An interview with Gianluca Carlesso of The Carlesso Law Firm, about his path from Italy to Romania.
CEELM: Run us through your background, and how you ended up the Managing Partner of a law firm in Romania.
Gianluca: After ten years of professional activities in the commercial, corporate, M&A, and aviation law fields in Italy – Rome and Milan – in 2006 I was appointed Managing Director of the Tirana branch of Tonucci & Partners (at that time in alliance with Mayer Brown), where we mostly advised foreign and Italian companies investing in Albania, as well as banks and international institutions. In 2009, I had the opportunity to become Country Manager in the firm’s Bucharest office, which primarily worked in corporate matters, banking/finance, M&A, energy, and aviation fields.
CEELM: Tell us a bit about the Carlesso Law Firm. When was it founded, how many lawyers do you have, and what areas of law do you specialize in?
Gianluca: In 2017, with 20 years of professional experience in Italy and abroad, I finally decided to start my own business, focusing on advising both foreign and local clients such as commercial companies, banks, and insurance companies. Our team is composed of seven lawyers (three on staff and four of-counsel based in Rome, Milan, Florence, and Verona). We are also in alliance with Sherman Nigretti, Accountants and Auditors, managed by Mr. Gianmauro Nigretti and based in Milan, and we collaborate in Romania with a top audit & tax firm, UHY Romania, managed by Mrs. Camelia Dobre. We specialize in commercial and corporate law, banking/finance, real estate, oil-gas and energy, and aviation. In addition, we assist clients in commercial and corporate litigation.
CEELM: Was it always your goal to work outside of Italy?
Gianluca: Indeed, as lawyer, I always looked forward to building an international profile and gaining experience in foreign markets – especially since 2003, when I joined a prominent Italian law firm, Cannata-Pierallini, which has offices in Rome and Milan, and which at that time was part of Coudert Brothers New York. Anyway, I am connected with the Italian legal market, as I am double-qualified, and licensed by both Rome and Bucharest Bar Associations. In this regard, I also currently have offices in Rome and Milan through our partnership with Sherman Nigretti.
CEELM: How would clients describe your style?
Gianluca: In short: professional, updated, efficient, and delivering attentive and dutiful services.
CEELM: Are there any significant differences between the Italian and Romanian judicial systems and legal markets? Which stand out the most?
Gianluca: Certainly. I mean, the Italian system is particularly complex and proceedings are, in general, long and slow; in addition, we have so much influence from massive legislation and jurisprudence, which often does not help to solve legal matters. On the other hand, in Romania the judicial system – referring to civil and corporate matters – is quite fast and understandable, so in litigation we can predict the timing of the process to our clients. Regarding the legal market – again, referring the commercial and corporate fields – in Italy you have plenty of lawyers around the entire country, whereas in Romania, the top range is in Bucharest, which is really the center of the economy and business for the country, and the challenge for every international lawyer who aspires to run the market.
CEELM: How about the cultures? What differences strike you as most resonant and significant?
Gianluca: Romania is a young country in term of population, democracy, and the development of corporate and commercial enterprises, with a large number of international investors. It represents an opportunity for both investors and professionals because it is also open to innovation and modernization. Here it is so helpful to work in English as most of the people speak the language. Italy, despite its long history and tradition even in the legal field, sometimes suffers from the complex juridical system I described earlier, which impacts businesses and makes it difficult to improve and innovate in developing business opportunities.
CEELM: Do you have any plans to move back to Italy?
Gianluca: I am currently still working and dealing with the Italian market, since most of our Italian clients have business investments in Romania through commercial companies established under Romanian Law. Please let me say that the meaning of move back is too strict for international lawyers, because we prefer embracing our experience in legal markets without boundaries, and we always look forward to potential development.
CEELM: Outside of Romania, which CEE country do you enjoy visiting the most, and why?
Gianluca: I must say that, in this regard, my interests come together with the business opportunity. in fact, I enjoy visiting Hungary and Serbia, because of our relationships with clients from those markets who invest in Romania. Plus, referring to the Balkan area, I know Albania quite well, from my previous professional experience there, and Greece as well, again from our business relation with clients investing in Romania.
CEELM: What’s your favorite place to take visitors in Bucharest?
Gianluca: Bucharest is a vibrant and modern city. But I also encourage visitors to spend time in Brasov, Sinaia, the Danube delta, and the seaside, for their beautiful scenery, nature, and interesting traditions.