The two firms have worked together on various transactions for corporate and financial institution clients for a number of years. They will remain fully independent, but the best-friends agreement will see deeper cooperation and allow the firms to jointly present their respective service offerings.
“It’s been an ongoing process for quite some time,” explained Iain Scoon, partner in Shearman & Sterling’s tax group in London (and pictured left). “Our Italian offices have a corporate offering but no specific tax services, so they use Italian tax counsel and often, over the years, this has been Studio Tremonti. It’s a symbiotic relationship and with many clients in common, what has happened in Italy is that Shearman have done the corporate work while Tremonti provided the tax advice.”
Lorenzo Piccardi, who has been a partner of Tremonti Vitali Romagnoli Piccardi e Associati since 1998, also commented on the longstanding relationship between his outfit and Shearman & Sterling’s corporate team in Italy, and with Shearman’s tax teams in various offices around the world.
“We always offered clients the opportunity to work with advisers around the world and regardless of the jurisdictions concerned Shearman always had the strongest offering,” said Piccardi. “Then Shearman opened an Italian office and the bond between us continued to grow. We need strong legal support as we are a pure tax firm. While we have around 40 people, which is quite a sizeable number for a pure tax firm, Shearman has been the ideal partner for such legal support.”
With international M&A picking up and clients looking for opportunities having survived the downturn, Piccardi said this is a natural evolution for the two firms.
Scoon said this is the first time Shearman has entered into this type of relationship, and said he is very happy and proud to be joining up with Tremonti in this way.
Piccardi echoed those sentiments, saying the relationship could be an important move for Italy. He said the formalisation of this relationship has broader ramifications in that it represents the start of a new chapter, with a movement away from the perception of the Italian authorities as the “dark side”. For an international, US-headquartered law firm to enter this arrangement, it confirms that the Italian tax landscape is “no longer a crazy jungle,” said Piccardi.
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