Freshfields dispatches top partner to Tokyo

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is parachuting a top-level corporate partner into its Tokyo office to stimulate a renewed focus on its Japanese offering.

London-based team head James Wood will relocate in May to spearhead the Japan corporate team.

Wood, whose clients include private equity house Warburg Pincus, said: “We’ve decided to really commit to the Japanese market. The Japanese economy has really turned a corner.”

Freshfields is currently advising Japan Tobacco on its £7.5bn bid for the UK’s Gallaher.

As reported by The Lawyer (19 March), clients, particularly in private equity, such as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, have highlighted Japan as an area for investment.

Board member and former Asia head Perry Noble said: “The M&A practice will be key to the future growth of the office. As well as James we’re planning to transfer and second more people there in the next few months.”

The firm’s commitment to Japan follows an uncertain year for the office. It was one focus of the £40m firmwide restructure, which will see 100 equity partners culled by April.