Debevoise launches in Tokyo

International firm Debevoise & Plimpton has announced it is opening an office in Tokyo, with three lawyers relocating from New York.

The new office is Debevoise’s third location in Asia and ninth globally. It will be led by corporate partner Christopher Smeall and counsel Naomi Aoyama; both lawyers are New York qualified and have been advising clients on Japan-related matters for decades.

Mr Smeall is registered with the Dai-ichi Tokyo Bar Association as a gaikokuho jimu bengoshi (foreign lawyer), while Ms Aoyama is a Japanese bengoshi (lawyer) and a member of the Dai-ichi Tokyo Bar Association.

The office is to focus primarily on transactional matters, such as M&A, financing and investment, as well as corporate governance. Ithas been set up as a joint venture office under the name of Debevoise & Plimpton Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho (foreign law joint enterprise law office), which means it is able to hire Japanese lawyers and offer Japanese law advice.

‘Our firm has had a significant Japan-related practice for decades, and opening an office in Tokyo will allow us to provide even better support and service to our clients located in Japan or engaged in matters relating to Japan,’ commented Debevoise presiding partner Michael Blair.

A number of other international firms have also launched an office in Tokyo in the past year, including King & Spalding and offshore firm Harneys.

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