Linklaters breaks new ground in Japan with lateral move

Linklaters is going ahead with the key hires of two leading Japanese partners from local corporate finance firm Mitsui Yasuda Wani & Maeda, giving the magic circle firm local capability for the first time.

As first revealed by The Lawyer ( on 6 July the magic circle firm has appointed partners Mitsushiro Yasuda and Akihiro Wani. The appointments will take effect from 1 April 2005 when a new Japanese law, which allows local lawyers to form partnerships with foreign firms, comes into force.

Yasuda and Akihiro will bring a team of more than 20 lawyers with them. Meanwhile, Linklaters plans to move into adjacent premises to Mitsui Yasuda in December.

Linklaters’ Asia managing partner Simon Davies said: “We’ve spent a lot of time looking at Japan. We resolved not to enter into domestic law by half measures and stuck to our guns. Both [Yasuda and Wani] are in the top tier as leading individuals for capital markets work.”

At the same time, Morrison & Foerster has also picked up a couple of partners from Mitsui Yasuda, Katsuhiko Fujihira and Yukako Wagatsuma, who will join the US firm’s local outfit Ito & Mitomi.

Most of the remaining bengoshi, led by Hiroshi Meada, will move to Nishimura & Partners in October.