K&L Gates boosts Tokyo arm with hire of 10-lawyer team from CC

K&L Gates has expanded its Tokyo office with the hire of a 10-lawyer team from Clifford Chance (CC), including three partners.

The team hire comes after CC moved to restructure its Tokyo office and integrate its local joint venture firm into one CC partnership. Before the restructuring, CC had around 12 partners, including the trio joining K&L Gates – Keiji Isaji, Atsushi Yamashita and Naoki Watanabe.

The partners are joining alongside counsel Noriko Annen and Noriaki Tanimoto and four associates, including Tsuguhito Omagari, who is joining K&L Gates as counsel.

Isaji and Yamashita both advise on civil and commercial disputes work, with Isaji also advising on banking and regulatory law and Yamashita focusing on advising Japanese companies on antitrust matters and anti-bribery matters involving the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Watanabe, meanwhile, is a corporate partner who represents Japanese and international clients on cross-border M&A, takeover bids, joint ventures, distributorships and licence agreements.

K&L Gates Asia managing partner David Tang commented: “With the addition of the breadth, depth and robust nature of experience of these lawyers in Japanese law and cross-border matters, K&L Gates is providing as extensive a range of legal services to clients – from commercial corporate to regulatory to disputes matters – as any law firm in Tokyo.”

Following the departures CC will have eight partners in Tokyo. Peter Charlton (pictured), CC’s Asia-Pacific managing partner, said: “After over 20 years in Japan, we have restructured our practice in Tokyo, in order to build for the future. The Tokyo office is a critical part of our expanding Asia-Pacific operations and we wanted to ensure that we had the right foundations for future growth.”