Tokyo, March 30, 2007 – LAWFUEL – Law News Asia – Pioneering international lawyer Fumio Koma and a team of lawyers from Asahi Koma Law Offices as well as Janssen Foreign Law Office (the qualified joint enterprise of Asahi Koma Law Offices) will join Baker & McKenzie GJBJ Tokyo Aoyama Aoki Law Office (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) as of April 1, 2007, the leading global law firm Baker & McKenzie announced today.
The team, led by Koma, includes fellow Japanese lawyers (bengoshi) Yasunori Hashiguchi and Shinichiro Abe and German lawyer Markus Janssen who will join as senior partners. The team also comprises three other partners as well as a group of associates and counsel. The team is the latest in a series of prominent Tokyo lawyers to join Baker & McKenzie as it strategically strengthens its position as Japan’s leading integrated law firm and as the premier global law firm operating in all of the world’s major financial centers; enhancing its European practices at Baker & McKenzie Tokyo will create one of the largest European teams in Japan.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome this highly respected team to our Firm. This is a significant enhancement to our practice,” said John Conroy, Chairman of the Executive Committee. “The team’s highly regarded domestic practice and its strong international orientation are an excellent fit that will deepen our capabilities in Tokyo and globally.”
The liberalization of bar rules permitting integration of Japanese and foreign law practices has created new opportunities for a growing number of lawyers in Japan to develop their practices as advisers to domestic and multinational companies operating both within Japan and across borders outside the world’s second largest economy.
“There is intense competition today in Tokyo for internationally oriented legal talent to serve the growing volume of inbound and outbound opportunities in Japan,” said Jeremy Pitts, Managing Partner of Baker & McKenzie’s Tokyo office.
“Our Firm’s ability to attract this outstanding team from Asahi Koma and Janssen Foreign Law Office is a testament to Baker & McKenzie’s unique ability to provide compelling opportunities to both Japanese and foreign lawyers in Tokyo who advise major corporations operating in the global economy.”
Commenting on joining the Firm, Fumio Koma said, “We are very excited about our move to Baker & McKenzie. With the Firm’s global platform, we will be able to extend our international practices including but not limited to M&A, intellectual property and international business restructuring to a global scope and better represent our clients in multi-jurisdictional transactions. Also, together with Baker & McKenzie, we will help build and substantially enhance the Euro-Japan Group for its clients and for its team in Japan and Europe.”
Fumio Koma’s practice focuses on international commercial affairs, finance, M&A and anti-trust law, with particular emphasis on domestic and international mergers and acquisitions. He has extensive experience in representing banks and security companies, chemical companies, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, hotels, and satellite broadcasting companies and various other manufacturers and companies. He received his B.A. in economics from Waseda University in 1971, his LL.M from the Law School of Washington University in 1982, and is admitted in Japan and New York.
Yasunori Hashiguchi’s practice focuses on intellectual property, entertainment and sports law. He has advised world leading software producers on software license agreements, and negotiated key contracts for the media rights, sponsorship rights and licensing rights for global sports events, as well as handling M&A cases in the Media world. He received his LL.B. from the University of Tokyo in 1981, and his LL.M. from the University of Washington in 1991.
Shinichiro Abe handles business restructuring, insolvency law and litigation. As a specialist of Japanese and international business restructuring and insolvency law (and associate- professor at Chuo University Law School) he is highly sought after as an advisor for transactions (including M&A) and structures requiring insolvency protection and solutions. He received his LL.B. and LL.M. from Waseda University in 1987 and 1989 respectively, and an LL.M. from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law in 2001.
Markus Janssen has more than 17 years of legal experience in Japan and established Janssen Foreign Law Office, a qualified joint enterprise with Asahi Koma. With extensive contract and transaction experience in various industries he focuses on foreign direct investment of European enterprises in Japan, but also assists Japanese enterprises in important projects in Europe. He has been qualified in Germany since 1985, and has been registered as a foreign lawyer in Japan since 2000.