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Paul Hastings Janofksy & Walker has become the latest foreign firm to merge with a domestic Japanese firm following reforms introduced to Japan earlier this year.
As first revealed on www.thelawyer.com (12 September), the US firm has merged with Taiyo Law Office, its existing local ally. Following the move, Norifusa Hashimoto, Yoshi Takatori, Jun Usami and Ayako Kawano will join Paul Hastings as partners.
Commenting on the move, Paul Hastings chairman Seth Zachary said: "Our decision to combine Taiyo into Paul Hastings reflects our desire to provide an even stronger, seamless, high-quality legal service that will maximise our opportunities for clients."
Reforms introduced on 1 April 2005 permit a full partnership between bengoshi and foreign lawyers to practise in Japan in the form of a foreign law joint venture. This was an extension of the old regime of 'joint enterprises', under which foreign lawyers were only allowed to advise on the Japanese aspects of deals with an overseas element.
In April, Linklaters launched Japan's first fully merged law firm following the appointment last year of name partners Mitsuhiro Yasuda and Akihiro Wani and 20 associates from leading domestic Japanese firm Mitsui Yasuda Wani & Maeda.