Chiomenti: “Our management is strengthened by its generational spread”
Promoted across three rankings in our Corporate & Finance research cycle, Chiomenti had a strong year. We speak to its co-managing partners about its strategy and its success.
Leaders League: Chiomenti performed especially strongly in the Debt capital markets, Corporate tax and Wealth management rankings this year. Have there been any developments in these practices in 2020-’21?
Filippo Modulo: We have indeed grown in these sectors; this has been our most extraordinary year ever across the board. Generally speaking, we’ve had a strong year for transactions, but this strength has very much been multi-disciplinary, which has made us stronger in relation to competitors. In this respect, we’ve successfully added European law, administrative law and foreign direct investment capabilities to our firm, allowing us to handle very complex matters.
In wealth management, we’ve been able to secure a unique position in the market: for many years we have had key lawyers that have focused on regulatory matters, such as executives from the Bank of Italy. This regulatory expertise has been complemented by tax and wealth management competences.
Gregorio Consoli: In debt capital markets (DCM), you need competences and the right people in the right places. Three years ago, we identified the right person – managing counsel Benedetto La Russa – to boost our DCM practice. Although there are several finance partners, including myself, that handle DCM matters, we concentrated a lot of competences in Benedetto. He was made partner last year and is now in charge of the DCM practice. We were historically strong in advising all manner of financial institutions, from banks to insurers, but the new element that has improved our practice is our burgeoning strength in corporate DCM transactions, both investment grade and sub-investment grade, which we handle with US law firms. This has given us a really strong presence in the Italian market. We always try to build on existing competences.
As for wealth management, we have many tax partners and private client experts that are experts in trusts and estate planning instruments. The combination of these practices has pleased our clients – both institutional (including trustees, private bankers and wealth managers) but also high-net-worth individuals.
Gregorio and Filippo, you are both co-managing partners, while Francesco Tedeschini chairs the firm. You were aiming for a generational spread – how is this going so far, and have there been any challenges in balancing innovation with a more traditional approach?
Filippo Modulo: Not at all – we’re very much aligned. It’s great to have a generational spread: I am ten years older than Gregorio, and Francesco is ten years older than me. We’ve all worked a lot on the project, developing a long-term view that we’ve shared with many partners, and have been implementing the vision we’ve shared since Day One. The dialogue is always constructive. The generational component and spirit of collaboration helps us attain the results we’ve been seeking in terms of market positioning, cohesion among colleagues, and results with clients.
How would you characterise the firm’s three-year plan?
Filippo Modulo: Our aim is to be increasingly at the top of the market, and to distinguish ourselves from our competitors. There’s a lot we must do to reach that goal. It’s easy to say we want to stay at the top of the market, but how do you plan and prepare to be the go-to firm for certain kinds of matters?
We start from collaboration on complex work, with more partners working together, combining expertise and joining competences. You need a structure that recognises this. If partners and associates really play together to ensure that the client has the best team working together, our goal is achievable. But it’s imperative the organisation recognises this. Otherwise you don’t reach the same results.
We cultivate talent, not just at a junior level. Partners must enjoy working with other partners and be recognised – personally and financially – by the partnership as key players. The real goal is to create alignment, both vertical (between ranks) and horizontal (between teams).
Gregorio Consoli: We continue to believe that the competences are the key. This is the element to build on, in terms of structuring the model of the firm.
With great power comes great responsibility; Chiomenti is a market-leading firm. How does it address ESG obligations?
Gregorio Consoli: ESG really is key for our clients, but also for us. For our clients, we do our job: we advise them in all the different fields where ESG comes into play. There’s a lot of attention being focused on sustainability and the recovery plan, but also on governance. We help industrial clients manage ESG in procurement. Corporate governance, sustainable finance, and procurement are the areas in which we most frequently assist clients with ESG.
In 2020, we set up an ESG taskforce. The task force involves several departments and areas of law (corporate governance, financial regulation, finance), since the issues to be addressed are diverse and complex and must be addressed taking into account all the legal and organisational aspects of a company or institution.
But the firm also has internal ESG goals. We were one of the first Italian firms to launch an ESG programme; ours is called We Care. Its three pillars are built on the environment, our people, and our community and society. Regarding the environment, we are a plastic-free firm: we switched from using more than 3,300 plastic bottles of water each month to a totally plastic-free approach; our paper utilization has also been reduced by 12%, while electricity consumption has been reduced by 18%. Chiomenti has also improved its air conditioning systems and lighting installation efficiency, and driven water-consumption initiatives. Also in 2020, we launched our Pro Bono programme, promoting pro bono legal advice in favour of socially committed parties in sectors of public utility and for projects considered worthy of support.
We are also driving various initiatives centred around people and community. We are thinking of working on an impact and sustainable balance sheet in the coming years. It’s a long process – we need to think about key indicators – but when it is ready, we will be speaking heartily about it.
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