“Negozio Giuridico” is not just the name of our store. It is a central concept of Italian jurisprudence that describes any act resulting from the manifestation of an individual’s will, whose results are legally recognized and can be regulated by law. Examples of negozi giuridici are contracts, marriages, and wills. Anyone who has studied Italian law will appreciate the pun between this overarching concept that has caused them many headaches, and walking into an actual negozio – a store – that sells legal advice and assistance.
The NEGOZIO GIURIDICO® opened in April 2005, and is the first such experience in Italy. It clearly is a departure from other initiatives that followed the implementation of the Bersani Law of August 2006 regarding the safeguards on competition in the service sector (e.g. A.L.T. - Assistenza Legale per Tutti, or Legal Assistance for All, opened in Milan in January 2008), because it is not just a traditional lawyers’ office with a storefront. Rather, we have our own philosophy, clearly grounded on a distinct perspective of the legal profession, and focusing on its preventive and conciliatory aspects. The Negozio stems from an idea by Dr. Chiara Romeo, a Genoa lawyer who has been practicing since 1989. Passionate about all aspects of her chosen profession, Dr. Romeo has served as the Secretary for the local trade union, and has also been active at the national level within the Associazione Nazionale Forense, the largest lawyers’ association and trade union in Italy. She also took part in the planning of conferences and other initiatives by the Genoa Bar Association and the Cassa Nazionale Forense, a State-run pension fund for the legal profession.
The Negozio therefore is not a mere spontaneous improvisation, born out of nowhere; instead, it is the end result of the experiences and reflections gathered in twenty years of professional activity, a period during which the concepts of free competition and consumer protection have truly come of age in Europe; at the same time, the Internet has come into its own too, offering an unprecedented freedom of communication and circulation of ideas.
The creation of the Negozio was also inspired by more picturesque experiences, such as finding the desks of clerks, often retired court employees, who write out petitions and claims for the illiterate on the steps of the law courts in Cuzco (Peru), and Ankara (Turkey); and encountering the street lawyers of New York. The core philosophy of the Negozio is born of the observation of a world dominated by an apparent contradiction: there are countries where the professions are carried out in almost “medieval” fashion, while in others they are highly technological; in both cases however, the complexity of the societies in which they function, their laws and relationships, more often than not leaves the layman disoriented.
The Negozio aims to answer the hurdles and inefficiencies of a system wherein turning to an attorney is no longer the last resort and the exception; rather, it is the rule, and one ever more strictly observed.
At the same time, the Negozio aims to revolutionize the public image of the lawyer, opting for an “approachable professional”, as easily consulted as one of the clerks in Cuzco.