One of Japan’s ‘Big Four’ law firms, Anderson Mori & Tomostune, has launched an office in London—its first European office.
The new office, which is headed by the firm’s former Singapore office head, Atsutoshi Maeda, will focus on cross-border M&A and real estate transactions, which are in particularly high demand among U.K. and Europe-based companies entering the Japanese market, the firm said in a statement.
The new office will be based in the News Building in the London Bridge area.
The move comes two years after fellow Big Four player Nishimura & Asahi snubbed London to launch in Germany.
Maeda explains that the opening of the London office is in response to demand for Japanese law advice to U.K. and Europe-based companies for their investments in Japanese entities or real estates through M&A or joint venture transactions.
It also comes amid a peak in international disputes relating to their businesses in Japan and potential legal issues such as intra-group restructuring and labor issues of Japanese subsidiaries after entering the Japanese market.
The London office will serve to provide Japanese companies with a legal adviser in Europe. The firm said it will also collaborate with local law firms on a case-by-case basis.
“The soft skills of explaining in a detailed and easily-understood manner Japanese law and unique aspects of Japanese business from the perspective of European corporate transactional culture are in high demand”, Atsutoshi Maeda, representative partner of the firm’s London office, told Law.com International.
Maeda added that, although the firm currently has one lawyer in the London office, it plans to gradually increase the number of Japanese law attorneys with priority being given to those with experience in cross-border M&A and real estate transactions.
“Priority-wise, our firm plans to assign lawyers with rich experience in cross-border M&A and real estate transactions to the London office,” said Maeda.
Including the newly-opened London office, the firm now has eight overseas offices and three domestic offices.
Anderson Mori boasts 520 Japanese qualified lawyers and 62 non-Japanese qualified lawyers. As a full-service firm, it advises Japanese and foreign corporations in all major practice areas and economic sectors.
Japan’s ‘Big Four’—which is an informal designation in the Japanese market given to the largest four law firms in the country—includes Anderson Mori, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu, and the largest by headcount, Nishimura & Asahi.