A&O in Japan push with Freshfields bengoshi hire

Allen & Overy has boosted its Tokyo office by hiring its first Japanese qualified lawyers, raiding Freshfields of a corporate partner.

Japanese qualified lawyer Nobuo Nakata will join Allen & Overy’s Tokyo office as a partner. Nakata will join the firm from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Tokyo office. He specialises in corporate and M&A as well as structured finance work.

Allen & Overy has also hired Osamu Ito, another Japanese qualified lawyer who is currently partner at Asahi Koma Law Offices in Tokyo. Ito specialises in general corporate, M&A, joint ventures and intellectual property and will join the firm as a partner.

Allen & Overy worldwide managing partner David Morley said in a statement: “With Japanese law capability, we will be able to provide seamless legal advice across markets. Japan plays a crucial role in our Asian practice and we are committed to our presence there. We look forward to welcoming our new partners in Tokyo.”

The hires of the two Japanese qualified lawyers (bengoshi) follows on from the firm’s wholesale strategic review of the Toyko office. As first reported on thelawyer.com (26 June), earlier this year, the firm’s management met to discuss the firm’s Tokyo arm in an attempt to establish a consensus on its future direction.

Options considered included closing the office or scaling it back. Another possible scenario was to invest heavily in the office by recruiting bengoshi.