Lovells has inherited Simmons & Simmons' Tokyo office as Simmons scales back its international ambitions.
The loss of the Tokyo office follows decisions to close offices in New York and Porto. Simmons managing partner Mark Dawkins said the firm had been reviewing its Japanese operation for six months and wanted to re-energise its joint venture with local firm TMI Associates.
Dawkins said: "Because most of what we want to do is through the joint venture, the opportunity to have large numbers on the ground is limited."
Simmons is parachuting London corporate partner Jason Daniel into Tokyo in an attempt to shore up its relationships in Japan.
Simmons' Tokyo managing partner, corporate partner Rika Beppu, and finance partner Philip Hyde are to join Lovells, taking all but two associates with them.
Lovells' Asia managing partner Crispin Rapinet said the hires would allow the firm to offer services beyond its current IP focus.