15 Nov 2021

Boies Schiller hires four-partner team from Italian independent to open in Milan

New York litigation specialist secures 'at least' 15 lawyers from RP Legal & Tax to anchor first new office since 2013

Luigi Macioce Image courtesy of BSF

New York-based litigation firm Boies Schiller Flexner has added four partners and ‘at least 11 other attorneys’ from Italian outfit RP Legal & Tax to launch an EU-focused office in Milan.

The move marks the first new office for Boies Schiller, co-founded and chaired by famed litigator David Boies, since it set up shop in London eight years ago.

RP partner trio Luigi Macioce, Alessia Allegretti and Stefano Zonca have joined as founding partners of the Milan office, named Boies Schiller Flexner Italy, with Macioce set to lead the effort.

Partner Giancarlo Morelli is also moving over from RP, along with ‘at least' nine associates and two counsel. 

Boies Schiller said the new office strengthens its existing capabilities in areas including international arbitration and litigation, as well as the representation of high-net-worth individuals in their most pressing business and legal issues.

Co-managing partner Alan Vickery said the office also gave the firm “a gateway to the EU, something of particular importance post-Brexit, and a location in the strong Italian market”.

He added that the lawyers from RP “expand our practice capabilities, including for international arbitration work, and create opportunities for BSF to advise Italian and EU companies in their US-based work.”

Macioce joins after seven years at RP and represents private clients and multinational companies in cross-border and domestic matters, including tax and M&A. He was a senior member of RP’s corporate and tax departments and was also partner in charge of its art law practice.

Allegretti, meanwhile, advises foreign clients with respect to their businesses in Italy, as well as Italian entrepreneurs in their businesses abroad. Her experience includes advising high-net-worth clients, closely held entities and family offices.

Zonca brings experience in international trade law and competition, advising clients on commercial litigation and international arbitration, as well as in corporate governance and shareholder issues.

“My Italian colleagues and I are looking forward to integrating our work with that of our BSF colleagues,” said Macioce. “Together we will offer a unique combination for clients that are expanding their businesses and interests or protecting their rights in court or arbitration.”

Co-managing partner Sigrid McCawley added: “The Milan office gives us a seat in one of the EU’s largest economies, and our new colleagues are a strong complement to our platform and existing capabilities. With our new office and partners, the firm is well-positioned to handle US-based litigation for Italian clients, and we anticipate that our existing clients with legal challenges in the region will benefit from BSF having an established presence in Italy.”

The launch comes after a difficult two years for Boies Schiller, once among the most profitable law firms in the US. The firm became swept up in the controversy surrounding David Boies’ work for disgraced public figures Harvey Weinstein and Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and since the start of last year has seen its lawyer headcount drop 40% as part of what it has characterised as a repositioning of the firm towards the most profitable work. Among the losses have been dozens of partners, including a 13-partner team that moved to West Coast offices of King & Spalding.

The exodus has been reflected in tumbling revenue and profit, with The American Lawyer reporting the firm last year saw turnover fall 38% to $250m and profits per partner plummet by almost a third to $2.3m.

In September it emerged that London-based deputy chair Natasha Harrison, who was widely tipped as the successor to 80-year-old Boies, was stepping down as deputy chair less than a year after starting in the role.

Hires secured by the firm in recent months, however, include those of Ben Love in New York and Washington DC, who joined as a partner from Reed Smith, and Alison Anderson, who joined in Los Angeles as a partner in the global investigations and white collar defence group from the US Department of Justice.

In May, Hon. Ursula Ungaro (Ret.) joined the firm in Miami and New York after serving on the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida for nearly 30 years.

Last month leading international private client and family specialist Withers hired tax heavyweight Stefano Grilli and five associates in Milan from Gianni & Origoni.

 

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