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08 June 2020

Japan's Nishimura & Asahi seals formal partnership with Singapore's Bayfront Law

Nishimura & Asahi becomes first Japanese firm to launch Singapore alliance

By Ben Edwards

Aerial view of Singapore business district and city at twilight in Singapore, Asia

Nishimura & Asahi-Bayfront Law Alliance, and is the first formal partnership in Singapore involving a Japanese firm. Shutterstock; Travelerpix

Japanese firm Nishimura & Asahi’s Singapore business has formed a local partnership with Bayfront Law as part of its strategy to grow its presence in the city state.

The tie-up will be known as Nishimura & Asahi-Bayfront Law Alliance, and is the first formal partnership in Singapore involving a Japanese firm.

Speaking to Singapore newspaper The Business Times, Bayfront managing director Kesavan Nair said: “We have worked closely with Nishimura & Asahi and their offices. With our shared resources and synergies, we are looking forward to expanding the provision of our legal services to clients across their international network.”

Nishimura & Asahi has been operating in Singapore since 2012 and is co-led by Masato Yamanaka, who specialises in cross-border M&A and finance, and Shintaro Uno, who specialises in cross-border construction projects and disputes. The firm’s Singapore business has 12 lawyers.

Singapore-based Bayfront Law, which also has 12 lawyers, was founded in 2017. Its practice areas include M&A, capital markets, investment funds, corporate and commercial, and litigation and arbitration.   

Last month leading London firm Mishcon de Reya opened a Singapore office after hiring a two-partner team from Withers’ Singapore business Withers KhattarWong. 

Speaking at the time, Mishcon executive chair Kevin Gold said: “Singapore is the centre of professional services talent in the region and, as such, is attracting capital from the entire region. Having a physical presence here represents our commitment to both Asia—a key growth area for our firm and the world—and its people, and will be key to enabling us to build meaningful relationships with our clients and intermediaries.”

Also in May, RPC’s Singapore joint venture hired three partners from Bird & Bird as part of a rebuilding effort for its disputes practice after a number of its lawyers departed for rival firm Drew & Napier last year.

Those job moves followed Ashurst’s hiring of renowned funds lawyer Danny Tan in April from Allen & Gledhill as it sought to bolster its Asia Pacific funds practice.

Patrick Phua, Ashurst’s regional head of Asia, said: “Singapore is one of the fastest-growing asset management hubs for private investments in Asia and it is an attractive location for global investment managers and investors, including sovereign wealth funds and pension funds.”

In January, Nishimura announced plans to launch in Germany, securing it its first European on-the-ground presence.

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