Two enormous photographs hang alongside each other in the conference room at Grigolli & Partner in Milan: one is of La Scala, the city’s opera house, the other of Bayreuth opera house in Germany.
It’s a visual symbol of the two cultures that define the firm’s founder Dr Stephan Grigolli and mirrored in the firm’s naming: Grigolli & Partner Avvocati Rechtsanwälte.
Born and raised in the multi-lingual environment of the Trentino-South Tyrol to a German mother and Italian father - a heritage spelled out in his German first name and Italian surname - Stephan always felt at home in both countries and qualified as a lawyer in both.
He started his legal career in Germany, moving later to Italy, becoming a member of the Bar Association for both Munich and Milan in the process. After having been head of the German desk at two Italian law firms, he made the move to set up his own firm in 2012, with a focus on corporate clients from German-speaking countries - especially Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
And as the newest member of Eurojuris International, the firm is keen to build on those unique cross-border credentials. Also, further afield, Stephan hopes to inspire interest in building links with Kazakhstan and neighbouring central Asian states, through his role as arbitrator for the International Arbitration Centre in Astana, Kazakhstan, and his activities in Central Asia.
The firm represents many German-speaking clients involved in distribution and production in Italy, whether through owned production sites or via commercial networks, with an ethos of avoiding problems for clients, rather than solving problems in court later. While its focus remains on commercial work - company law, labour law, distribution law, insolvency procedures - it is increasingly being asked to handle real estate for its commercial clients buying residential property in Italy.
Together with partner Giuseppe Mancini, Stephan now leads a seven-strong team in their Milan office. The firm has built a huge network of contacts at firms throughout Germany, Austria, Italy and many other countries worldwide to support clients on the ground, reflecting an ethos of knowledge-sharing and forging strong relationships, from which Stephan says joining Eurojuris was an obvious choice.
“Building personal relationships is part of our mindset, with both clients and colleagues. I love to build networks, I love to meet new people, new colleagues. I love to create synergies with experienced colleagues worldwide, to connect and share and also to give something back.”
He added: “Eurojuris has always been known to me: colleagues in Germany are members and all of them were quite excited about the potential of this network.
“I have the impression that the Eurojuris board is managing the network really well and this is very important. I feel there is the same mindset as we have in our work and we want to be part of a network that builds bridges, builds partnerships and creates synergies.”
October’s Annual Congress in Rome will bring the opportunity to build new connections with new Eurojuris colleagues and Stephan will be attending together with colleague Francesca Manara.