordati

•Enel Américas $1 billion financing

•Farbanca €460 million mortgage securitisation

•International Game Technology €500 million 3.5% high yield bond issue

•Open Fiber €3.5 billion financing

•SIA €375 million acquisition of First Data's CEE and SEE businesses