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Japan > Labour and employment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Independent local firms

Index of tables

  1. Labour and employment: independent local firms
  2. Leading individuals: bengoshi
  3. Next generation lawyers: bengoshi

Next generation lawyers: bengoshi

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Independent local firms clients in Japan using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Anderson Mori & Tomotsune’s leading business immigration figures include department heads Kazutoshi Kakuyama, Hideki Thurgood Kanoh and Yukiko Imazu. Labour expert Takaharu Matsumura handles restructuring and business rehabilitation, union negotiation and wage and staff reductions. Yuhki Tanaka excels in M&A-related matters, particularly employment transfers. Nobuhito Sawasaki has deep experience in employment benefit schemes, pensions and data privacy, as well as labour disputes and redundancies. In addition to conducting litigation, the team also counsels businesses on developing strategies to prevent disputes.

Led by Kunihiro Sumida, Atsumi & Sakai’s practice advises the Japanese subsidiaries of foreign companies on a diverse range of matters, including issues arising out of cross-border transactions. The team handles dismissals through working on termination schemes and settling disputes via mediation. Sumida undertook disputes involving claims such as sexual harassment and pay increases. Hiroyuki Sanbe handles disciplinary actions and cases surrounding the treatment of foreign employees, among other matters. Bonnie Dixon is also recommended.

At Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, practice head Chisako Takayaprovides a clear and steady way for clients to go’ for fixed-term employment issues, disciplinary measures, retirement disputes and other contentious matters. Domestic and foreign corporates retain the practice for a wide range of matters, including restructuring, staff migration and collective bargaining. The practice advised Bain Capital on transferring employees as part of its acquisition of Ooedo-Onsen Holdings. Taichi Arai is highly recommended, as is senior associate Yoshikazu Abe, who joined from Takai Okazeri Law Firm. Shiho Ono made partner and provides ‘clear advice’.

Management-focused Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu offers ‘good commercial advice’ to international businesses and their Japanese affiliates in restructurings, M&A-related employment matters, union relations and disputes. Under Hisaya Kimura, the ‘excellent’ department handles internal investigations and collective bargaining, as well as sexual harassment, non-competition covenants, unfair termination and trade secret litigation. Akihisa Shiozaki is adept in white-collar-related investigations, labour compliance and whistleblower cases, while Kimura undertakes workplace accident mandates. Masahiro Matsuoka, Jun Kanda, Norimitsu Arai and Koki Yanagisawa are highly regarded.

TMI Associates advises companies on establishing and operating personnel systems, M&A-related employment issues, trade union negotiations and immigration. Mie Fujimoto and Motoi Fujii handle contentious work, including internal investigations and harassment claims. The firm sets the standard for trade union matters involving unfair labour practices, collective bargaining and Labour Relations Commission proceedings. Downsizing and employment contracts are examples of non-contentious work.

Nishimura & Asahi’s expertise include restructuring, reforming personnel systems, bankruptcy issues and M&A-related work. The firm acts for employers – which include Mercedes-Benz and Nidec – in labour-management relations, and disputes and litigation. Practice head Michihiro Mori advised ClassNK on setting up a committee for supervising foreign workers in shipbuilding. Hisashi Miyatsuka and Osaka-based Taisuke Igaki are key figures.

Japanese corporates instruct Iwata Godo for advice on HR strategy and complying with new legislation, managing organisational changes arising from M&A transactions, handling tribunals and litigation, and advising on trade union relations. Negotiating departures and pension issues are additional strengths of Hirotaka Uranaka and Shinya Tago’s team. Counsel Hiroki Fujiwara is another contact.

Ushijima & Partners’ ‘business-focused’ practice provides support to foreign businesses that operate in Japan or are establishing a presence in the country. Led by Kenichi Kojima, the team also advises domestic clients and has particular expertise in overtime cases. Retirement, redundancy, performance management, health and safety, and non-competition agreements are other strengths.

International firms and joint ventures

Index of tables

  1. Labour and employment: international firms and joint ventures
  2. Leading individuals: bengoshi (within international firms and joint ventures)
  3. Next generation lawyers: bengoshi (within international firms and joint ventures)
  4. Next generation lawyers: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

Leading individuals: bengoshi (within international firms and joint ventures)

  1. 1
    • Kazuki Okada - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Next generation lawyers: bengoshi (within international firms and joint ventures)

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

  1. 1
    • Florence Cheung - Herbert Smith Freehills

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which International firms and joint ventures clients in Japan using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


International businesses with Japanese operations look to Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) for domestic and cross-border advice. Practice head Tomohisa Muranushi is a ‘real specialist’ who ‘understands large multinationals’. He designs employment terms and conditions, advises on reductions in force and labour disputes. Hiroshi Kondo concentrates on post-merger integrations and Kana Itabashi works on a broad range of matters, including the employment aspects of corporate reorganisations and global audits, litigation and workplace harassment investigations. Mihoko Ida was promoted to of counsel.

DLA Piper has ‘a full scope of specialists’ and acts for multinationals such as Cisco Systems, SDL, Princess Cruises and Audemars Piguet. Practice head Lawrence Carter handles investigations, harassment claims and force reductions. Also noted is senior associate Keiji Nasuda, who handles disputes (including the enforcement of non-compete covenants), union negotiations and severances. On the non-contentious side, Nasuda handles post-merger integration and various transactional-related matters, as well as regulatory, worker dispatch, pension and benefit work.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s day-to-day employment advice is led by newly promoted partner Akiko Yamakawa, who also represents domestic and foreign entities in court proceedings arising out of claims of unfair dismissal, employee misconduct and sexual harassment. She also provides advice to Japanese companies on issues connected to overseas investments. Kazuki Okada handles union disputes and redundancy issues.

Herbert Smith Freehills saw an increase in contentious work in the form of investigation and compliance mandates, particularly regarding workplace harassment. ‘Knowledgeable’ managing partner Peter Godwin leads the practice and spearheads risk management and contentious work, including litigation, union relations and board reorganisations. Corporate specialist Graeme Preston handles non-contentious work, such as reviewing employment policies and separation agreements. Senior associate Georgina Stevens relocated to Perth.

Yuichiro Mori and Takashi Tanazawa now head Jones Day’s department following Rika Sato’s departure to establish a new firm. The practice’s expertise covers domestic and cross-border employment law advice, disputes, M&A-related work and non-compete agreements, as well as termination, breach of contract and employee conduct issues. The firm advised Cardinal Health on labour matters, employee benefits and transferring staff following its acquisition of Cordis.

O'Melveny’s Yoji Maeda advises employers from industries such as private equity, entertainment and pharmaceuticals on contentious matters as well as employment issues connected to M&A transactions and corporate restructuring. Executive replacement, regulatory investigations, union issues and discrimination claims are regular sources of work.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP provides day-to-day HR advice to leading international companies with operations or subsidiaries in Japan. Practice head Yumiko Ohta was promoted to of counsel. Her recent caseload includes worker dispatch agreements, termination cases and post-integration issues arising out of M&A transactions.

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