NEW YORK —August 26, 2004 LAWFUEL – Best for law, law news, legal news, legal research Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP announced today it is strengthening its Japanese practice with the hire this month of seven corporate lawyers at its Tokyo office.
The new hires include leading Japanese lawyer Masami Totani, who has joined as a partner in the firm’s registered associated law office, Orrick Tokyo Law Offices (Orrick Tokyo).
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe is an expanding global law firm, having opened offices in Rome, Milan and Paris in the past year and a half to meet clients’ needs, which are increasingly complex, global in nature, and require cross-border expertise.
Orrick opened its Tokyo office in 1997, and quickly built successful corporate and real estate practices. The firm has already established itself as a leader in the rapidly evolving Japanese and “ex-Japan” Asian securitization markets. It is growing its Japan practice at a time when regulatory changes allow international firms to directly hire lawyers licensed to practice Japanese law.
Mr. Totani joins Orrick Tokyo from one of Tokyo’s most prestigious law firms, Mitsui, Yasuda, Wani and Maeda . Four bengoshi associates who work closely with Mr. Totani are also joining the firm, and one bengoshi associate also joins the firm from Sidley, Austin, Brown and Woods’ Tokyo office. The firm is also making a significant commitment to its corporate practice in Japan with the relocation of Mark Weeks, previously a corporate partner in Orrick’s New York office, to the firm’s Tokyo office, where he will chair the firm’s Japanese corporate practice.
“Orrick’s Tokyo office continues to grow in size and in prominence so we can continue to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations,” said Ralph Baxter, chairman and CEO of Orrick. “We will continue to seek opportunities to deepen relationships with clients to better meet their needs in Japan, more broadly in Asia, and globally. We’re excited to have such an esteemed group of Japanese lawyers joining the firm, and to have Mark Weeks join the Tokyo office.”
“Mr. Totani and his team will add significant depth to our existing Japanese law practice, and we are excited to have them on board,” said Howard Goldwasser, partner in charge of Orrick’s Tokyo office. “With the continued economic recovery in Japan, coupled with upcoming changes in Japanese law that will permit international law firms like Orrick to broaden the scope of the services we offer in Japan, Mr. Totani’s arrival heralds an important milestone for Orrick in Japan. We fully expect to build a broader and even more sophisticated Japanese law practice here.”
To accommodate Orrick’s rapid growth, the firm recently relocated to Izumi Garden Tower in central Tokyo’s Minato Ward with more than double the square footage of its previous offices. Orrick now has more than 25 lawyers in Japan concentrating on real estate transactions, securitization and other structured finance transactions, distressed debt portfolio transactions, general corporate and commercial matters, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and project finance. The firm’s previous office was in the Akasaka Twin Towers, also in Tokyo’s Minato Ward.
About Mark Weeks
Weeks, who lived in Japan for nearly eight years and is fluent in Japanese, concentrates his practice on private mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, IT, biotechnology and telecommunications asset transfers, strategic investments, and general corporate representation of U.S. and Japanese companies. Weeks graduated from International Christian University in Tokyo in 1984, and earned his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1988.
Commenting on Mark Weeks’ relocation to Tokyo, Steve Graham, head of Orrick’s 120-lawyer corporate practice, said, “The Japanese economy is strengthening, and as a result, corporate work in Tokyo is growing, presenting us and our clients with extraordinary opportunities. It’s an ideal time for a seasoned U.S. corporate lawyer like Mark to join our Tokyo office. His relocation is great news for the office and for our clients.”
About Masami Totani
Mr. Totani’s practice focuses on general corporate and commercial law, including M&A, joint ventures and venture capital transactions, intellectual property transactions, litigation, and trust and estate matters. In addition to being admitted to the Japanese bar as a bengoshi in 1980, he is also admitted to the New York and French bars. At the time of his original admission, he was only the third Japanese national admitted to the French bar.
Mr. Totani was with MYWM for 10 years before joining Orrick. Prior to that, he was with Masuda and Ejiri Law Office (currently known as Asahi Koma Law Offices) in Tokyo for 13 years. Before that, he practiced in New York and Paris for three years.
Mr. Totani earned a Bachelor’s of Law from Chuo University in 1975, and in 1980, graduated from the Judicial Research and Training Institute. In 1985, he earned his LLM from Columbia University Law School, located in New York.
The team of bengoshi associates joining Mr. Totani in Orrick’s Tokyo office are: Naomasa Nakagawa, focusing on finance, structured finance, M&A, IP, litigation and corporate matters; Kenji Toyota, focusing on corporate, venture capital and IP matters; and Chiharu Yamamoto, focusing on corporate matters. Mr. Totani will also be joined by Miyako Ikuta, a senior associate who, like Mr. Totani, is a Japanese national licensed to practice French and New York law. In addition to Mr. Totani’s team, Orrick will be joined by associate Teiko Shigezumi, a bengoshi from Sidley, Austin, Brown and Woods’ Tokyo office, who will concentrate on corporate and real estate matters.