Jones Day merges with Tokyo’s Showa Law office

US firm more than doubles its Tokyo numbers with full economic integration

New York firm Jones Day Reavis & Pogue is merging in Japan to more than double its capability in Tokyo.
The firm is linking up with Tokyo’s Showa Law Office on 1 January next year. Four partners and eight lawyers will join Jones Day, giving the firm a 20-lawyer office with 15 Japanese-qualified lawyers.
Japanese regulations forbid a full merger so the office has been set up as a joint venture, but the structuring is such that the two firms are fully integrated economically.
The merger ramps up Jones Day’s Asian capability to more than 125 lawyers in six offices throughout the region. In the last couple of years, the firm has opened in both Shanghai and Singapore.
The senior partner of Showa Law Office, Nobutoshi Yamanouchi, has known Jones Day for a long time. Head of international at Jones Day, David Clossey said: “We’ve known Nobutoshi for more than 20 years and worked with him in various contexts – we’ve clients in common. We were interested in adding a significant Japanese law capacity to our office in Tokyo so it was natural to talk to him about it.”
Jones Day has a raft of clients that are active in Japan, one of the largest of which is tyre company Bridgestone.
Yamanouchi said: “This merger is equally important to our Japanese clients doing business outside of Japan. They will be able to draw on the breadth and scope of Jones Day’s experience throughout the world.”
Until the merger, Jones Day has capability in M&A and tax work in Tokyo, but the merger adds banking and finance, antitrust, e-commerce, intellectual property, real estate and litigation.
Clossey said: “We’re committed to having important offices in all the business and financial centres around the world. We want to have significant international capacity and significant local capacity. This puts us in the first tier of all the foreign firms out there in Japan.”
He said that there was no target number in mind for the growth of the office, but he expects it to increase substantially in the next few years.