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  1. Dispute resolution – International firms and joint ventures
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

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Next Generation Partners

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The dispute resolution team at Herbert Smith Freehills has a strong record in the Japanese market and is well known in the international arbitration space for ‘fast and comprehensive legal services’. David Gilmore acts as the Tokyo office's managing partner and leads the dispute resolution offering with a particular focus on commercial arbitration; he recently teamed up with the ‘excellent, extremely competent, honest and innovative’  Elaine Wong to represent a Middle Eastern automotive distributor in a JCAA arbitration brought against a multinational manufacturer over the alleged violation and wrongful termination of a long-term distribution agreement. Wong was also instructed in investigations into a multilateral development bank following allegations of bribery, corruption and collusion connected to the development of several power stations. Meanwhile, Gilmore, Damien Roberts and senior associate Ben Jolley were instructed by a Japanese technology company to undertake an internal investigation into non-compliant accounting practices related to equipment leases across several Asian jurisdictions. Elsewhere, Emma Kratochvilova heads the real estate and construction practice and led the advice on a number of arbitration and litigation proceedings in the projects and energy space alongside the ‘extremely professional’ Christopher Hunt, who recently assisted a renewables company in its defence of an application brought by a scientific institute to set aside an ICC arbitration award in the client's favour.

Morrison & Foerster LLP assists heavyweight clients with international arbitration, litigation and investigations both globally and domestically. Practice head Louise Stoupe and Chie Yakura represented Toshiba and Toshiba Memory in a series of arbitration and litigation proceedings brought by Western Digital and its subsidiary SanDisk in light of the client's decision to sell its subsidiary to a consortium led by Bain Capital. Max Olson and recently promoted partner Yuka Teraguchi are currently acting for a major technology company in worldwide patent infringement litigation against a competitor. Other key clients include Fujitsu, SoftBank, Terumo and NEC. Steve Comer retired from the practice and James Hough relocated to the New York office.

The names to note in King & Spalding's disputes practice are team head Christopher Bailey and associate Oliver McEntee who provide a global outbound dispute capabilities for the firm's Japanese client roster. In recent highlights, a multinational automotive corporation appointed the group to handle a JCAA arbitration against its business partners arising from the non-renewal of a distribution agreement, and a billionaire investor engaged the team to represent them in an action for breach of fiduciary duties against the board of a leading international corporate group. Also notable are the various disputes arising from the procurement of power and infrastructure projects in South East Asia and the North Sea.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP acts for both international clients in Japan-based disputes and domestic entities in outbound matters, and has recently been advising clients caught in actions pertaining to new technologies, cyber security and data protection. Yoshihiro Takatori leads the group and acted for a leading Japanese electronics manufacturer in international mediation proceedings administered by the JCAA over defects in television sets manufactured by a Hong Kong entity. Shinsuke Yakura was supported by managing associates Kei Kato and Masao Fujino to represent a retailer in a dispute brought by a fashion designer alleging violations of her rights to publicity, copyright law and breaches of the retailer's antitrust obligations; the client counter-sued for breach of contract. Also notable is managing associate Haruka Matsumoto who advised a medical device manufacturer on an internal investigation arising from a series of whistleblower reports concerning issues of bribery, bid-rigging and corruption. David Case is experienced in the field of intellectual property and is also a key name to note.

Boutique litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP entrusts its Tokyo office to Ryan Goldstein who covers the full gamut of business disputes including intellectual property, antitrust, fraud, commercial contracts and product liability. In recent highlights, Goldstein secured a victory for Tsuburaya Productions in the Central District of California where it had been fighting a claim brought by a Thai man who alleged that the former president of Tsuburaya had signed over all rights to the 'Ultraman' character outside of Japan in a one-page contract. Also notable is his work for Mitsubishi in several longstanding antitrust actions arising from allegations of price-fixing in the international market for cathode ray tubes, and his successful overturning of almost all of a $930m penalty judgment against Samsung following its ongoing 'smartphone war' with Apple.

Ashurst's dispute resolution practice is centred around the firm's Japanese client base which includes major trading houses, industrial groups, utilities and financial institutions. Kensuke Inoue jointly heads the team with Ronnie King, who has arrived from the Singapore office where he was managing partner. In recent highlights, the team represented the projects business unit of a major corporation on a breach of anti-corruption compliance of a joint venture partner in a project in South East Asia. Inoue also acted for a financial institution in two class-action suits alleging false reporting and rate-related misconduct including manipulation. Recently promoted senior associate Huw Watkins teamed up with the London office to handle an arbitration claim on behalf of a corporate against an aircraft company with respect to an outstanding debt complicated by a bribery scandal. Anthony Hague started an in-house role at Walmart.

At Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) the dispute resolution team is comprised of Japanese and international lawyers who cover the full spectrum of disputes and risk management matters across a vast range of industry sectors. Following a series of cyber frauds, a global life science company appointed a team led by practice head Yoshiaki Muto to oversee its crime reporting and investigation proceedings in Japan, while Kengo Nishigaki advised a Japanese medical devices company on an internal investigation pertaining to alleged bribery and conflict of interest offences in South East Asia. Joel Greer handled a number of JCAA arbitration cases and assisted a heavyweight corporate name on a mediation with a Middle Eastern party over a project construction dispute. Other key names include Tomohisa Muranushi, Hideyuki Yamamoto, antitrust specialist Akira Inoue and intellectual property expert Daisuke Tatsuno.

Nicholas Lingard heads the dispute resolution department at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer which recently welcomed counsel Joaquin Terceño, previously of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's New York office. A cross-office team represented a major Japanese conglomerate in all aspects of potential arbitration proceedings against Taiwan in connection with an infrastructure construction project. Further recent highlights include Lingard's enforcement of a Tokyo-seated arbitral award in Saudi Arabia on behalf of a major Japanese trading house, while  Takeshi Nakao and senior associate Alexander Dmitrenko advised a global energy company on its regulatory compliance programmes. Kazuki Okada and the other bengoshi litigators left the firm to start Vanguard Lawyers.

Jones Day 's dispute resolution team caters to a broad client roster which includes household names in the pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and IT sectors. Maxwell Fox has a strong track record intervening in the intellectual property litigation space, while practice head Takashi Tanazawa has experience in product liability cases, contractual disputes and employment litigation. For contentious tax issues, clients can rely on Koichi Inoue.

Takahiro Hoshino and J. Ryan Dwyer jointly head K&L Gates' dispute resolution group and recently acted for a major international airline in a claim by a workers' union alleging the redundancy of three members was an illegal attack against the union. In Tokyo District Court, Nobuki Wada represented a pharmaceutical company in a suit filed by a former employee who was dismissed due to unacceptable behaviour. In other highlights, a shipping company appointed the team to handle a damages claim against a manufacturer over a defective ship engine.

The dispute resolution offering at O'Melveny includes Japanese domestic litigation, international arbitration and criminal investigations. Managing partner Yoji Maeda is the senior name to note; with the help of counsel Hiroko Nihei, he recently secured a victory in the Supreme Court for the consumer finance subsidiary of Citigroup following a series of mass consumer litigation actions brought against several financial institutions. In other highlights, the pair represented a leading roofing company in its warranty claim against a supplier that supplied faulty materials for several projects; they also handled a major car company's claim against a number of autoparts manufacturers over the supply of defective parts.

Squire Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho's senior counsel Haig Oghigian is representing a technology company in a JCAA case pertaining to the manufacturing of software and which highlights the clashes between Japanese and US intellectual property laws. Senior associate David Yaegashi recently teamed up with Oghigian to counsel a trading house on an arbitration against a Swiss company in the context of a joint venture agricultural firm in South America, and to assist a US-based software business in a dispute over an OEM agreement with a Chinese phone manufacturer.

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