Japan > Banking and finance
Independent local firms
Index of tables
Banking and finance: Independent local firms
Banking and finance: bengoshi
- Takashi Akahane - Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
- Hiroo Atsumi - Atsumi & Sakai
- Naoaki Eguchi - Baker & McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)
- Makoto Igarashi - Nishimura & Asahi
- Mami Ikebukuro - Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
- Satoshi Inoue - Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
- Toru Ishiguro - Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
- Tetsuya Itoh - Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
- Tatsu Katayama - Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
Naoki Kinami -
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
- Masaakira Kitazawa - Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
- Satoko Kuwabara - Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
- Toshihiro Maeda - Nishimura & Asahi
- Shinichi Matsui - Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
- Jiro Mikami - Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
- Kazuaki Nagai - Anderson Mori & Tomotsune
- Hiroyuki Nezu - Atsumi & Sakai
- Tomoo Nishikawa - Sidley Austin Nishikawa Foreign Law Joint Enterprise
- Junko Ogushi - Atsumi & Sakai
- Masaru Ono - Nishimura & Asahi
- Yutaka Sakai - Atsumi & Sakai
- Masanori Sato - Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
- Katsu Sengoku - Nishimura & Asahi
- Fumihide Sugimoto - Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
Hidehiko Suzuki -
Clifford Chance Law Office
- Hiroaki Takahashi - Davis & Takahashi
- Shinichi Takahashi - Nishimura & Asahi
- Masahiro Ueno - Nishimura & Asahi
Akihiro Wani -
Anderson Mori & Tomotsune’s practice spans everything from conventional bank lending to syndicated structured financings and regulatory advice. It advised AMP Capital when it sold 15% of its shares to Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation, and was buyer’s legal counsel in Credit Suisse’s $2.7bn acquisition of HSBC’s Japanese private bank. ‘Star lawyer’ Isao Shindo is a regulatory expert and securities specialist, and the ‘bright and responsive’ Satoshi Inoue is known for his structured finance practice. Tatsu Katayama is a derivatives expert, and Tetsuya Itoh and Hirohito Akagami are highly experienced banking lawyers.
Mori Hamada & Matsumoto is ‘very responsive to our legal needs’ and ‘provides excellent service’, and fields a team of well-respected and talented finance lawyers. The firm advised Bain Capital on its buyout of Skylark, assisted Softbank Mobile Corporation on its acquisition of Vodafone KK, and also advised Softbank Group on the acquisition financing of the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome. Other clients include Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Softbank. Masanori Sato, Toru Ishiguro, LBO specialist Satoko Kuwabara, Eriko Ozawa and Takahiro Kobayashi are recommended for financing work, and Yukinaga Kojima is a regulatory expert.
At Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu, Fumihide Sugimoto’s team includes PFI expert Takao Higuchi, finance specialist Shinichi Matsui, acquisition finance partner Jiro Mikami, Islamic finance expert Takashi Tsukioka, and banking and trade finance specialist Minoru Ota. Satoshi Inoue is also recommended. The firm fields several real estate finance specialists, including Mami Ikebukuro. It is advising Mizuho Financial Group as it turns Mizuho Trust & Banking Co and Mizuho Investors Securities Co into wholly owned subsidiaries of Mizuho Financial Group by way of three share exchange transactions.
Nishimura & Asahi’s team acted as borrower’s counsel on the syndicated acquisition financing provided to Tonen General Sekiyu KK to fund the acquisition of 99% of the issued share capital of ExxonMobil Yugen Kaisha. It also advised USJ Co, a Japanese company operating Universal Studios Japan, on the refinancing of an existing project finance loan. Masaru Ono heads the team, which includes Masahiro Ueno, Makoto Igarashi, Katsu Sengoku, Toshihiro Maeda and Shinichi Takahashi.
Atsumi & Sakai ‘can provide financial transactions advice and legal services quickly, accurately and professionally’. The firm recently prepared a ¥530bn term loan agreement and a commitment line agreement in excess of ¥130bn and conducted negotiations with the borrower, a Japanese telecoms and internet services provider. Its experience also includes property and asset finance, and securitisation. Yutaka Sakai’s ‘particular strength is keeping up with changes in the financial services field’. Hiroo Atsumi is ‘always great for insightful structuring’. Junko Ogushi, Hiroyuki Nezu and Tetsuji Tsujikawa are also recommended. The firm recently welcomed project finance specialist Tatsuo Tezuka from Nishimura & Asahi. Hiroaki Takahashi joined Canadian firm Davis & Takahashi in 2011.
City-Yuwa Partners fields specialist advisers in areas such as securitisation, non-recourse loans, acquisition finance and mezzanine finance. Financial regulatory experts Eri Furukawa and Noriyuki Katayama are recommended, as is experienced corporate finance partner Shoji Ushijima. Yasuyuki Kuribayashi has a strong reputation for advising investment funds.
Recently established Hibiya-Nakata joins the ranking. The firm, which was founded by former Allen & Overy Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho partner Nobuo Nakata, assists on financial transactions such as securisations and syndicated loans, and advises on regulations affecting securities companies, investment managers and banks.
TMI Associates advises on secured and unsecured lending work, finance leasing, corporate finance, and investment funds, and assists clients in registering to handle financial instrument transactions. Hidenori Nakagawa advises on financial regulations, Haruo Narimoto specialises in Japan-Korea transactions and Noriko Sakai has expertise in asset-backed and acquisition finance.
International firms and joint ventures
Index of tables
Banking and finance: International firms and joint ventures
Allen & Overy Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho
Clifford Chance Law Office
- White & Case LLP- White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association)
Hogan Lovells Horitsu Jimusho Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo
- Jones Day
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy
Ropes & Gray LLP
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Morgan Lewis – TMI
Norton Rose Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi Jimusho
Paul Hastings LLP
- Sidley Austin Nishikawa Foreign Law Joint Enterprise
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Banking and finance: foreign lawyers
Aled Davies -
Allen & Overy Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho
James Lawden -
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
John McClenahan -
Masayuki Okamoto -
Clifford Chance Law Office
- Gavin Raftery - Baker & McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)
- Eric Sedlak - Jones Day
- Christopher Wells - White & Case LLP- White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association)
- Aled Davies -
Allen & Overy Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho’s team of ‘hardworking, smart and sincere’ lawyers has general lending expertise, and is particularly highly rated for project financings. The firm has advised on a number of financings to Vietnam this year: it advised BNP Paribas on a ¥7.1bn NEXI-backed, Ministry of Finance (MOF)-guaranteed financing loan to a private corporation to develop the Nam Na 3 hydropower plant; and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) on a $64.2m NEXI-backed, MOF-guaranteed financing to a private corporation to build and develop the Srepok 4A hydropower plant project. Tokyo managing partner Aled Davies has a well-deserved reputation for excellence. Counsel Scott Neilson and Justen Fleming are also recommended. Adam Moncrieff now divides his time between Japan and Vietnam, having been appointed as head of the banking, finance and projects practice in Vietnam.
Clifford Chance Law Office joins the top tier and provides ‘very innovative advice’. It has a strong reputation for leveraged and project financing, as well as general banking matters. Its regulatory practice advises on investment funds, asset management, securities and banking law issues. The firm advised Mizuho Corporate Bank (as mandated lead arranger) on the refinancing of KKR’s Intelligence acquisition debt financing; and the same client on a financing in connection with Toshiba’s 100% share acquisition of Landis+Gyr. Masayuki Okamoto has ‘much experience’ and is able to ‘negotiate with foreign lawyers, which is rare in the area of leveraged finance’. Hidehiko Suzuki and ‘diligent and knowledgeable’ counsel Yemi Tepe are also recommended. In October 2012, Peter Kilner relocated to Hong Kong, but he continues to represent Japanese clients when required.
Linklaters’ ‘overall level of service is excellent’. The firm represented Mitsubishi Corporation in the co-ordination and negotiation of $2.5bn of commitments for the $7.5bn first close Global Strategic Infrastructure Alliance – a new type of investment fund structure developed by OMERS. It also advised Tokyo Star Bank and Shinsei Bank as mandated lead arrangers of a ¥13bn senior facilities agreement for the acquisition of certain Japanese engineering companies including Ctec, Technopro Engineering, CSI, Hitec and N&C. Traditional banking sector specialist Akihiro Wani and LBO expert Hiroya Yamazaki are highly recommended. ‘Knowledgeable and experienced’ managing associate Zenya Onishi leads the banking group in Tokyo. Christopher Bradley relocated to Singapore in June 2012, but continues to represent the firm’s Japanese clients when required.
White & Case LLP- White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) ‘focuses on results’ and shows ‘excellent recognition of clients’ objectives’. It advised Crédit Agricole CIB and ING Bank on a ¥17bn export-credit-backed financing provided to eAccess; and represented Aviation Capital Group in a ¥6.8bn syndicated loan arranged by BNP Paribas (Tokyo branch). Other clients include the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Mizuho Securities and Mizuho Corporate Bank, Secured Capital, Shinsei Trust Bank, SMBC and UBS. Simon Collins and Toshio Dokei lead the banking and finance practice, with Christopher Wells and Koichiro Ohashi heading the firm’s acclaimed financial services regulatory and compliance group. Sadly, Robert Grondine passed away in 2011.
Ashurst’s broad practice spans project, asset and acquisition finance as well as general corporate lending. It advised JBIC, Ex-Im Bank of Korea, NEXI and the co-ordinating lenders in relation to the $2.8bn Donggi-Senoro LNG project in Indonesia; and JBIC on a ¥8bn loan facility to the Central American Bank for Economic Integration. This ‘deep team’ includes highly recommended Tokyo managing partner John McClenahan, Kensuke Inoue and counsel Shri Maski. Rupert Burrows and Harvey Weaver are project finance experts. In March 2012, the firm merged with Australian firm Blake Dawson, and ‘the Australian capability of the firm brings a very interesting dynamic’.
Baker & McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) is praised for its ‘high-profile lawyers, quality of service and global network’. The firm has expertise in domestic and cross-border acquisition finance, project finance (including for PFI/PPPs), structured finance and real estate finance transactions. The firm advised the mandated lead arrangers and lenders (led by Mizuho Corporate Bank) on the debt financing of Bain Capital’s acquisition of Skylark from Nomura Principal Finance, YK NPF Harmony and Chuo Mitsui Private Equity Fund 1. It also assisted the arrangers and lenders (led by SMBC) on the debt financing of a Japanese consortium’s $680m cross-border acquisition of ARCO Aluminum from BP Company North America. Practice head Naoaki Eguchi and Gavin Raftery are recommended.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer fields an integrated banking team of foreign finance lawyers and bengoshi finance experts. The firm advised RHJ International on the divestment of its ¥14.2bn stake in Asahi Tec Corporation to funds managed by Unison Capital Group. It also represented JBIC as guarantor of a proposed samurai bonds issue by Qatar Petroleum and assisted Barclays Bank on Japanese branch funding. Other clients include Piedmont, Deutsche Bank, Barclays Capital Japan, CVC Capital Partners and the Development Bank of Japan. Consultant Naoki Kinami, head of the banking practice group James Lawden, Edward Cole and counsel Don Stokes are recommended. The firm recently recruited project finance specialist Mark Plenderleith from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.
Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise has a superb reptuation for finance work, and moves up a tier. It advised Jurong Aromatics and its affiliates on the development financing of the Jurong Aromatics petrochemicals project, and represented TeaM Energy Corporation on a $220m mezzanine loan facility to be provided by a syndicate of mostly Philippine banks, and which was arranged by SB Capital Corporation, a subsidiary of Security Bank. The firm is also representing the lenders in the Ichthys LNG project. Tokyo managing partner Joseph Bevash and Michael Yoshii are recommended. Bank regulatory and structured finance expert Hisao Hirose left to join Squire Sanders Miki Yoshida Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Tokkyo Jimusho.
Morrison & Foerster Ito & Mitomi rises a tier, and recently advised the lead arranger, lead lender and agents on financing Unison Capital’s leveraged buyout of Minit Asia from CVC Asia Pacific. The team continues to advise JBIC and The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ on a $200m loan to Tenigal for the construction of a new continuous, hot-dip galvanizing line in Mexico. ‘Hardworking’ head of the banking group Dale Caldwell and the ‘excellent’ Theodore Seltzer are highly experienced.
Hogan Lovells Horitsu Jimusho Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo’s finance and capital markets group, which rises in the ranking, advises on financing transactions and acts for private equity firms and investment management companies on the trading of distressed debt. The firm advised BNP Paribas as arranger of a facility agreement and a number of limited recourse loan transactions, and also represented FMS Wertmanagement in respect of a high-value portfolio of Japanese loans, including the potential sale of the portfolio. Practice head Philip Hyde and senior associate Jonathan Green are recommended.
Jones Day advises on project, ship and real estate finance and has a growing investment fund advisory practice. The team acted for Mizuho Corporate Bank on a syndicated ship finance transaction involving NS United Kaiun Kaisha. It also represented OCBC Bank in the purchase of ¥6.5bn Zenith Residences Tokyo TMK series 2 unrated term bonds. Other clients include IBJ Leasing Company and JBIC. John Roebuck, Eric Sedlak and Kaoru Umino are recommended. David Deck joined DFDL in Singapore.
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy’s recent work includes a reserve-based financing in the oil and gas sector, leveraged acquisitions in the power sector in North America and Southeast Asia, recapitalisations, limited recourse transactions, structured financings in Asia and Latin America, and a series of bridge to takeout financings. Clients include Mizuho Corporate Bank, BNP Paribas Tokyo Branch, JBIC and Shinsei Bank. Gary Wigmore, who splits his time between Hong Kong and Tokyo, is recommended, as is associate Shigeyuki Ito. Mark Plenderleith recently left the firm to join Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
Ropes & Gray LLP joins the table this year. The firm, which is earning an enviable reputation for its leveraged acquisition expertise, recently acted as counsel to Bain Capital as lead sponsor in the $3.2bn leveraged acquisition of Skylark, and has won mandates from new clients such as Barings Private Equity Asia on LBO transactions in Japan. Tsuyoshi Imai and counsel Kaori Fukazawa, who joined from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, are recommended.
Shearman & Sterling LLP, which joins the table this year, is advising Mizuho Corporate Bank on its agreement with WestLB to acquire its Brazilian corporate banking subsidiary, Banco WestLB do Brasil. The team also advised on a mezzanine financing related to the $3bn development of the Blythe solar project. Other clients include JBIC, UBS Securities Japan, Development Bank of Japan, and Citigroup Global Markets Japan. Etienne Gelencsér heads the group, which includes the talented Masahisa Ikeda, Kenneth Lebrun and counsel Brian Wheeler.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is currently advising a Japanese client on compliance with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and recently advised The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Corporate Bank and SMBC on Dodd-Frank Act issues. Indeed, Theodore Paradise has established a reputation as an expert in Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation. Eugene Gregor relocated to Hong Kong.
At K&L Gates, commercial disputes partner Keiji Isaji advises on securities, banking and regulatory matters relating to Japanese banking law. Ryan Dwyer has experience in asset finance, with an emphasis on aircraft and real estate deals. Robert Melson, who splits his time between Tokyo and Singapore, specialises in financing transactions.
Morgan Lewis – TMI, which joins the table, advised Atyrau Refinery on a $297.5m financing package with JBIC and other Japanese banks, and also represented KazMunaiGas on its $1.1bn financing. Lisa Yano is a banking and finance specialist.
Norton Rose Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi Jimusho is well known for its project finance, asset finance and syndicated lending expertise. Jeremy Gibb is experienced in the financing of transport and energy assets, while financing forms a key part of George Gibson’s global energy and infrastructure projects practice.
Paul Hastings LLP advises on real estate, asset, acquisition and leveraged finance deals. It advised a Japanese credit card company on compliance issues concerning a proposed strategic alliance, and assisted Fortress with the acquisition of a number of performing and non-performing loans in Japan. It also represented Ex-Im Bank of Korea on financing of the Mong Duong 2 power plant in Vietnam. Joseph Kim is recommended.
At Sidley Austin Nishikawa Foreign Law Joint Enterprise, office managing partner Tomoo Nishikawa and Akira Nakazawa have extensive banking and finance expertise, and a formidable financial regulatory practice.
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP joins the table this year. It provides US regulatory advice to Goldman Sachs in the Asia Pacific region, and recently advised Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation on regulatory issues relating to its $434m acquisition of a 15% stake in AMP Capital Investors from AMP. It also assisted Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group with the submission of comment letters on the Dodd-Frank Act. Izumi Akai and Keiji Hatano are recommended.
In 2011, Hiroaki Takahashi joined Canadian firm Davis & Takahashi from Atsumi & Sakai. New to the table this year, the firm advises on structured finance, project finance, real estate finance, leveraged finance, banking, capital markets and J-REITs.