Tell us about Studio Lattanzi: What is your background – how did you arrive at the idea to found the firm, and what has your path been?
Studio Lattanzi and its partners have operated since 1998, with a focus on the interplay between international law and local law. As the founding partner of Studio Lattanzi, I graduated in 1994 from the Faculty of Laws of Pisa University, and I have been registered in the Lawyers’ Board of Lucca Court since 1998.
In 2002 I was admitted to the Arbitrators’ Roster of the Arbitration Chamber of Lucca and I have been Chairman of local Mediation Organism. In addition, I previously served on the Board of Lawyers of Lucca Court, overseeing its International Committee. I was also the President of the FBE (Federation des Barreaux d’Europe)’s Access to Justice Commission, and I am a member of FBE Human Rights Commission.
My specialism and my interest has always been international law, and Studio Lattanzi set out to bridge the gap between legal systems across Europe and the Western world. Where so much of law is highly local and governed by strict separations between jurisdictions, Studio Lattanzi set out to recognize that in an increasingly global world, understanding of cross-jurisdictional systems is an invaluable strength.
What do you think makes Studio Lattanzi unique?
Studio Lattanzi’s unique competitive element is its international perspective. Over the course of two decades of operation, we have built a portfolio of experience from clients in the United Kingdom, the European Union, and beyond – frequently navigating the complex liminal legal environments between and across jurisdictions and legal systems.
Studio Lattanzi’s lawyers are all at the cutting edge of international law, and as the managing partner, my perspective is always that of pushing for wider understanding of both new legal theory and technologies, and international best practices. Our focus has always been on offering advice and representation to international clients. This has been in evidence ever since my first forays into internationalizing my mindset and practice, spending an academic year at U.C.L. Faculty of Law within the “Erasmus” student exchange program in London.
Who would benefit from your business, and what areas of practice do they need help with?
We have acquired valuable experience in complex, international engagements with real estate law and we assist the client in the overall purchase or sale procedures comprehensibely, dealing with fiscal and technical issues, working with the assistance of trustworthy English-speaking chartered accountants, architects and surveyors. In the Italian context, we engage with estimation of properties, inspections and title searches, price negotiation, drawing up of preliminary contracts, assisting with the notarial deeds of transfer, and completion of commercial and residential contracts and condominium disagreements on the property side.
More widely, we also handle obligatory rights, debt collection, hereditary law – including drafting of wills and hereditary divisions – and damages payment requests, for example any personal injury occurring to foreign people in Italy. In short, Studio Lattanzi engages with all of the myriad, complex elements of law that most foreigners will face if seeking to move to Italy or engage with Italian law.
How has your practice evolved over the last couple of years, and what are the major new topics to be aware of?
One major topic that demonstrates the intricacy of international law, not just in terms of major institutions, but by how it affects every-day people, is the question around foreign citizens seeking to buy property abroad. In the case of Italy – we’ve all heard of the 1-euro houses offered by various Italian local authorities in recent years; many foreign citizens have dreamed of buying one of these seemingly incredible offers, and many already have done so. Yet of course, the possibility carries some risk – the purchase of a 1-euro home is not something to be done lightly. This is precisely why a robust understanding both of Italian law, and how it affects international citizens, is vital.
Engaging with the offer of a 1-euro home comes with a raft of legal responsibilities that are not always very clearly signposted. Usually, the real estate is derelict or in need of very serious renovation; it is often in highly remote areas, and engaging with local authorities there can be a more complex process than in major metropolitan cities like Milan or Rome.
The purchase also comes with responsibilities to the property itself – some require a full restructuring within 12 months; some include important tax duties to the local authority, as these houses are, at the end of the day, an attempt to local authorities to revitalize their communities with new residents, but also greater income.
Buyers must also bear all of the expenses of the significant documentation and registration, including for notaries, deeds of sale, transfer orders, and beyond. Permissions for renovations must also be acquired, and the works must be paid for entirely by the owner of the property, and within specific timeframes.
Ultimately, the allure of the 1-euro house is that it is genuinely possible, and for those with the will and drive to do it, it can be a real dream-come-true that would otherwise be impossible. But those considering it must understand the significant legal and bureaucratic responsibilities involved, and, especially if Italian is not their native tongue, consider legal assistance.
What does the future hold for Studio Lattanzi — and where is the legal profession headed in future?
While the legal profession has traditionally been seen as resilient to automation and technology, there are still very interesting and relevant lessons that the law can and must take on board from the advance of technology. In particular, the increasing deployment of AI in all elements of society – things like ChatGPT or Google’s Bard – may radically change the legal profession, as it provides lawyers with a fundamentally different interface for engage with case research and legal document drafting.
As Studio Lattanzi operates in the liminal area between and across jurisdictions, we are already seeing how invaluable AI can be in understanding the relative differences between legal systems. In the case of the foreign citizen operating in Italian law, AI can become a vital tool in understanding where the convergences and divergences of different legal systems and interpretations exist.
However, AI is not yet capable of understanding more complex concepts, interpreting case law or providing advice particularly in areas such as ethics and professional responsibility; the systems also currently pose privacy and data security problems. Studio Lattanzi is at the forefront of Italian law in understanding how and where – and also where not – to deploy the use of AI to best serve clients, and to help build an overall more comprehensive and universal understanding of the law.
The legal expertise of the qualified lawyer is therefore still needed, and it will be up to politicians, researchers and practitioners to ensure that the benefits of these technologies are realised in a responsible manner.