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

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Real estate and construction – International firms and joint ventures
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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At Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) the real estate team operates as part of the major projects, energy, infrastructure and mining department. Practice co-head Ean Mac Pherson acted in the real estate aspects and construction law issues related to major infrastructure and energy projects; he co-heads the construction practice with Toshio Sasaki. In recent other highlights, Alexander Jampel acted for a two major life insurance companies in the non-recourse loans secured by a large mixed-use office, retail and residential building held in trust in Tokyo, and Seishi Ikeda represented the asset manager in a foreign Asian fund's acquisition of an office building in Tokyo. Chris Hodgens oversaw the real estate aspects of several major new hotel developments in South East Asia. On the junior side, senior associates Maki Kawamura and Taijiro Suzuki are key names to note alongside counsel Haruhiko Ogasawara.

Clients note Clifford Chance Law Office's real estate practice for 'meeting their requests precisely' and 'always providing correct advice'. Managing partner Eiichi Kanda is singled out in particular; he recently led the advice to a Middle Eastern state-owned oil fund on a development project related to the construction of a hotel in Japan, and oversaw the acquisition of an office building to be converted into a hotel via equity investments on behalf of a fund and its sponsor. Elsewhere, Leng-Fong Lai represented a hospitality group in its acquisition of land in Ginza from Mitsui Fudosan and the development of a new hotel, while counsel Satoshi Nomura was part of the team which handled the refinancing of TMK bonds issued by two TMKs holding residential properties in Tokyo on behalf of a Luxembourg fund. Other key names to note include Natsuko Sugihara, financing expert Yusuke Abe and Yoshiaki Shimizu, who was recently promoted to counsel.

The full-service offering at Herbert Smith Freehills covers all aspects of contentious and non-contentious matters arising from international infrastructure, construction and real estate projects. Recent work highlights include department head Emma Kratochvilova's counsel to a major international industrial group on US litigation and mediation arising from a critical failure incident during the commissioning phase of a coal-fired power plant. The team was also instructed by a Japanese engineering company to handle its dispute against a contractor that claimed payments for the purchase and supply of critical parts for the construction of a generation plant in the Middle East. Dispute resolution experts such as Elaine Wong and David Gilmore also intervened in JCAA and international arbitration proceedings, as well as investigations. On the advisory side, construction specialist Christopher Hunt is advising the representative entity of a consortium on its bid for the development of an integrated resort in Japan. Senior associate Nicholas Oury specialises in construction disputes and is also a key name to note.

Described as 'one of the best real estate outfits in Tokyo', Morrison & Foerster LLP fields a 'very professional, experienced and responsive team' which 'always gets to the point'. Practice co-heads Masahiro Shiga and Theodore Seltzer 'know their practice area extremely well'. In recent highlights, Sekisui House, a leading Japanese real estate construction company, appointed Joshua Isenberg and his team to oversee its acquisition of a US company to expand its overseas business, while the 'very diligentreasonable and commercial' Mori Inada led the advice to a major bank on the financing of several hospitality assets. Also of note is Junichi Kurokoshi and Christopher Spalding who has joined as of counsel from King & Spalding. Keisuke Mochizuki retired from the practice in 2018.

White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association)'s real estate practice handles high-profile and high-value transactions such as the Astro Group's sale of its entire portfolio of office, retail and residential real estate interests to a Singapore entity managed by Blackstone. The team is jointly led by Gerald Fujii and Mizuho Yamada, who recently teamed up with Tetsuya Morimoto to advise an investment fund on its acquisition of a portfolio of residential and hospitality assets from a special purpose vehicle. In other highlights, Kazuo Kasai was promoted to counsel and continues to represent a variety of clients in disputes, restructuring and financing mandates.

The real estate and construction group at King & Spalding is especially strong in the power sector. The Tokyo office is spearheaded by John McClenahan and regularly acts for financial institutions, contractors, developers, trading houses and foreign corporates in outbound financing and transactional mandates. Mark Davies is leading the advice to Tokyu Land Corporation and Japan Wind Development on the development of a 34MW and 40.8MW wind power projects, while Rupert Lewi is assisting Sojitz on a proposed FSU project in Sri Lanka. For dispute resolution work, clients can rely on Christopher Bailey, who acts in contractual claims, international arbitration and investor protection cases; he recently intervened in a high-value dispute in front of the English Commercial Court for a consortium partner against a contractor relating to the performance of drilling work in an offshore project.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP covers the full gamut of real estate transactions, financings, joint ventures and investments, with a particular focus on outbound mandates on behalf of institutional Japanese clients. In recent highlights, Yuko Ino collaborated with the US team to oversee a joint venture between Tokyo Trust Capital and Meritage Properties for the acquisition and financing of an 11-story office building in Washington DC. Meanwhile, Toshihiko Tsuchiya advised the trustee of Parkway Life REIT on its $14m investment in Konosu Nursing Home Kyoseien in Saitama. Yutaro Nakadate was recently promoted to managing associate and assisted a fund managed by the Japanese subsidiary of a leading international REIT with multiple acquisitions and related financings with the support of managing associate David Gotsill.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP's Simon Barrett and Anthony Raven co-head the infrastructure offering in Tokyo and regularly advise clients on disputes arising from project development and construction projects. In recent highlights, Raven acted for a Japanese utility company in its acquisition of a US power plant, and Barrett represented a multinational corporation in a dispute against a contractor arising from various claims for delay and design defects in relation to the construction of a gas-to-gasoline plant in Central Asia. Counsel Paul Marston is also a key name to note for transactional work and EPC contract issues.

The main name to note in Ashurst's real estate and construction department is Matthew Rickards, a specialist in the development of power and infrastructure assets. Anna Hermelin has considerable experience in the financing, developing and structuring of projects and was recently promoted to partner. Rupert Burrows departed the firm and Anthony Hague took up an in-house position with Walmart.

At DLA Piper the real estate lawyers 'are professional, hold a deep knowledge of the field and are fast in analysis situations' and 'the service is always excellent'. Hilton, Hyatt and Luxury Hotels recently benefited from Japan managing partner Lance Miller and real estate practice head Mitsuharu Kataoka's advice on the management of their hotels and franchise agreements in Japan. In other highlights, the group acted for Legoland in issues arising from construction agreements, equipment purchase and installation agreements, and ride contracts for its theme park in Nagoya. The team also collaborated with the tax, dispute resolution, employment and corporate departments on the formation of joint ventures, landlord disputes, and financing matters.

Edward Cole helms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's real estate offering which recently assisted a major global technology company with the expansion of its presence in Japan through the acquisition of new retail sites, lease negotiations and development agreements for new stores. Senior counsel Tomoko Nakajima is part of the multi-office team representing the lender to a bidding consortium for a major airport concession, and advised an investment manager on its exercise of a call option for the shares of a Japanese holding company of a tokumei kumiai arrangement holding their real estate investments.

Jones Day has strong experience in securitisation, corporate real estate and outbound investment matters. The partner to note is Katsumi Shirai, who has a particular focus on downstream real estate and renewable energy project acquisition transactions. Shirai recently acted for Fujisaki Electric in the development of a bamboo biomass project and assisted PAG with its acquisition of companies with real estate assets and trust beneficiary interests in central Tokyo. Associate Yuki Yoshida supported Shirai in his work for an investment manager pertaining to its acquisition of condominiums pursued under a double TMK structure, and the development of hotel resorts. Also notable are of counsels Masatomo Suzuki and Hirokazu Ina.

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