K&L Gates swoops for ten-lawyer Clifford Chance Tokyo team

K&L Gates has boosted its Tokyo office with the hire of 10 lawyers from Clifford Chance.

The team is made up of three partners – litigators Keiji Isaji and Atsushi Yamashita, and corporate specialist Naoki Watanabe – along with four counsel and three associates.

“With the addition of these distinguished practitioners, we take a major step toward a full offering of services in our Tokyo office,” said K&L Gates chairman Peter Kalis.

The hires take K&L Gates’ Asia presence to more than 100 legal professionals across six offices.

“K&L Gates has been rapidly expanding despite the financially difficult period, and we are delighted to join the firm and contribute our experience and capabilities as Japanese law advisers in both the domestic and international contexts,” said Isaji.

In a statement Peter Charlton, Clifford Chance’s Asia Pacific managing partner, said: “After over 20 years in Japan, we have restructured our practice in Tokyo, in order to build for the future.  “The Tokyo office and our wider Japanese practice is a critical part of our expanding Asia Pacific operations and we wanted to ensure that we had the right foundations for future growth. We retain a talented team of lawyers led by eight partners – one of the largest international partner teams in Japan – and expect to announce new additions in the near future. As a result of these changes, a number of lawyers and partners have left the firm. Each has a made valuable contribution to Clifford Chance in their time and we wish them well with their future careers.”