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Japan > Real estate and construction > International firms and joint ventures > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Real estate and construction: international firms and joint ventures
  2. Leading individuals: bengoshi (within international firms and joint ventures)
  3. Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)
  4. Next generation lawyers: bengoshi (within international firms and joint ventures)
  5. Next generation lawyers: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

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

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Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

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

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Next generation lawyers: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

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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


Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)understands the Japanese market perfectly’, while also utilising its international offices to advise on cross-border matters spanning developments, tax structuring issues, REITs, environmental matters, commercial leasing and non-recourse TMK loans. The ‘highly experienced’ Seishi Ikeda and Alexander Jampel lead the firm’s real estate practice, while Ean Mac Pherson and Toshio Sasaki head the construction team, which has substantial experience in the energy and resources sectors. In a recent highlight, Mac Pherson acted for Conergy Japan on the development and sale of a solar project in Aomori Prefecture. Lone Star Group, Tokyu Group and Itochu are also clients. Associates Maki Kawamura and Taijiro Suzuki are also recommended.

At Herbert Smith Freehills, the ‘highly professional’ Emma Kratochvilova heads the team with ‘exceptional leadership that is paired with excellent knowledge and experience’, which makes her ‘a master of the construction field’. Clients also praise senior associate Nicholas Oury, who is ‘an excellent addition to the team’ following his move from the firm’s London office. The practice handles contentious and non-contentious mandates including EPC contracts, operations agreements, international arbitration and disruption claims. IHI Corporation, MHI, Marubeni, Mitsui & Co and Itochu feature on the client roster. David Gilmore, Elaine Wong and Christopher Hunt are recommended for contentious matters, and the ‘solution-oriented’ Andrew Blacoe handles energy sector matters.

Morrison & Foerster LLPperforms at the highest possible level’ thanks to ‘business acumen, industry knowledge and strength in depth that are second to none’. Handling real estate transactions and financing, practice heads Keisuke Mochizuki and Theodore Seltzer ‘are a great team and complement each other’s creativity and practicality’. The ‘brilliant’ Joshua Isenberg is the key name for construction issues. Recent highlights include advising Mori Trust on the establishment of its US subsidiary and the subsidiary’s subsequent acquisition of two office buildings in Boston; and acting for Sekisui House on its $468m acquisition of Woodside Homes. Junichi Kurokoshi handles real estate financings and Mori Inada made partner in 2017.

The ‘dedicated and client-focused’ department at White & Case LLP – White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) focuses on inbound and outbound real estate transactions. Practice head Tetsuya Morimoto recently advised PAG, CBRE and Unified Industrial on the sale of a portfolio of 169 properties; Mizuho Yamada ‘consistently demonstrates exceptionally strong capability in the field’; and Gerald Fujii handles real estate acquisition and finance matters with notable experience advising real estate funds. Ayako Kawano is also singled out, counsel Chiho Saito is ‘extremely knowledgeable’ and associate Kazuo Kasai ‘provides great client support’.

Rupert Burrows leads Ashurst’s practice and stands out for his energy and infrastructure sector expertise; his recent work includes acting for Caribbean Gas Chemical on the development of a methanol plant and dimethyl ether production facility in Trinidad and Tobago, and assisting Sumitomo with its bid for the EPC contract of the Matabari power plant and port facilities project. Counsel Anthony Hague is the key name for construction disputes and arbitration, and Matthew Rickards focuses on infrastructure transactions; Rickards was recently part of the team that advised JBIC and the commercial lenders on the Khanom IPP project.

Clifford Chance Law Office’s cross-border focus covers real estate investment, divestment, development, financing and transactional restructuring for an expansive client list featuring Berjaya Land Berhad, Tokyu Trust Capital and Vinci Airports. In a recent highlight, practice head Eiichi Kanda, Leng-Fong Lai and Yusuke Abe advised Kirkbi as sponsor on the development of a Legoland theme park in Nagoya. Lai is noted for his real estate investment and financing expertise, and acts for sponsors and lenders on senior, mezzanine and hybrid financings, while Abe has regulatory experience. Counsel Satoshi Nomura and senior associate Yoshiaki Shimizu also attract praise.

At King & Spalding, Rupert Lewi and John McClenahan are the key names to note for construction transactions, while Christopher Bailey handles the firm’s contentious work. The group remains strong in the energy sector following its move from Ashurst in 2015; recent highlights include advising Kogas on its involvement in the LNG Canada project, assisting Modec, Mitsui & Co, Marubeni and MOL with the construction of the Tartaruga FPSO vessel; and acting for Marubeni on its involvement in a Papua New Guinean condensate and LNG project.

With ‘a team of absolute superstars’, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s key practitioners include ‘exceptionally brilliant’ practice head Toshihiko Tsuchiya, who focuses on the securitisation and liquidation of real estate assets; and Yuko Ino, whose transactional experience includes acquisitions, developments and joint ventures. The group is also highly regarded for its cross-border expertise; recent work includes advising Langham Hotel Investments on its purchase of land in central Tokyo for a hotel development, acting for Parkway Life REIT on the ¥3.7bn sale of four nursing homes, and assisting a real estate investment fund with its acquisition of an office tower development in Yokohama.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is recognised for its construction knowledge, with department head Simon Barrett handling disputes and projects in the energy and infrastructure space. The team recently advised IHI Corporation, JGC Corporation, Japan Marine United and Japan EAS Investment on issues surrounding their exit from Brazilian ship building company, EAS. Further clients include the government of Cyprus, Micron Technology, Sojitz, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Metal One. Counsel Paul Marston is also a name to note; he regularly advises on transactional issues and EPC agreement disputes.

DLA Piper often handles acquisitions, investments, developments and regulatory matters for a client roster spanning multinational financial institutions, corporations and funds; examples include Marriott Vacations Worldwide, Regus Japan and Gaw Capital Partners. Managing partner Lance Miller and of counsel Mitsuharu Kataoka are the key contacts; the pair worked together advising Hilton Hotels & Resorts on its Japanese hotel management contracts and acted for lululemon athletica on the lease of its stores in Japan. Makiko Kawamura is praised for her tax advice.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer divides its practice into three distinct areas; advising on domestic infrastructure deals, handling acquisitions and sales for Japanese funds, and assisting with commercial work including leases. Edward Cole leads the department, which includes ‘absolutely great’ senior counsel Tomoko Nakajima, who is ‘very honest, direct and responsive’ with ‘an excellent manner that is easy to work with’. The team acted for X-ELIO during the development of a solar project in Fukushima.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Jones Day shows ‘a deep understanding of the field and an ability to fully grasp what clients need’. Group head Katsumi Shirai ‘knows the market well from a commercial and legal perspective’ and joined the team in 2017 from TMI Associates. His recent work includes acting for Gaia Power on the development of a solar project. Areas of expertise for the department also include securitisation issues, corporate transactions, outbound investment and mandates in the hospitality sector. Of counsel Masatomo Suzuki is another name to note.

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