O’Melveny responds to MoFo raid in Tokyo with US partner move

O’Melveny & Myers is planning to parachute a senior lawyer from its US office in to its Tokyo offering following a raid on its corporate team by Morrison & Foerster (MoFo) last week.

MoFo’s attack on O’Melveny saw partners Gary Smith, Randy Laxer and David Litt leave the firm (www.thelawyer.com, 22 October) in what O’Melveny Tokyo office head Naosuke Fujita referred to as a “disappointing event”.

“We’re looking at bringing over one of our corporate lawyers and have narrowed down the targets,” said Fujita, who added that it might not necessarily be a partner.

“We have a strong stream of work and have been planning to bring in bengoshi and US-qualified lawyers regardless of the departures,” he added.

Following the move by fellow US firm MoFo, O’Melveny last week jetted over its US-based partner and former Tokyo head Greyson Bryan to assist in the firm’s contingency planning.

“Bryan is very well versed with the local market and our Asian head of M&A Gregory Puff will also be working with us,” said Fujita, who explained that the three partners would be working together to fill any voids left by the three departed lawyers until the appropriate transfers have been made.

O’Melveny’s Tokyo office currently houses four Tokyo-based partners, including Fujita, and 17 Tokyo-based lawyers. Its key clients include investment banks such as Goldman Sachs.

MoFo’s assault boosted its Tokyo office headcount to more than 100 lawyers.

Managing partner of MoFo Tokyo Ken Siegel said the office had tripled in size over the past five years and that he anticipated continuing growth.