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THE LEGAL 500 > EVENTS > GC Summit - Milan

GC Summit - Milan

On 31 May, The Legal 500 and Baker McKenzie hosted some of the leading general counsel in Italy for an evening discussing political change and its effect on businesses. The panoramic views of Milan from the 39th floor of the Palazzo Lombardia provided an excellent setting for the guests to consider how political events over the last year have impacted the role of the general counsel in Italy. More specifically, what role are GCs playing when it comes to advising on political events like Brexit?

The world is changing in a way we have not seen for a generation: Brexit, Trump, Putin, and increasingly unpredictable elections have made the environment in which business operates more challenging. For their legal advisers, finding new ways to address this change is becoming a priority.

The evening began with an introduction from Ambassador Philip T. Reeker, The United States Consul General in Milan. Mr Reeker’s international experience has given him a unique insight into transnational politics and the effects that uncertainty can have on both multinational and domestic business decisions.

After Mr Reeker set the scene, and added some of his own predictions for the future, he was joined by a number of legal experts to consider some of the key questions on this topic during a panel discussion. Representing the spectrum of multinational companies, domestic Italian business and private practice, the panel considered their approaches to demystifying risk associated with political change.

As the conversation continued it became clear that regardless of whether the panel was talking about Brexit, President Trump or other political upheaval, GCs have spent a great deal of time considering the risk for their companies, and the potential opportunities – it was also clear that there is a lot of work to try and make the unknown known.

Understanding these “black swan” events requires a combination of legal and business knowledge as well as a high level of adaptability. Lawyers have a good position within their businesses to see the risk and change across departments and geographies. Some of the most common problems seem to be rooted in competition law, data privacy matters and cross-department collaboration to ensure cohesion; in all of these things, the general counsel will be exceedingly important for the guidance of their companies.

"The Baker McKenzie / Legal 500 seminar provided a timely platform for discussion of issues like Brexit and trans-Atlantic relations. The work and interests of corporate general counsels often parallels what we follow through diplomacy: the impact of personalities and policies on regulatory environments, trade, investment, and strategic risk management." - Amb. Philip T. Reeker, U.S. Consul General, Milan, Italy


  • Sandra Mori European general counsel, Coca-Cola
  • Paola Nocerino general counsel, Air Liquide Italy
  • Tanya Jaeger de Foras vice president and chief legal officer – EMEA, Whirlpool
  • Pietro Bernasconi head of corporate and commercial and M&A practice groups – Italy, Baker McKenzie
  • Ambassador Philip T. Reeker U.S. Consul General, Milan, Italy

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