Things are not so rosy for Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, which officially shut the doors on its underperforming Tokyo office for the last time in late April.
As first reported in The Lawyer (15 May), the closure brought 18 years of history to an end, although by its closure the office had dwindled to one partner and five fee-earners.
The closure did, however, create history of its own. It is the first time Cleary has closed an overseas office and it curiously coincides with an upturn in the Japanese economy.
Cleary presiding partner Mark Walker claims the firm had been “frustrated” in its inability to grow the office and that “just having a few guys in a market is not a model that interests us”. Instead, Cleary has joined the slew of firms piling into China, officially launching its presence in Beijing last month.