Roberto Longanesi Cattani
Partner – Longanesi Cattani Studio Legale
T: +39 041 523 67 69
What sort of clients do you advise?
I work mostly for the Italian world leading yacht builders. I also work for yacht financiers (Italian leasing companies and Italian or foreign banks). I assist buyers too, let say by about 30% of my yacht work.
How did you end up in superyacht law?
We are specialized shipping lawyers with very wide experience in commercial shipbuilding contracts and second hand ships sale and purchase. We have negotiated shipbuilding contracts worldwide (Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Spain, Germany, etc, and obviously Italy). When the superyacht industry “boomed” in the late 90/early 2000 we found ourselves in “pole position” for super yacht transactions and we expanded this area rapidly and successfully.
What makes a good superyacht lawyer?
A combination of factors makes a good superyacht lawyer. Obviously, good knowledge of law and good contract negotiating and drafting skill. However, that is not enough. A good superyacht lawyer also needs a strong contract “discipline” but without being too pedantic. It is a difficult balance. If I act for the builder I have to be careful not to hurt the “super ego” of the “superyacht” owner. If I act for the buyer I have to try to be the rational side of an emotional deal (especially for sailing yachts). Further, as a lawyer one has to realize that a superyacht owner is usually a very successful businessman probably very fast and sharp and an excellent negotiator. So, have a low profile approach and try to find the weak point (everyone has one…) of the buyer.
What do you most like about your job?
I like the variety of situations, the negotiation skill, the patience and eventually… the champagne when the contract is signed and the yacht is successfully delivered.
What one piece of advice would you give to potential yacht buyers?
I suggest the buyer and the builder select their partners very carefully as no good contract can remedy a bad choice of the contract partner. Further, a buyer should not be tempted by a deal much below the market level. It means something is wrong. You may be the lucky one and it might work,, but you may be the one who sooner or later will be caught (as experience may teach…).