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Simona Lavagnini & Luigi Goglia: "We have become a gateway to Europe and Italy for many multinationals"
The founding partners of LGV Avvocati speak to us about the firm's strategy for growth and its success in the IP sector.
Leaders League: How would you describe the firm’s DNA?
Simona Lavagnini & Luigi Goglia: The firm’s DNA can be best described as a dynamic combination between an open approach to client relationships, a firm commitment to understanding objectives and achieving concrete results and, last but certainly not least, a living passion for IP law that drives each LGV professional towards delivering the best possible service.
Speaking in practical terms, this means that with LGV, clients can expect to be assisted by a team that has been specifically assembled having in mind the case at hand. More precisely, it means that teams will be composed of lawyers who are specialised and experienced in the relevant areas of law as well as capable of finding solutions to new challenges that may arise. In particular, this entails an appreciation of the economic environment in which clients operate and an evaluation of the opportunities that may be explored whilst developing a suitable legal strategy.
Furthermore, the firm’s professionals are all specialists who share a genuine interest for the subject of IP law and who benefit from the continuous training the firm provides internally on both legal and technical matters.
In the Italian IP landscape, how do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
LGV is a unique reality within the Italian IP landscape. To begin with, the firm has an international approach and cross-border experience, while remaining completely independent. LGV includes professionals who come from foreign jurisdictions. Indeed, the mixture is highly unusual for an Italian law firm, in that it includes a Korean, German and British national, all of whom are fluent in Italian and their respective mother tongues. The firm encourages the integration of such professionals, and more generally of those who have an international background, in order to maintain an outlook that goes beyond the restrictions of national borders.
LGV’s independence means that it is not a branch or mere department of a bigger firm, and that it is free to pursue its own objectives in accordance with the approach it considers most appropriate for the protection of its clients’ interests and needs. Independence makes it possible for the firm to establish close and secure ties with its clients, to whom it can offer a modular price scheme unbound from any sort of structural rigidity and without the pressure of indirect incompatibilities.
Moreover, the firm covers all IP subjects in depth, ranging from so-called hard IP (patents and design rights) to soft IP (copyright and trademarks). On this point it must be said that LGV has successfully used, in certain areas of IP, legal instruments that would normally belong to other practice areas, thus highlighting the transversal competence of the firm. Furthermore, in each field the firm can claim a high level of competence and proven experience both with regard to contentious as well as non-contentious matters, which allows LGV to accurately assess and adjust each decision having regard to the correlated legal and commercial benefits and risks.
Finally, the firm has acquired and developed ways of managing cases in a similar manner to how businesses operate. Attention is given not just to the final concrete results desired by the client, but also to the need to “speak their same language” in terms of timing, reports and updates, predictability of outcomes and costs management, these being the parameters that frame the achievement of results.
In your opinion, what makes a good IP lawyer?
A good IP lawyer should have a comprehensive knowledge encompassing various areas of law (civil, criminal, administrative, litigation), while maintaining a very high level of specialization in IP matters and especially new technologies both as an area of work and as a way of working. Moreover, a good IP lawyer should have high fluency in foreign languages, especially English, and a good knowledge of European and international laws, as well as of important jurisdictions where clients may have issues to be handled.
Additionally, he or she should be capable of managing legal issues according to standard managing procedures as applied to all businesses, to support clients in controlling their activities and expenditure.
Finally, a competent IP lawyer should have an extensive network of selected colleagues and experts who apply the highest standards in working and can provide the best support in all technical issues or in any case in which foreign jurisdictions are involved.
Could you tell us more about LGV's international outlook?
LGV has always been projected onto the international legal market, and has achieved significant results in doing so.
To begin with, the firm has since its inception worked with international clients, some of whom are very large multinational entities. LGV has cultivated relationships with these clients and has very much become a gateway to Italy and Europe for many of them. In addition to the professionalism of the firm’s lawyers, who are expected to meet international and not merely local standards, LGV has managed to create a network of experts who can provide all-round support to clients who often need wide encompassing assistance. The consequence has been that certain activities deemed crucial to the client business have been entirely concentrated on LGV and, indeed, as a result the firm itself has consolidated its position on the international legal market.
Furthermore, LGV counts among its professionals qualified individuals who come from different jurisdictions and who directly communicate with the client in their mother tongue. In particular, the firm has structured itself to include two specialist departments, respectively focused on the ties the firm has developed with South Korea and the German-speaking world. While the Korean department, headed by a South Korean professional and native speaker, deals with all commercial matters pertaining to Korean clients who operate within Italy and Europe (from corporate matters to assistance given to managers in fulfilling the administrative requirements imposed on them by Italian or European law, as well as arbitration proceedings and complex operations such as the creation of a multi-corporate security package), the German department is directed by a dual-qualified German attorney and is predominantly focused on providing advice on all intellectual property matters to clients active in the mechanical, chemical, electronic, transport and communication sectors, among others.
Finally, all LGV professionals are compulsorily required to communicate in fluent English. The firm prefers to count among its professional staff those who, just like the firm’s founding partners, can claim an international background and proven experience.
The development of talent within the firm seems to be important for you. How do you attract and motivate young legal professionals?
LGV is a young firm, with an average of just over 30 years of age. This is testament to the firm’s commitment to the inclusion and development of promising lawyers-to-be who are attracted and motivated by the prospect of being involved in all of the firm’s activities.
More precisely, the strength of LGV, and a distinctive feature which separates this firm from most of the other Italian law firms, is that its young professionals are given the opportunity to learn everything. This means that the young professionals at LGV will not simply be asked to support in back-up activities, but may also at any time be required to provide a contribution to substantive legal work and experience first-hand the type of work that a fully qualified lawyer undertakes, thus taking on the significant responsibility that comes with those kinds of activities. The firm insists on transforming the young legal professionals into full-rounded attorneys and welcomes any initiative and new idea that can improve and enhance the activities and outreach of the firm.
Could you describe your client base?
LGV's client base is composed of a wide range of both international and Italian clients which operate in diverse fields. Among these, LGV can count multinational corporations who operate within the technology sector and produce hardware and software that is sold globally, but also an Italian producer of software that is used in the insurance sector; a worldwide producer of sports attire and equipment; and a highly known European manufacturer of footwear; and companies that specialise in the production of, for example, industrial equipment such as boilers, waste-disposal systems and photovoltaic modules. The firm also assists certain Italian clients who have developed skin treatment processes and others who produce sanitary equipment. And again, clients of LGV operate in as diverse fields as videogames, fashion, automobiles and construction. The firm truly is involved in assisting clients, both domestic and foreign, that operate in a wide variety of sectors.
What does the future hold for LGV?
The firm has already established itself on the market, so in the future LGV will further consolidate its position as one of the most authoritative operators within Italy and in the field of IP, following a drive towards expansion of its client base and strengthening of its international ties, particularly with an eye to the Anglo-Saxon and Asian markets as well as, more generally, those realities that may present interesting opportunities with regard to intellectual property matters.
In the coming years efforts will also be made especially with regard to improvement of the firm’s structure, which involves increasing the knowledge of its lawyers, raising the standards of teamwork and acquiring competences in the most advanced sectors.
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