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Thought Leaders

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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Roberto Pisano enjoys a great international reputation as the go-to adviser in Italy for complex corporate crime matters, and stands out for his impressive understanding of international investigations and criminal proceedings.

Questions & Answers

Mr Pisano has a history of representing prominent individuals and entities in high-profile criminal proceedings, including three cases of tax fraud against the former Italian prime minister; various cases of corruption involving international corporations and their officers, extradition (including the recent FIFA investigation) and foreign appeals against asset-freezing; advising and representing foreign governments; and conducting internal investigations for foreign multinationals. He is the former co-chair of the IBA business crime committee (2007-2008) and vice chair of the ECBA (2008-2009).

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO ESTABLISH YOUR OWN BOUTIQUE LAW FIRM FOCUSING ON WHITE-COLLAR CRIME?

It is a highly sophisticated sector, where the traditional principles of criminal law have to interact with the dynamism, and need for efficiency, of the international financial world. In that context, representation at trial in particular requires a stimulating, unique combination of technical expertise and personality.

WHEN HANDLING BUSINESS CRIME CASES, WHAT MAKES STUDIO LEGALE PISANO STAND OUT FROM COMPETITORS IN THE MARKET?

For about the past 20 years, we’ve had a culture in our practice of constant work in teams with Italian and foreign counsel, experts, in-house lawyers, etc. White-collar practice is never a matter of a single individual. This is especially true now, when almost every case is highly complex and transnational. Having said that, you cannot properly and successfully defend in white-collar cases without personally studying every single detail of the case in depth.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST MEMORABLE MATTER THAT YOU’VE WORKED ON?

Three cases of international tax fraud against the former Italian prime minister, in which I represented his main co-defendant, a US film producer accused of being his hidden partner. The cases involved search-and-seizure in the US (overturned) and Hong Kong (challenged), extensive freezing of funds in Switzerland (overturned in the criminal proceedings), and other aspects. We won two cases and lost the third, with the whole country following the trials – as a result, the prime minister lost the senate seat. We hope to win before the European Court of Human Rights, where the case is currently pending.

CROSS-BORDER WHITE-COLLAR CRIME ENFORCEMENT IS EXPANDING RAPIDLY. HAS THIS AFFECTED YOUR PRACTICE?

Yes, absolutely. Most of my practice concerns multiple investigations in various jurisdictions (the US, the UK, Germany, the Middle East, South East Asia, etc), especially for corruption and tax fraud allegations involving international corporations, as well as their managers and foreign consultants. This creates a need to coordinate with foreign counsel at all stages of the defence – including challenges to the various freezing orders and letters of request to foreign authorities, which are frequently issued in these scenarios. There are no recent high-profile investigations or prosecutions that have not involved extensive cooperation and exchange of evidence with foreign authorities, and freezing orders in foreign jurisdictions. 

WHAT IMPACT HAVE STRICTER COMPLIANCE PROGRAMMES AND A FOCUS ON CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AROUND THE WORLD HAD ON YOUR PRACTICE?

There is no doubt that corporate criminal liability laws in various states, especially in the past two decades, have had a significant impact on the practice of criminal law. In Italy, for instance, as of 2001 prosecutions can be brought against corporate entities (including foreign ones) in relation to a range of crimes committed by their managers or employees, who have acted in the interests or for the benefit of the corporation. In that context, where corporations and multinational groups become the targets of criminal investigations, compliance programmes play a crucial role in excluding or mitigating corporate responsibility. This has clearly had an impact on the way lawyers practise criminal law, and advise corporate entities (especially listed ones), with regard to prosecuting and judicial authorities – and on the way internal investigations are conducted, acting in the interests of corporate clients.

THE INCREASING PROMINENCE OF ANTI-BRIBERY AND ANTI-CORRUPTION WORK IN THE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE HAS SEEN MANY LAW FIRMS BEEF UP THEIR WHITE-COLLAR CRIME CAPABILITIES IN RECENT YEARS. IS THIS A TREND YOU’VE NOTICED? HOW HAS IT AFFECTED YOUR PRACTICE?

Yes, it is a noticed trend and a welcome one too, because it increases the number of qualified advisers in the field. In an Italian context, however, representation at trial is still the work of boutique firms of experienced trial lawyers, who do not compete with the larger law firms but, rather, work in synergy with them and offer complementary skills. This all makes the current practice of white-collar crime much more complex, challenging and appealing.

HOW DO YOU INTEND TO CONTINUE COMPETING WITH LARGER FIRMS IN THIS SPACE? ARE NETWORKS AND STRATEGIC ALLIANCES IMPORTANT TO ENSURE THAT YOU OFFER CLIENTS CROSS-BORDER CAPABILITIES?

As I’ve said, in the Italian context there is no competition between boutiques and the larger firms – there is, instead, synergy and complementary skills. Internationally, it is crucial to develop fruitful working relationships with the most knowledgeable lawyers of various countries, because they will be the key factor for success when the case arises.

Global Leader

Asset Recovery 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Roberto Pisano is one of Italy's greatest asset recovery specialists who wins extensive praise from sources for his profound ability in international white-collar crime investigations. 

Biography

Roberto Pisano is the founder and managing partner of Studio Legale Pisano, an Italian boutique firm which specialises in all areas of white-collar crime including transnational investigations, recovery of assets, mutual legal assistance and extradition.

Mr Pisano has a history of representing prominent individuals and entities in high-profile Italian criminal proceedings, including various cases of corruption involving international corporations and their top officials (with multiple investigations in the US, the UK, France etc); various cases of extradition, including the recent FIFA investigation by the US authorities and representation of foreign states; three cases of alleged tax fraud involving the former Italian prime minister; a case involving a major US bank in the bankruptcy of the Parmalat group; a case involving a claim for restitution of antiquities by the Italian ministry of culture, in which Mr Pisano represented a prominent US museum; various appeals in foreign jurisdictions (eg the USA, Hong Kong, Switzerland etc) against seizure and confiscation of assets; Italian criminal counsel for foreign multinationals conducting internal investigations. Mr Pisano also advises and represents relevant foreign governments.

Mr Pisano obtained a law degree, summa cum laude, from the State University of Milan in 1992, and a PhD from the University of Genoa in 1999. Between 1993 and 1997 he was a research associate at Bocconi University of Milan where he has since spent many years working as a contract professor on business and tax crimes. Mr Pisano was co-chair of the business crime committee of the IBA in 2007 and 2008 and vice chair of the ECBA in 2008 and 2009. He is the author of several publications on the subject of business crime and mutual legal assistance.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Roberto Pisano is commended by sources for his excellent business crime defence practice pertaining to money laundering, corruption and bankruptcy-related crimes. 

Biography

Roberto Pisano is the founder and managing partner of Studio Legale Pisano, an Italian boutique firm which specialises in all areas of white-collar crime including transnational investigations, recovery of assets, mutual legal assistance and extradition.

Mr Pisano has a history of representing prominent individuals and entities in high-profile Italian criminal proceedings, including various cases of corruption involving international corporations and their top officials (with multiple investigations in the US, the UK, France etc); various cases of extradition, including the recent FIFA investigation by the US authorities and representation of foreign states; three cases of alleged tax fraud involving the former Italian prime minister; a case involving a major US bank in the bankruptcy of the Parmalat group; a case involving a claim for restitution of antiquities by the Italian ministry of culture, in which Mr Pisano represented a prominent US museum; various appeals in foreign jurisdictions (eg the USA, Hong Kong, Switzerland etc) against seizure and confiscation of assets; Italian criminal counsel for foreign multinationals conducting internal investigations. Mr Pisano also advises and represents relevant foreign governments.

Mr Pisano obtained a law degree, summa cum laude, from the State University of Milan in 1992, and a PhD from the University of Genoa in 1999. Between 1993 and 1997 he was a research associate at Bocconi University of Milan where he has since spent many years working as a contract professor on business and tax crimes. Mr Pisano was co-chair of the business crime committee of the IBA in 2007 and 2008 and vice chair of the ECBA in 2008 and 2009. He is the author of several publications on the subject of business crime and mutual legal assistance.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Roberto Pisano is commended by sources for his excellent business crime defence practice pertaining to money laundering, corruption and bankruptcy-related crimes. 

Biography

Roberto Pisano is the founder and managing partner of Studio Legale Pisano, an Italian boutique firm which specialises in all areas of white-collar crime including transnational investigations, recovery of assets, mutual legal assistance and extradition.

Mr Pisano has a history of representing prominent individuals and entities in high-profile Italian criminal proceedings, including various cases of corruption involving international corporations and their top officials (with multiple investigations in the US, the UK, France etc); various cases of extradition, including the recent FIFA investigation by the US authorities and representation of foreign states; three cases of alleged tax fraud involving the former Italian prime minister; a case involving a major US bank in the bankruptcy of the Parmalat group; a case involving a claim for restitution of antiquities by the Italian ministry of culture, in which Mr Pisano represented a prominent US museum; various appeals in foreign jurisdictions (eg the USA, Hong Kong, Switzerland etc) against seizure and confiscation of assets; Italian criminal counsel for foreign multinationals conducting internal investigations. Mr Pisano also advises and represents relevant foreign governments.

Mr Pisano obtained a law degree, summa cum laude, from the State University of Milan in 1992, and a PhD from the University of Genoa in 1999. Between 1993 and 1997 he was a research associate at Bocconi University of Milan where he has since spent many years working as a contract professor on business and tax crimes. Mr Pisano was co-chair of the business crime committee of the IBA in 2007 and 2008 and vice chair of the ECBA in 2008 and 2009. He is the author of several publications on the subject of business crime and mutual legal assistance.

Investigations

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Roberto Pisano is a highly sophisticated practitioner with impressive experience across a variety of jurisdictions advising clients on sensitive criminal issues.

Biography

Roberto Pisano is the founder and managing partner of Studio Legale Pisano, an Italian boutique firm which specialises in all areas of white-collar crime including transnational investigations, recovery of assets, mutual legal assistance and extradition.

Mr Pisano has a history of representing prominent individuals and entities in high-profile Italian criminal proceedings, including various cases of corruption involving international corporations and their top officials (with multiple investigations in the US, the UK, France etc); various cases of extradition, including the recent FIFA investigation by the US authorities and representation of foreign states; three cases of alleged tax fraud involving the former Italian prime minister; a case involving a major US bank in the bankruptcy of the Parmalat group; a case involving a claim for restitution of antiquities by the Italian ministry of culture, in which Mr Pisano represented a prominent US museum; various appeals in foreign jurisdictions (eg the USA, Hong Kong, Switzerland etc) against seizure and confiscation of assets; Italian criminal counsel for foreign multinationals conducting internal investigations. Mr Pisano also advises and represents relevant foreign governments.

Mr Pisano obtained a law degree, summa cum laude, from the State University of Milan in 1992, and a PhD from the University of Genoa in 1999. Between 1993 and 1997 he was a research associate at Bocconi University of Milan where he has since spent many years working as a contract professor on business and tax crimes. Mr Pisano was co-chair of the business crime committee of the IBA in 2007 and 2008 and vice chair of the ECBA in 2008 and 2009. He is the author of several publications on the subject of business crime and mutual legal assistance.

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Roberto Pisano is a much-respected figure who wins recommendations from peers for his world-class practice, which encompasses transnational investigations, asset recovery and extradition matters.

Biography

Roberto Pisano is the founder and managing partner of Studio Legale Pisano, an Italian boutique firm which specialises in all areas of white-collar crime including transnational investigations, recovery of assets, mutual legal assistance and extradition.

Mr Pisano has a history of representing prominent individuals and entities in high-profile Italian criminal proceedings, including various cases of corruption involving international corporations and their top officials (with multiple investigations in the US, the UK, France etc); various cases of extradition, including the recent FIFA investigation by the US authorities and representation of foreign states; three cases of alleged tax fraud involving the former Italian prime minister; a case involving a major US bank in the bankruptcy of the Parmalat group; a case involving a claim for restitution of antiquities by the Italian ministry of culture, in which Mr Pisano represented a prominent US museum; various appeals in foreign jurisdictions (eg the USA, Hong Kong, Switzerland etc) against seizure and confiscation of assets; Italian criminal counsel for foreign multinationals conducting internal investigations. Mr Pisano also advises and represents relevant foreign governments.

Mr Pisano obtained a law degree, summa cum laude, from the State University of Milan in 1992, and a PhD from the University of Genoa in 1999. Between 1993 and 1997 he was a research associate at Bocconi University of Milan where he has since spent many years working as a contract professor on business and tax crimes. Mr Pisano was co-chair of the business crime committee of the IBA in 2007 and 2008 and vice chair of the ECBA in 2008 and 2009. He is the author of several publications on the subject of business crime and mutual legal assistance.

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