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Debating ability and an attentive mind: Insolvency Law in Italy

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published on 23 November 2021

 

Since January 2017, I have been working as lawyer at Rödl & Partner in the Padua office. I am an Associate Partner and part of the litigation team of Giovanni Montanaro. Together with a young colleague, I not only dedicate myself to litigation, but also deal with restructuring.

Decision for Rödl & Partner and career path

I came to Rödl & Partner after more than twenty years of experience in a so-called boutique law firm in Padua, where I had dealt with litigation and insolvency/restructuring law. When I started my law degree course I had no doubt that I would become a lawyer. At the same time, I was very interested in economic topics, so I put my focus there. This is not particularly common for students in the law department, as they like to bypass 'economic' exams from their curriculum.


Certainly one of the reasons which, albeit belatedly, made me opt for Rödl & Partner is the international and wide-ranging character which constitutes its DNA, the multidisciplinary nature and therefore the possibility to work with colleagues from different cultures dealing with the most diverse subjects.

 
In addition, I had the opportunity and the good fortune to be included in the Insolvency Practice Group (as well as in the Litigation Practice Group). This allowed me to become acquainted, especially within the European Union, with other legal realities and different socio-economic contexts, aspects that closely interact in the field of law and especially of Insolvency law, according to its very vocation strongly influenced by the social context of reference, which I have always found very exciting.

 
Moreover, this practice group includes not only lawyers but also other professionals, which has made this interaction between colleagues – who deal with the same subject, but from different points of view – even more stimulating and enriching: as the saying goes, when you think you know something, you always have to look at it from a different point of view, which for lawyers can be that of accountants (and vice versa), professional figures who, although they have a not entirely dissimilar university and professional background, nevertheless retain absolute peculiarities and a certainly different approach to problems.

 
In addition, the frequent opportunities for dialogue with foreign colleagues, which are rarely held in the mother tongue of the professionals involved, have in my opinion contributed to the development of a different and more practical approach to problems, free from the complexities typical of lawyers and which are not always desirable.

 
There is no doubt that in order to deal effectively with a foreign language, one needs to be clear about the concepts to be expressed and to be able to express them concisely, moreover clearly, precisely because often not even the colleagues you are talking to are native speakers of the language used. In some ways, I believe that this is a new literacy, which can only contribute positively to an approach to the issues addressed.
Certainly a very important moment of my first working period was my promotion to Associate Partner, which practically took place the year after I joined Rödl & Partner: As a consequence, I was given more responsibility and became even more involved in the company's activities...

 

Impact of the pandemic on court proceedings in Italy

In fact, if on the one hand, with the advent of the pandemic, there has been an undeniable contraction with regard to the initiation of litigation proceedings and also with regard to the insolvency context (by way of example, I recall that in Italy it was established, among other things, the inadmissibility of the procedures for the declaration of bankruptcy, the suspension of the obligations of recapitalization of companies and of the operation of the cause of dissolution of companies for reduction of share capital below the minimum and the suspension of the evaluation of going-concern rule, which in fact has led to a fall in the number of bankruptcy proceedings in a market that has been de facto normatively anaesthetized), it is, on the other hand, quite likely that as soon as these barriers are removed and the market recovers its physiological balance (which is currently artificial), there will be a large increase in bankruptcy transactions, with imponderable repercussions on the entrepreneurial market.

 
This trend is confirmed by the regulatory ferment currently existing in Italy and by the very recent approval of a further decree-law (24.08.2021, no. 118) which, while awaiting the entry into force of the Insolvency Crisis Code (which should replace the bankruptcy law approved during the Fascist era, in 1942), postponed again by the same decree-law, has introduced a series of innovations and, most recently, a new tool: the negotiated settlement aims to facilitate the rehabilitation of companies that, despite being in such a state of financial or economic imbalance that crisis or insolvency are likely, have the potential to remain on the market.

 

Debating ability

Being part of Rödl & Partner also allows me to further cultivate my professional training, which I consider even today fundamental for an attorney at law. The legal profession requires social skills: it is necessary to emphatically convey the viewpoint of one's counterpart to a party. No one knows better than an attorney at law how to support theses without making them their own.

 
But to do this, lawyers must be cultured and mentally agile, they must study and keep up to date, they must cultivate their capacity for dialogue and train themselves to keep their minds open and creative. I have always been convinced of this and I am happy that Rödl & Partner and I share this philosophy, albeit in the unquestionable and granitic awareness that competence must necessarily be combined with entrepreneurship and an innovative approach.

 
In conclusion, I would like to remind young colleagues entering the legal profession of an exchange of lines from Alice in Wonderland (L. Carrol): Alice says to the Cheshire Cat:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to...”, replies the Cat.

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