OUR JOURNEY TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY
SHARING VALUE WITH YOU
ON OUR WAY
AS A VALUE
INTERNATIONAL AND ITALIAN
WE ARE ON OUR WAY
The purpose of this presentation is to introduce you to the corner-stones on which our commitment to sustainability is built: to give you a snapshot of what we have done so far, being primarily the result of decisions taken long before the recent widespread change in values and expectations in the world at large.
As a sign of how much the theme of sustainability is felt within our firm, some time ago we set up a dedicated team with the aim of identifying areas where internal decision-making and management processes could become more sustainable and the skills of our front-line professionals could be constantly updated.
In preparing this document we have drawn inspiration from the most avant-garde international standards on sustainability, such as those contained in the International Integrated Reporting Framework <IR> issued in December 2013 by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), the GRI Standards 2016 and, naturally, the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of the United Nations. We cover in particular:
- SDGs 3 – Good health and well-being
- SDGs 4 - Quality education
- SDGs 5 - Gender equality
- SDGs 8 – Decent work and economic growth
- SDGs 12 - Responsible consumption and production
- SDGs 13 - Climate action
- SDGs 16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions
Our data is generally drawn from the last financial year (2020), meaning that they include the extraordinary circumstances arising from the pandemic. Where a comparison is required, the immediately preceding financial year (2019) has been used as a reference, while certain data not subject to precise calculation has been estimated.
Where reference is made to our people, the reference date is 30 September 2021.
De Berti Jacchia Franchini Forlani is a multi-practice international law firm founded in 1975, with offices in Milan, Rome, Brussels and Moscow. Our firm has around 80 professionals covering most fields of Italian, European and international law, providing its clients with a full range of legal services in non-contentious matters, in litigation and in all forms of ADR.
Our expertise embraces almost all areas of law, including (in alphabetical order)
Administrative and Public Law | Construction | Corporate and Commercial | M&A | Antitrust | IP | Employment and Pensions | Regulatory | Litigation |ADR | Tax.
We are also frequently involved in domestic and international arbitration and mediation, acting both as client counsel and as third-party neutral.
Over the years, we have acquired an in-depth knowledge of more than 30 industrial sectors and in particular (in alphabetical order):
Agri-Food | Automotive | Betting and Gaming | Chemicals | Consumer Goods | Entertainment, Sports, Sponsoring and Tourism | Fashion and Luxury | Green Energy | Industrial Products and Equipment | Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences | Transport, Logistics and Aviation | Start-Up | Steel.
A significant number of our clients are multinational companies ranking among the 500 largest companies worldwide (Fortune Global 500), besides a large number of ItalianSMEs.
De Berti Jacchia and its logo are registered trademarks at the Italian Patent and Trademarks Office (UIBM), at the EUIPO as a European trademark and at the Patent and Trademarks Office of the Russian Federation (Rospatent).
PEOPLE WHO WORK IN OUR FIRM
SHARING VALUE WITH YOU
Our guiding motto is encompassed in the words SHARING VALUE WITH YOU.
Our professional commitment has always been focussed on the idea of sharing value, first and foremost with our clients and, in general, among the professionals and people whowork in the firm and within our environment as well as with the stakeholders with whom we interact on a daily basis.
This ecosystem of values has always driven our decisions: from the welcoming of new professionals to the continual inclusion of new practice areas still under development, from the identification of original solutions to the search for innovative business models and markets, from the exploration of different methods of communication to the adoption of new relational models adapted to the digital evolution.
Our mission is to provide legal and tax services of the highest quality, with added value expertise and with particular attention to innovative content and to new economicsubjects.
SHARING VALUE WITH YOU is our ability to innovate and to operate competently, thereby expressing and sharing added value.
A particular element that distinguishes us and that we believe to be a strong recognition of the timelessness of our motto SHARING VALUE WITH YOU is the ability of ourfirm to establish and maintain stable and long-term relationships with our clients: we have been assisting, on an ongoing basis, some leading multinational and domesticcorporates for over 45 years.
OUR CHARTER OF VALUES
Back in 2017, as responsible members of society and active players in the market, we believed that it was important to set out a Charter of our values which partners, associates, staff and external counsel are called upon to share and respect. The Charter is of course in addition to complying with the ethical rules of the profession.
The Charter of our values is not an abstract document but an integral part of the way we work; so we have shared it with everyone through our website:
Our Charter of Values expresses what we believe in and adhere to. Specifically:
The firm is a professional association of partners – both lawyers and accountants - with unlimited liability. The firm has three levels of partnership: equity partners whoparticipate in the distribution of firm revenue and the business risk, limited share partners and salaried partners whose earnings are based on a percentage of their own work. There are also two other classes of professional at senior level: of counsel, including a founding partners, and counsel, consisting of 7 external professional specialists with whom the firm has a privileged on-going relationship.
The firm also owns a company called Top Logos Srl which provides services to the Milan and Rome offices by supplying fully equipped premises, utilities, IT services, accounting services, insurance, and cleaning.
The Moscow office is a subsidiary company under Russian law (OOO) while the Brussels office is a branch of the Italian partnership.
A distinguishing feature of our firm is its stabilty, with no exits of equity partners over the past 25 years before retiring. On the other hand, there have been several promitions to and lateral hires at both equity and salaried partnership level.
We consider stability a fundamental element of our way of being, as it directly affects the serenity and quality of life, the office atmosphere and the ability of each of us to take part in a team and consequently to offer the client service of significant added value.
Our partnership is also characterized by a widespread and democratic governance founded on a consensual model, in which most of the main decisions are taken at plenary partnership meetings taking place 4 times a year. Executive and management decisions are implemented through a system of areas of responsibility assigned to groups of members (human resources, finance, plant and equipment, training and development, IT, business development and communications) or by location. There is no board of directors or managing partner. On the contrary, there is a senior partner who is the authorized representative of the partnership, and who is also responsible for ensuring cohesion, conflict resolution and safeguarding continuity of the firm's vision, culture, ethics, image and strategy.
There is no automatic mechanism for internal promotion to equity partnership. However, there are guidelines which are made known to potential candidates and that describe the key requirements for moving from senior associate to salaried partner and from salaried to equity partner. The firm's internal mobility is inspired by merit-based criteria relying on the results achieved, the ability to generate value for the firm’s community, to acquire new clients both for her/himself and for others and to quality of the professional product. The assessment is supplemented by other qualities such as a spirit of service and a commitment to maintaining a peaceful interpersonal environment and a harmonious and respectful relationship with colleagues, associates and staff.
The firm has always been funded directly by its partners and is financially self-sufficient. We have never, even during the recent pandemic, resorted to any form of external loan.
In terms of internal organization, we have steered clear of a rigid departmentalization, for several reasons:
- the services provided to our clients often require the use of teams of professionals with diverse and complementary skills, flexibly selected according to the actual expertise required from time to time;
- a moderately fluid organizational model allows each person, especially young lawyers, to identify his or her own career path and field of excellence.
COMPLIANCE AS A VALUE
As set out in Article 4 of our Charter of Values, all our practitioners must carry out their work honestly and ethically and refrain from conduct or practices that are even potentially unlawful, corrupt, collusive, or otherwise morally reprehensible or objectionable, ranging from the avoidance of any kind of favoritism to soliciting or accepting personal benefits unrelated to the profession/client relationship.
Compliance with these rules in the day-to-day life of the firm is the mission of each individual, at her or his level of responsibility and competence, for herself to himself and for those who report to her or him. In all these respects, the senior partner exercises a non-hierarchical function of last resort "listening," mediation and moral suasion.
The Firm actively complies with its legal obligations regarding anti-money laundering and data protection.
One or several partners are delegated to oversee internal compliance, including seminar and training programs for each and every professional and employee of the firm.
GENDER EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY
We are particularly proud, commencing from the firm’s inception in 1975, to have always had real and effective gender balance and equality. We currently have 10 female and 14 male partners and 16 male and 27 female associates (not counting interns and trainees). Above all, these numbers exist through a process of natural selection, without any need tocomply with predetermined quotas. This is tangible evidence that the firm simply pursues the enhancement of each individual's talent and that this driver is understood and works perfectly.
We have the same philosophy when it comes to diversity in general. We are daily immersed in a naturally international ecosystem, thanks to our Australian, English, Russian, Brazilian, French, Polish and Turkish colleagues in Milan and Rome (2 partners, 5 associates), through our offices in Belgium and Russia, through the international networks weare part of and, last but not least, thanks to our global clientele.
Our firm welcomes interns from all over the world and encourages everyone to contribute to the creation of a stimulating and vital working environment.
"In De Berti Jacchia Franchini Forlani the issue of gender equality is not a goal or a percentage that we strive to achieve: talent is all that matters, and talent has no gender"
GIANNI FORLANI | Founding Partner, Milan
ANTONELLA TERRANOVA | Partner, Rome
Article 12 of our Charter of Values states:
"The Firm encourages the training of young Professionals, new graduates and students, maintaining close relationships with universities and research bodies, welcoming interns, and organising or participating in group training and coaching projects, both at a local and international level."
In line with this objective, the Firm regularly recruits undergraduates, new graduates and young lawyers for internship, collaboration and permanent positions.
We have been collaborating for many years with the most prestigious Italian and foreign university law faculties (Luigi Bocconi University, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and Università Statale di Milano, LUISS University of Rome, Federico II University of Naples, the Universities of Trento, Salerno, Pavia, Carlo Cattaneo -LIUC of Castellanza, University of Paris 1 Pantheon - Sorbonne, the University of Florence, Pisa, Perugia, Siena and Macerata). Through ad hoc agreements, we host undergraduates and law graduates for periods of internship or for legal clinics focused on specific subjects, with opportunities for full immersion in the work environment and for continuousinteraction with colleagues at all levels.
On an international level, our firm participates in the Erasmus+ program and regularly welcomes to our offices in Milan, Rome and Brussels young foreign lawyers who wishto familiarize themselves with Italian law and professional practice.
We offer a welcoming and open environment where they can improve their skills while they are still studying or expand their knowledge. Our firm has always been recognizedas a place where you can progress, research and develop your professional career.
As proof of how successful this formula is, we are proud to say that more than half of our Brussels-based staff have found permanent professional placements with the European Commission or with the EU's specialized agencies in recent years.
For several years now, we have welcomed interns from the Sustainability Law course at the Università Statale di Milano as proof of our desire to integrate sustainability issuesinto our daily work. But it is not only essential to attract talent, it is also necessary to allow them to grow and acquire new knowledge and skills.
In this direction we feed the curiosity of young professionals to explore and "invent" new evolving subjects, such as the integration between sustainability and competition, between sustainability and governance and between sustainability and new social-based subjects.
Our Brussels team produces and distributes regular alerts and updates on European law and cases to all of our offices and to our clients. This scientific production is another of the declinations of our SHARING VALUE WITH YOU: ours is a learning profession and we believe that it is one of our tasks to share knowledge in a timely and continuousmanner.
A reason for satisfaction and further proof of the diffusion of knowledge is the interest shown by students and researchers who discover online materials published by us and who contact the firm's professionals to obtain additional information and more detail in an area before then continuing their research in a specific area.
The firm supports its young trainees and associates during their professional qualification courses, ensuring a lightening of their workload and granting periods of study leave for the preparation of their exams.
"Our profession is a learning one: by definition, it is knowledge-based. This is why we actively promote the circulation of information, both within and outside the firm"
MARIA CRISTINA FRANCHINI | Founding Partner, Milan
WELFARE AND SALARY POLICY
We understand the importance of work-life balance for both administrative staff and associate lawyers.
Long before we started talking about welfare plans, we always adapted working hours to family, health and personal needs.
There is provision for leave or adjustments to working time for marriage, maternity, paternity, family events, study, as well as vacations for administrative staff in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement for the service sector. Employees are entitled to one month of paid vacation per year, in addition to Christmas and Easter breaks.
In addition to the Charter of Values, we have two other internal documents, "The Code of Ethics and Conduct for Associate Lawyers" - in force since 2013 and signed by each new associate lawyer and intern - and "The Procedures Manual", which since 2002 has transparently regulated the behavior required of those working in the Firm in the use of the resources available to all and defines holiday and absence periods.
The firm, as a member of ASLA - Associazione Studi Legali Associati, (Association of Law Firm Partnerships) also refers to the Best Practice guidelines published by the Association in 2010 to illustrate some of the best organizational practices of member firms in their dealings with their internal staff, clients and third parties in general.
Our employees are insured at the firm's expense not only against professional injury, but also against non-professional injury. We have offered additional insurance policies - typically health insurance - at reduced rates.
With regard to salaries, we believe that professionals at every level should be fairly remunerated for their contribution from the very beginning of their careers: trainees are paid fully in line with the market and individual adjustments in subsequent years. Senior associates who have reached an appropriate level of autonomy are awarded an annual bonus commensurate with their individual performance and the overall performance of the firm, plus a sum that remunerates the introduction of new clients and contributions to expenses for professional associations and conferences.
As far as associate lawyers are concerned, three drivers are considered in determining remuneration:
- quality and content
- ability to produce turnover.
To these are added considerations linked to the greater or lesser fungibility of each person's knowledge and to his or her relationships with partners, colleagues and other staff. There are no differences in pay or in the allocation of work in relation to gender and never have been.
With the advent of the pandemic, there has been a substantial increase in the flexibility of working hours (both in the office and for home working) to enable everyone to cope with the inevitably more complex family situations arising from the management of school-age or adolescent children, the elderly and relatives suffering from illness.
"Since its foundation, the firm has actively promoted a healthy and safe working environment for all those who work in the firm, and has over time adopted a set of rules that, in a transparent manner, also helps to ensure a relaxed and cooperative working environment"
GUIDO CALLEGARI | Partner, Milan
"Technology must be at our service, and in that sense we use it in order to be able to do our job better and contribute to value generation, regardless of where we are"
MARCO FRAZZICA | Partner, Milan
BARBARA CALZA | Partner, Milan
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Along with the pandemic crisis in 2020, the firm has implemented and gradually updated its protocols in line with the new provisions of law, and introduced additional safetyand health protection measures.
In particular, the option of home working has been granted to all staff and employees other than those providing essential functions requiring a personal presence; the number of lawyers and employees in each working space has been reduced through home working shifts and individual occupation of common areas, such as meeting rooms, library and open space.
"The most precious resource we have is health, and now more than ever it is imperative to ensure the highest levels of care to allow people to travel to the office with peace of mind or to work remotely if that is not always possible"
MICHELANGELO CICOGNA | Partner, Milan
Blogs, articles and seminars
In order to give concrete meaning to SHARING VALUE WITH YOU, the firm’s public relations activities are focused on sharing our knowledge through our own and third-party communication channels.
We feed 4 blogs daily
- dejalexonbrexit, dedicated to monitoring and providing timely updates on this historic decision of the United Kingdom
- dbjwatch, designed to map the innovation promoted by companies operating in the food and tourism sectors, providing them with useful information to better understand theircontext and make decisions at whatever stage of the lifecycle their business is at,
- transportwatch, an observatory located in Brussels created by De Berti Jacchia Franchini Forlani and Studio Legale Mordiglia,, which provides a real-time overview of transport law and policy in Europe and around the world, and
- the more recent dejalexondigital, dedicated to providing updates on the evolution of the sector and the regulations governing it.
We produce articles for the international platform Lexology (1,388 articles since the collaboration began in 2016, of which 419 were in 2020), periodically organize seminarsand conferences -during the pandemic in webinar mode- and are present on Linkedin and twitter on an ongoing basis.
Professionals are also regularly involved in interviews filmed by the press and publish articles in specialist and sector publications, thus sharing knowledge openly and alsooutside the work context.
For about 15 years, our firm has been supported by specialists who deal with external communications and media relations activities.
In 2018 we concluded an ambitious rebranding project that, in addition to having made the logo more modern and visible and the coordinated image more functional, affected all communication tools, starting with presentations, offers and the website itself.
Once again, from the point of view of SHARING VALUE WITH YOU, the objective was to overcome the self-referentiality typical of many law firms, adopting a communication style closer to the needs of clients and of an audience not necessarily specialized in legal matters and of those who, especially in the digital world, approach our reality.
Finally, much of the documentation produced is becoming progressively more user-friendly in line with the trend towards legal design.
"We believe it is our duty as professionals to share our knowledge, both through our own communication channels, and through those of the media, both traditional and digital"
ROBERTO A. JACCHIA | Founding Partner, Milan
MARCO STILLO | Associate, Brussels
INTERNATIONAL AND ITALIAN PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Our firm has always been involved in pro-bono activities, both on its own and in collaboration with external associations and realities.
In particular, the firm:
of the Italian section of PILNet - a global network that aims to connect the world of NGOs with that of law firms - and of the association Pro Bono Italia, which offersconsultancy and legal representation on a voluntary basis to non-profit organisations that pursue socially useful aims and to disadvantaged people or those who have difficultyaccessing justice. The firm is among the founding members
Know Your Rights - a cultural empowerment project for people entitled to international protection and asylum seekers – with a mentor lawyer to help participants acquire a basicknowledge of legal, economic and social issues with the ultimate aim of facilitating and promoting their integration into the local economic and social fabric
"All of our professionals are fully committed to promoting throughout the world human rights and the respect of due process. The opportunity for our lawyers to contribute freely, through our professionalism and knowledge, to various public and private activities and initiatives for the protection of democracy and human values is both an honour and also an important source of personal growth for our people"
CRISTINA FUSSI | Partner, Milan
ANDREA SONINO | Partner, Milan
the peer reviewers of the Human Centered Business Model, a project initiated by the World Bank within the Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development, now coordinatedby the OECD, created with the intent of bridging the legal, ethical and economic gap that exists today between profit-oriented activities and
through a special section of the fast-growing group of associated law firms in Italy (ASLA), in a project developed in partnership with the University of Milan, in the person of Prof. Nerina Boschiero, president of the management committee of the Faculty of Law and with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA). Aspart of this project, the firm has hosted for internship periods young Ghanaian women lawyers destined to work as judges or lawyers upon their return home. The project wassuspended at the end of 2019 due to the upcoming pandemic, when two candidates had already been selected to arrive in Italy at the end of February 2020. Everything is ready for a "new beginning" as soon as the pandemic situation will allow it
ATTENTION TO THE ENVIRONMENT
In order to reduce the impact of our activities on the environment as much as possible and with specific reference to the consumption of toner plastic (toner containers and recovery trays) and paper, as well as promoting the use of recycled paper in compliance with the rules on the protection of personal data we have recently introduced multi-function printers that allow us to accurately track per-capita paper consumption and require those who make printouts to enter a personal code on the display - thus discouraging the production of unnecessary printouts.
In addition, for years now, we have eliminated plastic water bottles and disposable plastic containers and introduced a water dispensing system that allows you to draw water without waste, filling dedicated glass bottles with the desired amount of water. The system automatically puts the dispenser on stand-by when not in use allowing further energy savings.
At all locations, coffee, tea and herbal teas - organic and in pods - are served in ceramic or compostable cups.
In some locations, lights automatically turn on/off, and in all locations the heating/air conditioning automatically turns off during the late evening until early morning.
All PCs have an auto-off feature after a certain amount of time of non-use.
In some locations, the lighting for the rooms is controlled from a single panel that allows them to be switched off at the end of the day; at the same time, lighting in each room can be managed separately and therefore lights can be turned off when not strictly necessary. The firm's structure and work habits make possible individual heating and air-conditioning.
A radical reduction in the number of servers in the Milan and Rome offices has been implemented, following a challenging project to migrate data onto cloud.
"Climate change represents a central challenge for sustainable development. We believe that everyone must adopt daily measures to mitigate as much as possible our impact on the environment, thus respecting the commitment that binds us inextricably to future generations"
TIZIANA ZONA | Partner, Milan
CHIARA CALIANDRO | Associate, Milan
LOCATIONS AND EQUIPMENT
The firm has 4 offices, 3 of which (Brussels, Rome and Moscow) have changed premises in recent years.
In Milan, in the historical premises at Via San Paolo 7, designed by the architect Gio Ponti in the '60s, the main meeting room -Sala Liberty- has been renovated and a new integrated audio-video system has been installed, suitable both for the management of videoconferences with clients and colleagues, and for the projection of contents in view of a resumption of conference activities in person, and for the real time management of documents during closings and meetings. A similar system is installed in the Rome office.
The possibility of holding meetings remotely by videoconference has drastically reduced travel, producing the dual benefit of reducing both travel costs and the impact of travel - mainly by air - on the environment.
In the same direction, in the Milan office there has always been a guestroom dedicated to temporarily hosting professionals from other offices, with a reduction not only in the overall costs of travel for the benefit of clients, but also in the inconvenience of professionals moving around.
In addition, the firm has at least one kitchen in all of its offices. These kitchens are equipped to provide hot and fresh meals, as well as opportunities for socializing, whichhelp to cement interpersonal relationships and maintain a relaxed and pleasant working environment.
"The pandemic has forced us to forego travel that we thought was essential. We have learned to review Tcarefully the actual need for travel and often opt for alternatives that are just as effective, without giving up on staying close to our clients, especially in times of difficulty"
MASSIMILIANO GAZZO | Partner, Milan
ARMANDO AMBROSIO | Partner, Moscow
AND WE ARE NOT STOPPING HERE
Gathering and organizing the information presented in this document has been a valuable opportunity to describe our way of being and operating within the context of a vision, a vision projected towards the goal of sustainability, which we share by nature and made our own long before recent events made it so topical.
However, the greater awareness that has resulted from embarking on this journey has increased our desire to organize ourselves so as to further expand the areas of reflection, commit ourselves to continue our analysis and, last but not least, prepare ourselves to report the results, both as a stimulus to do increasingly better and so as to ourselves appreciate the goals achieved.
Today, we can count on internal teamwork that is dedicated to continuing to spread the culture of sustainability and supporting our firm's professionals including by updating their knowledge of the regulatory profiles.
In the introduction, we defined this document as a photograph of the journey so far; our commitment now is to transform this slide into the first scene of a movie.
SHARING VALUE WITH YOU