The story of LabLaw, awarded by Top Legal as best law firm 2021 in the work category for “the assistance to GKN for the closure of the Florentine factory and the redundancy of about 430 employees “(the layoffs were also blocked by the Court as they are in contrast with the articles of the Workers’ Statute, ed), opens a Pandora’s box on the mechanisms and logic behind these awards. Just as the composition of the commission which awards the prizes, of which they are part legal managers of numerous public companies.
Top Legal is a bimonthly industry magazine directed by Michael Di Palma who is also its founder. Former communication consultant of the Fiat group, Di Palma, as you can read from his Linkedin profile, is now writing a book on Aristotle and Rousseau. Di Palma has dedicated numerous writings to the Swiss philosopher. Top Legal also manages one “Academy”, i.e. courses in legal subjects that are taught by professionals. The award-winning Francesco Rotondi is, for example, Scientific Director of the master in labor law, industrial and management of the social parts “HR & Labour Law” right at the Top Legal Academy. The mechanism of selection of the teaching staff is curious since here are the teachers who pay to teach the course and not vice versa. In addition, the courses, which students pay for, are held in the law firms participating in the initiative. In short, for the organizers no cost but only profits.
Each year the group then organizes the competition to select what should be the best law firms, sector by sector. In all the prizes are 35 between individual and study awards, ranging from industrial law to criminal law, naturally passing through work. After all, the more rewards, the more the organization earns. As stated in the regulation, to be rewarded is mandatory attend the ceremony. To attend it is necessary to reserve a table which would cost approximately 5 thousand euros. The regulation is careful to specify that different studios cannot join for share the same table. Whereas the finalists are between 5 and 8 for each category, there are about sixty tables at stake (some studies appear in several categories) for a collection that in spans is worth some hundreds of thousands of euros. This year he was conducting the awards ceremony Cristiano Militello from Strip the News.
Of course a private publishing group can organize its awards and ceremonies as it sees fit. If these are the modalities, however, it seems more questionable that they are also part of the commission manager of public companies. In the group that awarded this year’s awards there were for example Umberto Baldi from Snam (31% controlled by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and then the Ministry of the Treasury), Giulio Fazio head of legal affairs of Enel (23.5% of the Treasury), Domenico Galli of Trenitalia (100% public), Cosimo Matarazzo of Sace (all 100% of Cdp) e Francesco Bernocchi of the Italian strategic fund of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti. In the commission there were also David Benello e Michele Scibetta respectively president and head of legal affairs of the group Sirti, private but which made use of the same study LabLaw for collective redundancy procedures of 764 employees. In short, not really a guarantee of impartiality. Ilfattoquotidiano.it tried to contact Top Legal to get some confirmations on the methods of awarding prizes and the Academy’s course system. But no response from the magazine.
The fact that the award criteria are not exactly crystal clear is well known in the environment of professionals in the sector. But the prizes are tempting. Also because they are now part of the criteria examined by companies to assign tasks. A practice also followed by publicly owned or wholly state-owned companies. Top Legal is not the only editorial entity to organize industry awards. There are also those from editorial publications Legal Community e The sources. Also in these cases the presence at the evening (and therefore the reservation of the table) is an essential condition to be rewarded.