Portolano Cavallo > Milan, Italy > Firm Profile

Portolano Cavallo
20123 MILAN

Italy > Data privacy and data protection Tier 1

The specialist lawyers at Portolano Cavallo‘s market-leading privacy and data protection practice bring extensive experience to handling a wide range of data law issues. Examples includes high-profile disputes and breaches, launches of new initiatives to exploit data, and M&A and employment-related data protection work. With a longstanding focus on internet and data protection matters, Laura Liguori‘s sector expertise covers advertising, marketing, life sciences, fashion and luxury goods. Giulio Novellini‘s wide-ranging practice covers all aspects of EU data protection. Eleonora Curreli is an expert in privacy and cybersecurity.

Practice head(s):

Laura Liguori

Other key lawyers:


‘They are very competent and very attentive to clients’ needs.’

‘Willing to listen and identify innovative solutions by appropriately assessing the risks.’

‘Best privacy and data protection practice in town.’

‘They are very efficient, practical and pragmatic, with strong legal knowledge! An excellent combination.’

‘The practice is very much on the front edge of innovation – it is always up to date on new technology and how innovation is changing the data privacy rules.’

‘The firm stands out as an example in relation to diversity.’

‘Laura Liguori is an outstanding lawyer who is always available and hugely competent.’

‘Laura Liguori and her team are really capable- highly knowledgeable, very flexible.’

Italy > Industry focus: Healthcare and life sciences Tier 1

Portolano Cavallo advises major healthcare and life sciences clients on transactional/contractual, IP, compliance and regulatory, product liability and litigation matters. Luca Gambini and Elisa Stefanini lead the practice group. Gambini has a particular strength in M&A transactions relating to the life sciences sector, whilst Stefanini focuses on regulatory and compliance matters for pharma, biotech and med-tech clients. Andrea Gritti joined the firm from Gianni & Origoni in March 2023, with Gianpaolo Scandone following from Gatti Pavesi Bianchi Ludovici in June 2023. In July 2023, Enzo Marasà was promoted to partner.

Practice head(s):

Elisa Stefanini; Luca Gambini


‘Fully reliable team; technically expert; innovative entrepreneurial approach.’

‘Independent firm able to mobilize resources while innovating in its services.’

Fully reliable team with a cost effective approach, technically expert, innovative Entrepreneurial approach Independant firm able to mobilize resources while innovating in its services.’

The team led by Elisa Stefanini is capable of providing extremely accurate legal opinions with a practical and concrete approach, taking into account the peculiarity of each case. There is always extreme clarity in communications and great attention to timing. I really appreciate the focus on industry standards and developments.’

Work highlights


Italy > Industry focus: TMT Tier 1

Sought out by several Fortune Global 500 companies as well as start-up technology companies, Portolano Cavallo is renowned in the Italian TMT market, and can regularly be found advising on data protection and regulation, copyright licensing and contracts, rights clearance and competition matters. Ernesto Apa specialises in the exploitation of digital content, as well as television and audiovisual services, while Laura Liguori notably focuses on data protection and privacy, compliance and litigation in the advertising and marketing fields. Francesco Portolano is skilled in M&A, private equity and venture capital matters, whereas Donata Cordone and Fabiana Bisceglia are recommended for their knowledge of advertising assessment and consumer protection law compliance.

Practice head(s):

Ernesto Apa; Laura Liguori; Francesco Portolano

Other key lawyers:


‘This firm remains unique in its approach to clients in Italy. Every issue or matter is automatically addressed in all its aspects, involving team members in the most time and cost-efficient way. This is even more evident in the TMT area, where the firm boasts the presence of real top players.’

‘Ernesto Apa is a point of reference for everyone in the industry who recognises his profound expertise. Having him at one’s side ensures that one’s positions are adequately represented in all venues, hence the attention of stakeholders. Francesco Portolano combines unquestionable technical expertise with the ability to always negotiate to the best of his ability, presenting to the client the pros and cons of each option on the table.’

‘The main difference between Portolano and the other firms I have worked with is their enormous expertise and deep knowledge of the market in which I work. They are also pragmatic thinkers, which is a great help, especially when quick but considered decisions have to be made at company level. The result is that we do not talk about legal issues but about business opportunities.’

‘Both Francesco Portolano and Ernesto Apa have been business partners for a long time and their incredible ability is their deep study, analysis and understanding of the overall business that makes legal advice much stronger and more appropriate to business objectives.’

‘Great firm, great team of lawyers. They are responsive and experts in their field, the advice provided is concise and with a clear risk assessment.’

‘Very responsive and clear in their advice, they take a pragmatic approach and focus on finding creative solutions.’

‘I consider Portolano Cavallo to be one of the top 5 firms in the TMT sector. Regarding all regulatory aspects of the media industry, we have not found any other firm that can compete with Portolano Cavallo in Italy.’

‘I work with Ernesto Apa mainly on the regulatory aspects of the media industry. Ernesto Apa’s encyclopedic knowledge of the media regulatory framework, combined with his business acumen, professionalism and trusted institutional contacts, make him a star in the Italian market in his area of expertise (media regulation, consumer law and intellectual property).’

Work highlights

Italy > Intellectual property

Portolano Cavallo fields a team of experienced practitioners who regularly advise clients from the TMT, fashion and luxury goods, automotive as well as healthcare and life sciences sectors on an array of IP-related issues. Copyright and trademark infringement, regulatory copyright matters, infringement of image rights and defamation are among the areas covered by the team. In patent litigation and enforcement, practice head Lydia Mendola is the key contact; she routinely handles complex disputes for violations of trademarks and patents, design and copyrights. Maria Balestriero notably assists pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, while Chiara Marchisotti focuses on the film, publishing, digital and fashion industries.

Practice head(s):

Lydia Mendola


‘The firm’s assistance in audiovisual matters ensures quick feedback up-to-date with legislation and regulations and a proactive approach in all areas even not yet clearly regulated or recently regulated.’

‘The lawyers are very competent and their contribution has always been an important added value. The opinions requested are always provided promptly and are complete and effective.’

‘People immediately understand the needs and propose useful solutions that are well suited to the situation brought to their attention.’

‘Great firm, great team of lawyers. Experts in their field. Responsive and the advice is clear and concise, with clear risk assessments.’

‘Very responsive and clear in their advice, they take a pragmatic approach and focus on finding creative solutions.’

‘The PC team is always extremely responsive. In view of often tight deadlines they make sure we always receive a confirmation of receipt of the request, which is very reassuring!’

‘The Portolano Cavallo team is always well prepared and up to date. They have an excellent knowledge of several industry sectors. ’

‘The team has excellent lawyers who are able to deal with complex matters involving different countries. They have an amazing knowledge of business/industry sectors.’

Work highlights

Italy > Industry focus: Luxury goods Tier 3

Portolano Cavallo advises fashion houses as well as jewellery, cosmetic and automotive companies on any issues that may arise in the course of their business. Manuela Cavallo assists clients on M&A transactions, joint ventures and private equity matters in the fashion sector. Irene Picciano acts in regulatory, compliance, EU and competition matters. In addition, Lydia Mendola supports the firm’s luxury goods clients through IP disputes over trademark, patent or copyright violations. Barbara Corsetti is also noted for experience in commercial contracts and corporate law.  

Practice head(s):

Manuela Cavallo; Irene Picciano; Lydia Mendola; Barbara Corsetti

Work highlights

Italy > Dispute resolution Tier 4

Portolano Cavallo focuses its litigation practice on its specialties: TMT, data protection, health, life sciences and luxury goods. The team is well versed in litigation and arbitration. Practice heads Martina Lucenti and Micael Montinari are experienced litigators and arbitrators, with experience in ad hoc and managed, domestic and international arbitrations.

Practice head(s):

Micael Montinari; Martina Lucenti


‘A wide range of competence fields and able to suggest the right way even if it was not your initial idea.’

‘Strong skills in litigation. Excellent strategy for each particular argument. Flexible in process, reasonable advice and fast reaction for defendant’s objections.’

‘Martina Lucenti is a very strong professional, pro-active. Can explain legal situation either to lawyer or to top manager with no legal background, which helps a lot in decision making.’

‘Martina Lucenti is simply amazing. She shares valuable insights at every step.’

‘The team do not only think in terms of the letter of the law but are solution-oriented.’

‘It is a very well organized team, it is clear that they work very well together and make things very easy. They are very agile when it comes to organizing work with external professionals and other experts if necessary.’

Italy > EU and competition law Tier 4

Portolano Cavallo has broad expertise in all the areas of competition law, assisting clients in the media, fashion, life sciences, and automotive sectors in complex antitrust, regulatory, copyright and contractual issues. The team is jointly led by Irene Picciano, recognised for advising multinational clients in cartel and abuse of dominance cases, and newly promoted partner Enzo Marasà, who consistently handles complex antitrust, merger control, and unfair practices matters before the European Commission, the AGCM and national courts.

Practice head(s):

Enzo Marasà; Irene Picciano


‘The deep personal involvement of the partners, the positive flexibility and the personalised approach to each case make the Portolano Cavallo team invaluable for us as clients.’

‘Working with Portolano’s competition law and EU team gives the feeling of being looked after by professionals, as well as nice and friendly people. Among other things, we would like to mention the strict adherence to deadlines and the reliability’.

‘The team’s main quality is the ability to combine knowledge and experience in complex matters with ease of interpretation for clients.’

‘Excellent expertise in competition law.’

‘Irene Picciano is among the best EU and competition lawyers I have ever met. A perfect combination of first-class expertise and strategic vision. She also has an unparalleled knowledge of niche EU regulations.’

‘Deep knowledge of EU and competition law practice.’

‘Enzo Marasà is a leading Italian expert in competition law. He is very responsive. It is always a pleasure to work with him.’

Italy > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 5

Portolano Cavallo is traditionally focused on M&A transactions in the digital, media and technology sectors. Francesco Portolano, who has longstanding experience in M&A, private equity and venture capital, as well as joint ventures and corporate governance, co-leads the team with fellow name partner Manuela Cavallo, Antonia Verna and Tommaso Foco.

Practice head(s):

Francesco Portolano; Manuela Cavallo; Antonia Verna; Tommaso Foco

Other key lawyers:

Luca Gambini; Ginevra Sforza


‘A lean and efficient team that is focused on closing deals.’

‘They go beyond the pure legal issues and explain all aspects of the problem, helping the clients achieve their overall goals.’

Italy > Employment Tier 5

Portolano Cavallo is familiar with employment law matters across industries, with a particular strength in the digital and media sectors. The firm is expert in issues relating to special collective agreements, social security and changes connected to technology in the workplace. Andrea Gangemi is the head of practice and specialises in employment contracts for senior management, consultation agreements, incentives and dismissals.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Gangemi


‘Portolano’s employment team are collaborative and reliably responsive.’

‘Andrea Gangemi is a valued partner for all matters concerning Italy.’

‘Andrea Gangemi is super responsive and commercial in his approach. He has a thorough knowledge of the law and gives the answers without burdening clients with too much legal detail.’

Work highlights

Italy > Private equity

Active on behalf of digital, media, technology and life sciences funds, Portolano Cavallo bolstered its Milan practice during 2023 through the recruitment of private equity deal specialists Andrea Gritti and Gianpaolo Scandone from Gianni & Origoni and Gatti Pavesi Bianchi Ludovici, respectively.

Italy > Compliance

Portolano Cavallo's compliance practice, headed up by Milan-based Irene Picciano, covers both advisory and investigations work, advising clients on corporate, antitrust, labour, privacy, product and trade compliance issues.

Portolano Cavallo was founded in 2001 by partners Manuela Cavallo and Francesco Portolano.

Portolano Cavallo provides legal advice to companies operating in complex and evolving sectors: it is a leader in the digital, media, technology and the life sciences sectors, in addition to being recognized in the fashion/luxury field.

The firm’s practice areas range from litigation to M&A and venture capital, from emerging companies to the exploitation and protection of all forms of intellectual property, from employment to data protection, privacy and cyber-security issues, from technology transactions to antitrust and regulatory issues and white collar crime/investigations.

In all these areas, Portolano Cavallo is recognized by multiple legal Italian and international rankings and awards.

Service: Technical excellence, although essential, is not enough to satisfy clients’ expectations. Client satisfaction also depends on the quality of service. Our firm applies service levels that are typical of the legal profession in the United States and United Kingdom, characterized by accessibility, availability, responsiveness and reliability in meeting deadlines. For example, we return calls as soon as possible, generally within two hours; we are available outside normal business hours if required; we communicate with our clients and others in a comprehensible manner that is appropriate to their background.

Our firm provides assistance in areas of activity that are complex and in continual evolution: from corporate questions and disputes to support in M&A processes, from venture capital operations to commercial contracts, from protection of the diverse forms of intellectual property to labor disputes.

Thanks to a systematic activity of analysis, research up-dating and training, our professionals are able to furnish rigorous solutions in these areas that are, at the same time, innovative and pragmatic.

The firm covers the following specific areas of activity:

And the following industries: