Studio Legal Ferrari Rei was originally established back in 1967 by a lawyer, notary and judge, Franco Pio Ferrari, who passed the mantle on to his children, Mattia Alessandro Ferrari and Chiarella Rei-Ferrari. They, in turn, have now welcomed their children into the law, with their son and daughter respectively working in the family firm and training to become a notary in Lugano.
Their three-generation commitment to the legal profession has helped the firm become a trusted and well-respected advisor for corporate and private clients in Bellinzona. The hilltop, medieval city, home to around 100,000 people, is the capital of the Canton of Ticino, located close to the Italian border.
Coming from the southern, Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, the Ferraris have always been keenly aware of the importance not only of dealing with the many differences within the nation’s boundaries, Chiarella Rei-Ferrari explains, but also of the intricacies of doing business across international frontiers.
“One of the peculiarities of Switzerland is our mix of mentalities,” Ferrari says. “We are 100% Swiss, but we are very near to Italy. I personally studied in Zurich and my brother went to school in Neuchatel and Karlsruhe in Germany, so we are very comfortable working in other languages and living together with other cultures.”
Ferrari estimates that two-thirds of the firm’s business comes from private individuals at present, thanks to its focus on family and inheritance law, while her brother, who is also a public notary, looks after corporate clients. But, she notes, Studio Legal Ferrari Rei’s small size means every lawyer is expert in a number of domains, enabling them to help people with problems in almost every aspect of their personal and professional lives.
“We pride ourselves on developing close relationships with our clients,” Ferrari continues, “Our family has worked with other local families for decades, which creates a real sense of loyalty. But we are very open to change and have full confidence in young lawyers to take our business forward.”
Today, Studio Legal Ferrari Rei is co-managed by Chiarella and Mattia, ably aided by Mattia’s son, Adam, and Riccardo Viganò, who has been with the firm for five years and who first introduced it to TEN, the European Network of Law Firms, having worked with its president, Luiza Budușan at Budușan and Associates in Romania. The firm’s growth plans could well involve opening a second office, Ferrari reveals, to better serve the increasing client’s requests.
There have been many benefits of being part of TEN, Ferrari insists. In the two years since it joined the
network, she notes, the firm has already worked with counterparts in France, Germany and Italy on matters involving company, family and legal residence law, and is now looking forward to working with TEN’s Polish member, Kanski, Kapczuk, Kniat-Borsut, on a new case.
At the same time, Ferrari highlights the value of being able to count on “highly professional and ethical”
colleagues in other countries, with whom the lawyers at Studio Legal Ferrari Rei can “consult, compare and share when we are faced with legal issues that affect small and large jurisdictions differently. We really understand one another very well and that gives our clients even greater confidence in our services.”
In 1999, Ferrari became the first woman to become President of Ticino’s Bar Association – “I thought about it and said to myself, “Why not?” she recalls – has served on local and federal legal commissions, and as a substitute judge in the canton’s appeal, civil and criminal courts. She is also active in a wide range of fields outside her profession, such as supporting performing arts and charity organisations.
Ferrari admits to having kept herself pretty busy throughout her life, “perhaps because I’m a woman,” she smiles. “I’m really passionate about my work and believe that practising the law is very creative. Every day is different and I’m happy that I get to help people resolve their problems. I always wanted to be a lawyer who was at the service of other people.”