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Linklaters China partner Paul McNicholl has been appointed as the new joint managing partner in Tokyo.
McNicholl, who transferred from London to Shanghai in 2005, begins his new role this week alongside Akihiro Wani.
He will also take up Casper Lawson's role as head of Tokyo corporate and M&A when Lawson leaves the office in October to return to London.
McNicholl replaces Tony Grundy, who established the office in 1987. Grundy acted as Tokyo's managing partner for seven years and was joint managing partner from April 2005.
Grundy will remain as a Tokyo partner and will devote more time to broadening the client relationships he has helped develop.
Both Grundy and Wani were instrumental in seeing the magic circle firm complete Japan's first fully merged law firm (The Lawyer, 4 April 2005).
The move followed the appointment in 2004 of two name partners, Mitsuhiro Yasuda and Akihiro Wani, and 20 associates from leading domestic banking firm Mitsui Yasuda Wani & Maeda.
Giles White, Linklaters' Asia chief, who took over from firmwide managing partner-elect Simon Davies earlier this year, said that McNicholl teaming up with Wani will take the firm to greater heights in Japan.