Linklaters has made a senior addition to its Milan office, with the hire of corporate veteran Roberto Casati from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

Casati will join the Magic Circle firm as a partner next week in a move that will bolster its office in the northern Italian business and financial hub.

Prior to joining Cleary in 2004, Casati was Italian senior partner at Allen & Overy and one of three co-heads of the Magic Circle firm’s global corporate management committee.

That move made waves in the Italian legal market at the time, as he joined Cleary as its first partner to be based full-time in Milan, with the deal putting him at the top of the U.S. firm’s lockstep.

Casati advised on many major deals while at Cleary. Months after joining from Allen & Overy he secured a headline mandate for the firm, advising Italian industrial group Finmeccanica on its £1 billion ($1.39 billion) purchase of GKN’s stake in AgustaWestland.

During the global financial crash in 2008, he co-led the firm’s team advising Italian bank UniCredit on its deal to secure up to €6.6 billion ($8.2 billion) of funding, while in 2013 he advised top Italian football club Inter Milan on its takeover by a consortium of Indonesian investors.

“Linklaters is a perfect platform and I think their Italian practice is excellent,” Casati told ALM’s London-based publication Legal Week. “I hope I can bring a good level of seniority to the offering.”

Last year, Linklaters deepened its Italian offering when it opened a lower-cost legal center in the southern Italian city of Lecce. In addition to its office in Milan, the Magic Circle firm also has a base in Rome.

Other international firms have made inroads in the country last year, including DWF, which opened a Milan office with the hire of a 16-strong team from local independent Pavia & Ansaldo. Herbert Smith Freehills also plans to open an office in Milan this year, on the back of the hire of Simmons & Simmons Italy dispute resolution and intellectual property head Laura Orlando.

However, a number of law firms have downsized their presence in Italy in recent years. AshurstSimmons & Simmons, and McDermott Will & Emery all have closed bases in Rome over the past three years.

Cleary Gottlieb wished Casati well in his new job.

“We thank Roberto for his significant contributions to the development of our Italian corporate practice during the past 14 years,” Rome partner Giuseppe Scassellati-Sforzolini said. “We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”