One of Japan's largest law firms, Nishimura & Partners, has further bolstered its numbers after signing a deal to merge with fellow Tokyo firm Tokiwa Sogo Law Offices.
The merger with 30-lawyer insolvency specialist Tokiwa Sogo, due to be finalised on 1 January 2004, will take Nishimura's head-count to around 170 lawyers.
Nishimura is largely known for its banking and corporate expertise, but the merger will allow the firm to target the increasing wave of corporate bankruptcies in the country. Tokiwa Sogo has acted as bankruptcy administrator on the high-profile liquidation of one of Japan's largest stockbrokers Yamaichi Securities, and the large department store chain Sogo Group.
Nishimura already employs a number of foreign lawyers, and has not yet ruled out the possibility of a joint venture with a foreign firm. Legislation prevents a full merger between foreign and local practices.
A name for the new entity has yet to be decided, as do the senior roles of the firm.