Interview with: Angelo Bonissoni, Founding Partner

CBA Studio Legale e Tributario logo

CBA Studio Legale e Tributario

What do you see as the main points that differentiate CBA from your competitors?

CBA is an independent law and tax firm that strives to be recognised as a true multi-practice firm, moving away from the sole tax footprint that is its origin and core business.

The firm embraces change and continuous evolution, with the aim of improving its structure. This is evidenced by its move to a shared leadership model, its focus on young people through the Millennials Committee and its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

With four full offices in Italy, one in Germany and a network of international relationships, the firm guarantees quality and technical expertise, authority and creativity. The latter stems from the teams’ willingness to find solutions that are always in line with clients’ needs and ambitions.

The firm’s highly experienced, multi-disciplinary teams are able to offer integrated support and a highly client-focused approach.

This allows the firm to develop innovative projects and products in line with the client’s business, offering the client a true business partner and not just a legal advisor who is the sum of the activities of individual professionals.

The firm is a one-stop shop for clients.


Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

The Energy and Infrastructure practice is certainly set to grow over the next 12 months and beyond in line with new trends in the sector. As a matter of fact, Italy has taken significant steps in its green transition over the past years, but at the same time the current Government is also focused on making the country a “gas hub” in the Mediterranean Sea, demonstrating its ongoing deep ties to fossil fuels.

It is no coincidence in fact that the year 2024 has started with the Italy-Africa Summit and the country’s G7 presidency, both focusing on energy cooperation and addressing immigration issues through the so-called “Mattei Plan”.

Power generation is the world’s largest source of carbon dioxide emissions, as the International Energy Authority also points out in its new report Electricity 2024.

As a result, the utility sector can play a key role in reducing CO2 emissions globally by leading the energy transition through the increasing use of renewable energy and/or increasing energy efficiency projects. This means many new opportunities to advise and assist active companies in the sector that are already clients of the firm and potential new clients.

Moreover, there is a growing trend in Italy concerning Digitization and Artificial Intelligence. The energy transition is largely assisted by digitization, and in the recent months almost all sectors in Italy have tried to explore the potential of generative AI in multiple contexts. Having said that in the context of utilities, it will undoubtedly be able to contribute to the discovery of new ways of integrating and managing renewable energy.

The potential of AI is vast, especially when used for predictive purposes, to understand where and when energy will be needed and how to deliver it quickly and efficiently within a decentralized system.  Seizing new consulting opportunities and adapting to a rapidly changing regulatory framework will be increasingly crucial in 2024 and 2025.

In the area of intellectual property, the growing importance of generative artificial intelligence raises many issues to be resolved, particularly in relation to algorithm training activities using copyrighted material. The recent introduction of text and data mining exceptions in the context of training generative AI systems, the difficulty of identifying ownership of algorithms developed by one party but fed with different subject data, and the difficulty of delineating the liability profile of AI systems, provide IP and technology lawyers with an opportunity to be creative and truly tailor contracts with developers and vendors.

Another topic that will have a significant impact on our profession in the coming years is the recent Data Act, which aims to strengthen the EU’s data economy and foster a competitive data market by making data (particularly non-personal data collected by IoT devices) more accessible and usable, encouraging data-driven innovation and increasing data availability. To achieve this, the Data Act disciplines the distribution of the value of data among actors in the data economy and clarifies who can use what data and under what conditions.


What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

In order to keep up with the times and seize new opportunities, our firm is adopting an innovative approach focused on attracting millennials and strengthening our presence in Italy.

In particular, young professionals have an important role to play in defining internal training strategies and the development of specialised skills, thereby fostering their professional growth. Millennials attend industry conferences and seminars to keep up to date and make new contacts.

The firm’s further aim is to increase its coverage of the Italian market by expanding its network of collaborators and correspondents throughout the country, in order to provide capillary legal assistance; this will allow us to actively participate in trade fairs, conventions and sector events in order to increase the firm’s visibility, strengthen the network and interact with investors.

In terms of relations with the business community, the firm participates in initiatives dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation, in order to get in touch with potential clients and develop relationships with Italian investors; it organises events and workshops for entrepreneurs, offering them specialised legal advice and assistance for various needs.


Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

CBA is actively exploring technological innovation and AI with experienced professionals to improve its operations and provide innovative services to clients. In addition, the firm has developed a digital infrastructure that facilitates the sharing of content and enables not only physical but also online interactions between professionals, employees, clients and prospects.

For example, the firm uses secure platforms to share documents and monitor progress for internal and external stakeholders.

This has helped to streamline time-consuming processes and increase efficiency, optimising business processes and ensuring better results for clients.


Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

In an ever-changing marketplace, businesses need a legal partner who can offer not only a high level of legal expertise, but also a strategic overview. This is what sets our firm apart, as our clients increasingly involve us in strategic decisions and discussions on new lines of business. In this way, we make available to our clients the experience we have gained in similar situations and contribute to the definition of their strategies.


Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

Clients increasingly demand a constructive approach from lawyers: they expect not only a technician, but also a ‘manager’ who can go vertical and dig deep into issues of interest. Commodity activities are less and less in demand.