Mayer Brown to launch in Japan with hire of former Ashurst Tokyo head

Mayer Brown is opening an office in Japan with the hire of Ashurst’s former Tokyo head Rupert Burrows.

The Tokyo base, which will be the US firm’s eighth in Asia, will open in the first half of 2018.

It will be led by corporate partner Burrows, who has been based in Japan for 20 years, while it is also expected to support the firm’s projects practice in Southeast Asia.

Burrows, who has been at Ashurst since 1998, stepped down as head of Ashurst’s Tokyo base this June after two years in the role, and was replaced by finance partner Dominic Gregory.

His move marks the latest in a spate of departures from Ashurst, with three London partners opting to leave the firm in November. Disputes partner Ben Giaretta is set to move to Mishcon de Reya, while corporate partners James Wood and Dominic Ross have left to join Sidley Austin and White & Case respectively.

A number of partners have also quit Mayer Brown in recent weeks, with Kennedys recruiting insurance and reinsurance head David Chadwick in October, along with partners Andrew McGahey, Ingrid Hobbs and Andrew Westlake.

Mayer Brown chairman Paul Theiss said: “Over the last few years, we have partnered with our clients in building our relationships with Japanese corporations, banks and trading houses… To continue to develop those relationships and further expand along with them, we now need a presence in Tokyo.”

A spokesperson for Ashurst said Burrows is leaving the firm by mutual consent, adding: “The Tokyo office has been a key part of our Asia-Pacific offering for nearly 30 years. Our global Japanese business, including the Japanese law practice, is performing very strongly. We are fully committed to strengthening our business in Japan even further and to pursuing opportunities both internally and externally to achieve that.”