9 June – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Japan’s first international and domestic law firm hires its first Japanese law corporate partner
Naming its fifth new partner since 1 April, Linklaters in Tokyo has announced the hire of Hidehiro Utsumi, a lawyer and tax expert specialising in cross-border transactions, who joins from leading Japanese firm Nishimura & Partners. Before qualifying in both Japan and New York Mr Utsumi was a Chartered Accountant, so brings tax-structuring experience to the firm, enabling clients to access M&A structuring advice from both legal and tax points of view.
Akihiro Wani, joint managing partner of Linklaters in Tokyo, sees the hire as a clear illustration of the client demand for a combined Japanese and international legal service. “Bringing on five partners in three months is a huge commitment for the firm,” he said. “The moves have been driven by client demand in every case and we see further growth ahead. As Japanese businesses increasingly undertake cross-border activity we are finding that the demand for integrated Japanese, English and US law advice is growing.”
Casper Lawson, head of M&A in Tokyo, said Mr Utsumi’s track record makes him an ideal addition to the firm. “Mr Utsumi is one of the rare lawyers in Tokyo who can advise clients on both the legal and tax aspects of a transaction,” he said.
“International clients have told us that they find this kind of advice hard to access in Japan. Joint tax and legal advice is particularly useful at the early, structuring stage of an M&A transaction.
“In a market that is severely short of Japanese lawyers we believe it is testament to the growing reputation of Linklaters in Tokyo that we have been able to attract high quality bengoshi so quickly after our merger in April.”
Mr Utsumi said he was attracted to the firm given Linklaters’ focus on cross-border, complex work for international companies and banks. “Linklaters’ actions to date shows its commitment to growth in Japan,” he said. “We share an enthusiasm for undertaking Japan’s most challenging deals. I am looking forward to being part of such a strong M&A team.”
With this development Linklaters now has 11 partners in Tokyo and around 60 associates in total, practising Japanese, English and US law.