Three Delegates to Rome Emanuele Turco

Emanuele and Patricia Turco at the Piazza di SpagnaA devoted friend of the School took the lead to ensure that the ambitious Worldwide Congress would be a memorable success. Emanuele Turco LL.M. ’67, chair of the HLSA International Section, and his wife, Patricia, were key organizers of the Rome gathering, ultimately making it a family affair by enlisting the help of their daughter Federica and son David in the nonstop behind-the-scenes preparations. Turco even turned to his sister, Elda Turco, a professor of law at the University of Rome, for invaluable assistance in securing event venues and dealing with inevitable red tape.

Turco began working toward the Rome congress in 1996. "Our idea was to follow the vision of Dean Clark, of Harvard as a world law school. We thought it would be appropriate to hold the first congress in Europe, since most non-American alumni are based there," he says. As the origin of civil law, Rome became an early favorite choice of locale.

Turco is pleased with the fruits of his efforts, and those of the other dedicated congress organizers, and notes the extraordinary work of Francesco Giusti LL.M. ’82, vice chair of the International Section, and HLSA Associate Director Donna Chiozzi. "Rome has started the engine," he says, "to make alumni realize that if they believe in the role of HLS beyond U.S. borders, there must be involvement worldwide."

A native of Naples, Turco is the principal of Studio Legale Emanuele Turco, based in Rome, which he describes as a "medium-sized firm for Italy." The Studio specializes in energy and telecommunications issues. Most of its clients are oil companies and broadcasting companies.

This fall, David Turco entered the Harvard LL.M. program, to the delight of his father. While the son’s interests focus on international finance, he chose to live in a Gropius dorm, where many LL.M. students from all over the world reside, to experience Harvard
as his father did.

Emanuele Turco, who received his J.D. from the University of Rome, had just been admitted to the Italian bar in 1966 when he was accepted to Harvard. With both eagerness and trepidation, he settled into his cramped campus quarters and adjusted to what at first seemed daunting academic demands. But Turco was soon thriving in his studies and began forming the international circle of friends with whom he still maintains close ties.

He found faculty mentors as well. Not only was Professor Clark Byse one of Turco’s favorite teachers, he was also the catalyst of the Roman’s "Harvard adventure." In 1965 Turco had met Byse at the Salzburg Seminar on American Law and Legal Institutions, where the professor encouraged him to apply to HLS. Two other professors whom Turco admired at HLS, Arthur von Mehren ’45 and the late Donald Trautman ’51, later became friends as well when they spent time on sabbatical in Rome. Turco also has fond memories of his professors Harold Berman, Andrew Kaufman ’54, Frank Sander ’52, and Henry Steiner ’55.

Turco met his wife during his year in America and they settled in Italy after his graduation. He worked for seven years in the Rome office of a small Wall Street firm, and then another 13 years with what was then Italy’s largest international firm, where he became managing partner for a time. In 1988, "because we Italians are all prima donnas," he says, he decided to found his own firm.

So far, Turco is resisting proposals to merge with big national and international law firms because he enjoys the scale and variety of his practice. "I think of us as legal architects," he says. "We always try to propose new legal structures to address problems."

He credits HLS for the "international dimension" that has characterized his career. Aware of his training at the School, senior lawyers of Turco’s previous firms drew him into cases in which international issues were prominent. His hardest task as an internationalist, he says, has been to play the role of translator in mediating between
Italy’s national legal system and clients rooted in common law systems.

Noting that he was only able to attend HLS because he received a full fellowship, Turco believes raising money for promising non-American students should become a priority for all alumni. He has made generous personal contributions for LL.M. scholarships. "Now I’m going to see what I can do, as chair of the International Section, to help HLS create the ‘global lawyer.’ I would also like to stimulate the generosity of Americans toward foreign students," he says. "In the long run, the best friends a nation can possibly acquire are those who have experienced immersion" in its way of life.

Julia Collins

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