One of the leading Italian firms for EU law and PIL work
The firm is the product of a three-way merger between firms from Milan, Genoa and Brussels. It was formed at a time when Anglo-Saxon firms were arriving in the Italian market. In the interim, it has grown from around 90 lawyers to nearly 300 while retaining a reputation for strength in EU and international law. In arbitration terms, it’s one of the few local players that can boast ICSID experience.
The arbitration practice is spearhead by Antonio Crivellaro and Luca Radicati di Brozolo, backed up by the younger lawyer Andrea Carlevaris – one of the selections in GAR’s latest “45 under 45”.
The firm has arguably been most visible for its construction arbitration work. It obtained a US$6 million ICSID award on behalf of Italian oil and gas contractor Saipem in a case against Bangladesh in 2009. This was approximately half the value of its original claim, but was nevertheless regarded as a significant recovery in a long-running dispute. Significantly, it was also the first time an international arbitral tribunal had found a state liable for the acts of one of its judges.
The firm also represented Tecnimont in a long-running dispute with Greek contractors over a chemical plant in Thessaloniki. It won an award on liability for its client but the Reims Court of Appeal recently overturned it because of doubts about an arbitrator’s independence.
It has also represented Impregilo, Salini and ENI, Saipem’s parent. Energy work is another branch of the practice. The team is working for two major French energy groups and a listed Spanish company active in the photovoltaic sector.
The firm also handles post-M&A international arbitrations – it tends to advise non-Italian groups that have acquired Italian companies. It reports seeing a rise in those cases in recent times.
In addition to its three Italian offices, the firm has outposts in London and Brussels. It’s also part of a “Best Friends” group with five other firms: Bredin Prat in France; De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek in the Netherlands; Hengeler Mueller in Germany; Slaughter and May in the UK; and Uría Menéndez in Spain. In 2010, the group created a “Best Friends Arbitration Forum”, which includes joint pitches for large arbitrations requiring expertise in more than one of their respective jurisdictions.
In 2010, Radicati di Brozolo, already a member of the ICC Court, was appointed to chair the International Bar Association’s subcommittee on the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards.