A&O raids Freshfields for Japanese capability

Allen & Overy (A&O) has raided rival Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to give its Tokyo office Japanese law capability for the first time.

A&O has taken corporate partner Nobuo Nakata from Freshfields’ Tokyo office. Nakata is also US-qualified and will head A&O’s Japanese law practice, At the same time, the magic circle firm has named banking partner Aled Davies as the offices’ new managing partner.

The incumbent, Cees Vellekoop, will step down. He is a legacy partner from the 2000 merger with Loeff Claeys Verbeke.

Nakata joins A&O at the same time as Osamu Ito, a bengoshi from local Asahi Koma Law Offices.

Davies said: “With the boom in M&A and other financing activity in Japan, we understand that the ability to apply international legal techniques to transactions in Japan is essential to ensuring the successful implementation of complex transactions.”

Nakata and Ito are A&O’s first bengoshi (Japanese-qualified lawyers), and as a result A&O’s Tokyo office will be renamed Allen & Overy Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho.

A&O has history in stealing Freshfields’ team heads in Asia. In July last year, A&O poached Freshfields’ former China practice head Thomas Jones, a US and Hong Kong-qualified corporate M&A lawyer and fluent Mandarin speaker.