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San Francisco firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe is ramping up its Japanese securitisation practice with a hire from Allen & Overy's (A&O) joint venture partner.
Kaoru Haraguchi was one of the founding partners of A&O's Tokyo joint venture firm Akatsuki International Law Office and head of the firm's Japanese law practice. His arrival at Orrick's Tokyo joint venture Orrick Sho Kokusai means the firm is the only one there to have Japanese-qualified, English-qualified and US-qualified securitisation partners. Orrick relocated its US-qualified structured finance partner Howard Goldwasser to its Tokyo office earlier this year. Michael Bacon, the partner in charge of Orrick's international offices, said: "The next piece we needed was to add top Japanese expertise, and that's what we've done with Kaoru Haraguchi. That's not going to be the end of it - we have other moves in mind. The Japanese securitisation market is finally taking off." Haraguchi said: "The reasons why I chose Orrick are because I'm a specialist in international securitisation and Orrick is, I think, one of the best securitisation firms in the world. Orrick's Tokyo office has English and US-qualified securitisation specialists, and if I joined I new could say that we could have the true one-stop shop for English, New York and Japanese law." Orrick's Tokyo-based English law securitisation partner is Christopher Lewis, who joined the firm a couple of years ago from Simmons & Simmons, where he was a partner. The firm has handled a number of innovative securitisation transactions in Japan - including advising on the country's first housing loan securitisation, the first Rule 144a placement of consumer loan receivables-backed securities into the US market, and the first euro-denominated Japanese asset-backed securitisation transaction.
"The next piece we needed was to add top Japanese expertise, and that's what we've done. That's not going to be the end of it" Michael Bacon, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
Bacon said: "The Japanese securitisation market has started to take off in the last year, driven by the real estate market. Like most other firms in town, we've worked with one of the Japanese firms so far, but now we can provide the one-stop shop. Before, we provided Japanese law real estate and real estate financing; what we didn't have was specific securitisation." An increasing number of Japanese structured finance transactions now have either US or UK aspects, with some calling for lawyers that have been trained in all three jurisdictions.