Baker & McKenzie bolsters Tokyo with five Linklaters lawyers

Baker & McKenzie has hired a team of five lawyers, including two partners, from Linklaters’ Tokyo office in a bid to expand its Japan corporate and M&A practice.

The team consists of partners Hideo Norikoshi and Jiro Toyokawa and associates Kiyoshi Endo, Seiji Tomimoto and Daisuke Wakamatsu. Partner Norikoshi is qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales and a gaikokuho jimu bengoshi (registered foreign lawyer in Japan). He has over 15 years of experience in a wide range of cross-border M&A transactions.

Toyokawa is admitted to practise law in Japan and New York, and his practice focuses on M&A, corporate restructuring and insolvency proceedings.

The recruitment is part of the firm’s plan to expand its cross-border M&A and corporate capabilities in response to increased international investment and expansion by Japanese companies.

“Japanese companies have been making aggressive moves abroad as a result of a strengthening yen and recognition of the need for greater geographic diversity following disruptions to their operations due to the tsunami and earthquakes in 2011,” said Muto in a statement. Muto noted that Japanese companies have been particularly active in the consumer goods and pharmaceutical sectors in Europe and Asia.

In March 2011, a London-Tokyo team from Baker & McKenzie advised Japanese conglomerate Itochu in its £637m acquisition of Kwik-Fit. Dickson Minto represented the seller, European private equity firm PAI partners, while Berwin Leighton Paisner acted for Kwik-Fit’s management in the same transaction.

With the new additions, Bakers now has 46 partners and 118 lawyers in the Tokyo office, making it one of the largest international firms in Japan.

According to Linklaters’ website, its Tokyo office is currently staffed by six partners.