Womble Bond Dickinson hires corporate partner, launches 21st US office in Nashville

Masami Izumida Tyson joins as the office's fourth partner

Masami Izumida Tyson

Womble Bond Dickinson has hired a lawyer from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) as the fourth partner based in its Nashville office, which opened last month as the firm’s 21st office in the US and 28th internationally. 

Masami Izumida Tyson joins Womble Bond’s Nashville office as a partner in the firm’s corporate and securities practice after three years as TNECD’s global director of foreign direct investment and trade. 

She becomes the fourth partner and sixth lawyer to join the Nashville office after it opened in June with existing partners John Scannapieco, Josh Mullen and Alan Elsen. The trio are currently splitting their time between Washington DC and Nashville alongside associate Frank Xue and counsel Joy Holloway, who was previously based full-time in Atlanta. 

Prior to joining TNECD in 2018, Tyson spent three years as senior in-house counsel at Nissan North America. Before that, she worked in Tokyo as the legal department director at Mentor Graphics Japan, an electronics design automation company that was purchased by Siemens in 2017. 

Jamie Francis, head of Womble Bond’s corporate and securities practice group, said: “Masami has a stellar reputation and is highly regarded in the Japanese business community both here in the US and Japan. She will be an integral part of the growth of the Nashville office and the building of a Japanese practice within our global business and international trade team.”

On Womble Bond's strategy in Nashville, Francis said the firm identified “significant opportunity to assist clients on their global operations from the region and to attract high-quality lawyers” to its global business and international trade team as Nashville continues to grow “both in terms of GDP growth and the extent to which talent is moving into the city”. 

“As Nashville continues to be a growing center for international in-bound and out-bound business activities, as well as a thriving hub for several key tech-based industries and a destination for leading companies, the timing was right to continue our growth trajectory with a new office in Nashville,” he said. 

The Nashville launch follows the firm securing a five-lawyer team from intellectual property boutique Abelman Frayne & Schwab to open an office in New York in April. 

In the years since the merger between UK-based Bond Dickinson and US practice Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice went live to create the firm in 2017, the combined outfit has also opened offices in Boston, Los Angeles, Palo Alto and Houston.

To date, national and international US firms have largely side-stepped Nashville, although last year K&L Gates hired 18 partners from four of Nashville’s leading law firms to open there.

It also hosts Pillsbury’s global operations centre and legal services department, while Baker Donelson, the result of merger between Memphis and Tennessee firms, has more than 100 lawyers in the city.

Nashville is best known as a centre for healthcare and boasts the headquarters of HCA Healthcare, which ranks 65th in the Fortune 500.

Other firms to open offices in the South recently include McDermott Will & Emery and Ashurst, which both opened in Austin, Texas, while K&L Gates opened an office in Kansas City with four partners from Husch Blackwell in June. 

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