For Gianluca Carlesso, not all roads lead to Rome

From the small market of Tirana, in Albania, Romania was an upgrade for Gianluca Carlesso. The first time he came to Romania in 2007, Carlesso was leading law firm Tonucci and Partners’ office in Albania and was in Bucharest for a meeting with a client. He went on to join the Bucharest subsidiary of the firm, continuing his international quest.

By Corina Saceanu

“The first impression was that the country had big potential for business and that it needed improvements,” says Gianluca Carlesso. He had the opportunity to return for a short period of time between 2007 and 2009 and in 2009 he finally moved here with  Tonucci and Partners’ office in Bucharest.

Albania may have been a small market, but it was also a place where many of the business people and politicians from Italy were easier to meet. As for Romania, with its many Italian investors, it offered the law firm – and Carlesso – the possibility to get clients which it might not have got in Italy, where the competition is bigger on the legal services market.

In Albania, the firm is ranking in the first band in the Chambers and Partners rankings and Carlesso was described as “immensely talented” and offering “incisive and clear advice.” In Romania, he works with a team of 15 people and says team work come first, as people need to feel they are part of the business.

Gianluca Carlesso knew early on he wanted to become a lawyer. He studied in Rome, got his law degree and then went further to get some international exposure and experience. He got his master degree in law in Dublin. From then on, his international quest started – he has worked in the US, in San Francisco and then in Albania, in Tirana. “I wanted to have the chance to do this business abroad, and getting experience in Italy only wouldn’t have helped,” he says.

The Romanian market, with its still young legal practice, is challenging for Carlesso. He gets to use some of his experience from more mature markets, but can also find new ways of dealing with projects.

“Experience may be heavy sometimes, so it is important to have a different perspective, also given by young people on a young market, like Romania’s,” says Carlesso.

The move to Romania was challenging not only on a business level, but on a personal level as well. Carlesso is passionate about traveling, discovering new cultures, new people and new countries. It was interesting for hims to discover the Eastern European region, which had been secluded before 1989 and about which he didn’t know many things.

What has he learned while in Romania? “Never give up and you’ll have the possibility to learn something new every day in Romania. You also need to check whether you are on the track with your goals,” he says.

With a time consuming job and with clients deciding the time table, there’s not much room for ahything else than work. Gianluca Carlesso likes to play golf during the week-ends, travel – both for business and on a personal level, listen to music and read. He also enjoys skiing and when he was young, he used to play piano.

When it comes to his trade, “Clients are always coming to us with problems, so we have to find solutions. We cannot say ‘There is no solution for this’, even if there is not a very obvious one, we have to find one. This is the challenging part of the job,” he says.

Giving legal opinions based on facts and on the law is a must in Carlesso’s view, as opposed to giving merely opinions. “I can write well, but if I don’t get to the point, I won’t help my client. We need to offer usable advise for people who make the decisions,” he says.

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