Sunday, 22 January 2012

Andrea Carta Mantiglia

Italian lawyers have such an elegant way of doing business - well, at least the Italian lawyers I know, at 'continental elite' firm Bonelli Erede Pappalardo.  I have blogged in these page before about conversations with the firm's senior partner, Renaissance Man Alberto Saravalle.  This week I caught up with his colleague and fellow Board member, Milan-based corporate partner Andrea Carta Mantiglia, to chat over the firm's strategy and plans for 2012.

Andrea talked to me in detail about the firm's newly announced three-pillar strategy: to promote its leading role on the international stage - BEP advised for example on Prada's Hong Kong listing last year, on the high-profile Bulgari / Louis Vuitton share swap, its private equity team has just this week been short-listed for the coveted IFLR Europe Award and Andrea talked me through some of the firm's high-profile work in China and India; the Second pillar in the strategy is to focus on digging deep into what clients really want from their lawyers, taking an increasingly innovative and entrepreneurial approach to delivering this, social media playing a key role here for example; and third - and this is the element I find so elegant - to underline the firm's 'institutional' role as part of the very fabric of Italian life, interacting with government, publishing academic or public interest papers and contributing to the arts and wider Italian society.

In conversation Andrea told me:
"We have a significant heritage as a firm, and we are rightly proud of that, but those leading the firm today are thinking about the legacy we will leave tomorrow."

Takes the UK's approach to Corporate Social Responsibility to a whole new level.  Something here for other European firms to think about...

Most entertaining moment of the week has to be Ian Hislop's fearless report to the Leveson Inquiry on media ethics.  We all know his view - that more statutory regulation of the media is not necessary, the point being that the activity that has most shocked everyone in this sorry saga - phone tapping, policemen taking money - is already well and truly illegal.  But the way he chose to illustrate his arguments was absolutely choice.

Classic quotes include: "A reasonable editor would not have thought 'I must hack into a murdered girl's phone', or 'I must run a story about someone about whom there appears to be no evidence and say he's a murderer'."

On Express Newspapers owner Richard Desmond"The person who didn't understand what ethics was, was Mr Desmond. You shouldn't use that as a rule of thumb for anyone else."

On ex Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan: "Piers' memory is quite selective. He is capable of remembering things that didn't happen... perhaps his diaries weren't written contemporaneously: there are a number of glaring errors. He has tea with the wrong prime minister for instance."
Brilliant!  If you missed the interview on the day, you can view it here.

Entertainment of a very different type came in the form of Hollywood's Golden Globes Film & TV awards this week, with Britain turning in a stellar performance.  Awards abounded for Downton Abbey, British born Kate Winslet won a best actress award for her role in Mildred Pierce, as did Meryl Streep for her portrayal of a British icon in The Iron Lady, and the Hollywood event itself was hosted by our very own Ricky Gervais.  (You can check out the gowns here.)

David Cameron has been 'encouraging' the British film industry to focus on blockbusters, which apart from them being very hard to spot before box offices open, is in my view a sure way to kill off innovation and creativity in new forms of film-making and story-telling.  What the Brits do best is the quirky and the nuanced, as these awards attest.  Leave it to the creatives and keep the politicians out.  Please!

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