NEW YORK, NY – April 1, 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Greenberg Traurig, the 1,350-lawyer international law firm with the fourth largest number of lawyers in the United States and eighth largest worldwide of US firms, has made its first move into Asia. The firm announced its new office and local firm alliance in Tokyo on the very day historic changes in Japanese law became effective, allowing Japanese and American lawyers to more closely combine forces.
In addition to Greenberg Traurig opening its own office in Tokyo, the firm and established Japanese law firm Hayabusa Kokusai Law Offices have announced their entry into a strategic alliance. The Hayabusa firm, well known in Japan both for its corporate and commercial expertise and its premier multinational clients, consists of 13 Japanese lawyers located in Tokyo, placing it in the mid-size tier of firms in Japan. The two firms will operate as a unified team for clients who retain both firms for their US/Japan legal matters.
This unique combination of high quality firms, with major range in both the US and Japan, will make available to the firms’ clients a unique level of legal service and cultural understanding. This Asian move comes on the heels of Greenberg Traurig’s further expansion in Europe, where an important Italian firm, Studio Santa Maria, has aligned with the firm, adding Milan and Rome to its existing locations in Amsterdam and Zurich.
“Japan is the second largest economy in the world after the United States and a key gateway to the rest of Asia,” said Richard A. Rosenbaum, a national operating shareholder of Greenberg Traurig, responsible for its European and Asian development. “This is a unique chance to work closely with lawyers of the highest quality while avoiding the harmful impact of one-sided mergers so often experienced by other firms: providing a large and diverse international platform to the Japanese community while maintaining the principles of quality, individual empowerment, collaboration and respect so engrained in the cultures of both firms.”
Greenberg Traurig’s office in Tokyo will be headed by Kunichika Nakano, a respected corporate shareholder in its New York office and one of the few lawyers licensed to practice in both Japan and the US. Mr. Nakano will now spend considerable time in Tokyo and will join with George Lee, a senior shareholder in the firm’s New York office, in forming a “Japan Desk” within the US firm, involving practice areas and lawyers throughout the firm, including Jinshu Zhang and Naoki Kawada in Los Angeles.
“I practiced in Japan for several years before beginning my practice in the United States in 1986,” said Mr. Nakano. “I believe the combination of these two firms, enabled by the new rules in Japan, will put us at the forefront in both countries — a set of lawyers who are truly part of the cultures, communities and legal systems of both countries, domestically and internationally.”
“Having spent many years focusing on international transactions, including many involving Japan and other parts of Asia, I feel strongly that this combination is a significant step in our strategic plan to become a force in Asia, a region projected to represent more than half of the world’s GDP in a few years,” adds Mr. Lee.
“As we focused on providing timely and high quality services in Japan we perceived a need for greater international access and services for our clients, especially in the United States,” said Kaoru Takamatsu of the Hayabusa firm. “Having cooperated with Greenberg Traurig on certain matters and come to know the firm and its way of servicing clients, we are pleased to have found a rare major firm which delivers the kind of consistent service quality, value and respect our clients require, while also empowering us to operate our practice as we determine appropriate in Japan. Greenberg Traurig’s unrivaled coverage throughout the United States will also be of great benefit to our clients in cross-border transactions, and is precisely what we were seeking in an alliance.”
The new office and strategic alliance is scheduled to become fully operational later this month or in early May.