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Independent local firms

Index of tables

  1. Shipping: independent local firms
  2. Leading individuals: bengoshi
  3. Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (within independent local firms)

Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (within independent local firms)

  1. 1

Hailed as ‘one of the most famous and longstanding maritime lawyers’, Hiratsuka & Co’s senior partner Makoto Hiratsuka impresses in jurisdictional and bankruptcy issues. The practice handles Japanese court and arbitration proceedings and is a ‘first choice for non-Japanese clients’. Its marine expertise includes collisions, on-board fires and cargo claims. Newly elected partner Yuji Miyazaki is another key figure.

Max Law Officegets its fair share of deals’ and has ‘substantial industry knowledge’ that is ‘invaluable’ to foreign P&I clubs and shipping companies. Takayuki Matsui is ‘one of the most famous maritime lawyers’ in casualty and shipping litigation. The ‘very talented’ Rie Akiba manages ship finance work for banks and foreign shipowners. Master mariner Shigeru Akachi ‘strengthens the team with his nautical expertise’ in casualty investigations. Master mariner Hiroyuki Kyuko joined from First Marine.

Okabe & Yamaguchi represented underwriters in a high-profile case involving a fire aboard the Sunflower Daisetsu, which resulted in the loss of more than ¥600m worth of cargo. Shuji Yamaguchi leads the cargo claim team, while Teruyuki Sago heads the collision and salvage practice. Their combined expertise includes ship collision, wreck removal and oil pollution. Takehiko Tozuka and Hiroki Okabe are highly regarded.

Pre-eminent financial institutions instruct Atsumi & Sakai for ship finance work, and other clients include general trading companies and shipowners. LNG-related work, syndicated loans and advising on charterparty matters are among the practice’s strengths. Senior partner Yutaka Sakai, Reiko Yoshida and Takeshi Takahashi are recommended.

TMI Associates is adept across all aspects of shipping, from advising on structuring ship finance schemes to handling matters relating to the carriage of goods. The practice also undertakes a range of casualty work. Newly promoted partner Jumpei Osada is the name to note.

Law Offices of Toda & Co focuses on casualty cases and has been active in collisions, grounding and limitation proceedings. Mitsuhiro Toda heads the team.

Sotaro Mori and Tetsuro Nakamura’s caseload at Yoshida & Partners includes charterparty disputes, collisions and salvage issues. The firm is ‘highly rated’ for casualty work.

International firms and joint ventures

Index of tables

  1. Shipping: international firms and joint ventures
  2. Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

Leading individuals: foreign lawyers (gaiben)

  1. 1

Norton Rose Fulbright’s impressive clients include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Orix Corporation and various Japanese mega banks. Practice head Jeremy Gibb has ‘deep knowledge’ in the sale, purchase and transport of energy assets using domestic and cross-border financing structures. Adrian Joyce advised Sumitomo Mitsui Banking and ING as lenders on a substantial loan to Tartaruga MV29 to support a FPSO chartering service. Jason Lemann made of counsel and is the main contact for contentious work. Newly promoted partner Paul Coggins ‘has a lot of experience’ and is well regarded, as is emerging markets specialist George Gibson.

White & Case LLP – White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) is ‘one of the best’ for ship finance, covering everything from debt and structured lease financing to restructuring. The ‘excellent’ Simon Collins heads the practice, which is noted for its LNG prowess. Alongside Toshio Dokei and Paul Harrison, Collins advised Chubu Electric Power, Mitsui OSK Lines and NYK Line as joint venture partners on the construction, ownership and operation of four LNG vessels. Hendrik Gordenker is now with Jera.

Allen & Overy Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho’s Scott Neilson handled the financing of a top-hole drilling vessel for a major manufacturer and leading banks, and also advised lenders on financing LNG vessels. Counsel Kristian Bradshaw is noted for energy-related matters.

Ashurst advised Modec, Mitsui & Co, Marubeni, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding and Mitsui OSK Lines on financing FPSO vessels. Managing partner Rupert Burrows is recommended, as is FPSO transaction expert Matthew Rickards, who made partner. Managing partner Matthew Bubb and Dominic Gregory relocated from Singapore following John McClenahan’s departure to King & Spalding Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi Jimusho.

Clifford Chance Law Office has particular expertise in ECA-backed ship financing. Other areas of focus include advising on secured lending for shipping companies, the leasing of ship and maritime assets, and maritime offshore projects. Hidehiko Suzuki and newly promoted partner Yusuke Abe are highly regarded.

Managing partner John McClenahan launched King & Spalding Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi Jimusho’s practice with Mark Davies and litigator Christopher Bailey. They joined from Ashurst with counsel Christopher Spalding, who has expertise in FPSO and FSRU transactions. The practice specialises in cross-border financing structures, acting for well-known lenders in their financing of FPSO, LNG and container ships.

Tormod Kløve runs Wikborg Rein’s operations from Kobe and acts for hull underwriters and P&I clubs in maritime casualties, including groundings, cargo claims and oil pollution. Foreign shipowners and financial institutions instruct the firm for transactions and shipyard deliveries.

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