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Leading Washington DC firm Hogan & Hartson is opening an office in Tokyo - its first step into Asia.
The 700-lawyer firm will specialise in intellectual property and corporate work in the office, initially for existing clients.
The firm already represents Japanese car giant Toyota, telephone company NTT and technology companies Seiko Epson and Sanyo.
Managing partner Bob Odle says there are a number of reasons for making the move.
He says: "Our firm has had a long practice of representing Japanese companies in the US and we have recently added a group of lawyers based in Los Angeles who are IP lawyers and whose practice primarily represents Japanese companies in the US.
"The composition of our existing practice and the new practice that has come to us, motivated us to establish this office."
In April, the firm took four IP partners and six other lawyers from Los Angeles firm Loeb & Loeb. One of those partners, David Lubitz, is to move to Tokyo to set up the new office. He is one of very few patent attorneys registered in Japan as a foreign lawyer.
Odle says Lubitz will soon be joined by one other IP lawyer and he hopes to add a corporate partner in August, both of whom will come from the firm's American offices.
He says: "We will build from there and I guess over a period of a few months we will reach six lawyers. I suspect we will be making lateral hires - we are currently looking at a couple of lateral opportunities."
The firm, which has 17 offices worldwide, has seven lawyers based in London and European offices in Brussels, Warsaw and Moscow as well as associated offices in Prague, Paris and Budapest.
Across the USthe firm has offices in Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, Baltimore and Northern Virginia.
The office in Tokyo will also do international trade work and some litigation for Japanese clients. It will work in conjunction with the offices in the US.
The firm already has a strong practice doing initial public offerings and hopes to build on that in Tokyo.