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Japan: Energy & Natural Resources 2016

The Japanese energy sector has been experiencing turbulent times over the last year. Legal advice relating to the renewables sector has particularly seen an increase in demand following the restarting of the two nuclear reactors of the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant last year, after been turned off following Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. In addition the country is working towards the goal of producing 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. 

One of the most significant developments in recent months has been the full liberalisation of the electricity market which came to in effect in April this year. All consumers will now be able to choose from a range of power companies for their electricity, which will compete for a market share. This will provide Japanese lawyers with increased opportunities to tailor their expertise to multiple electricity companies and create an increased client base from which local lawyers can solicit work. Against this back drop, we highlight 13 practitioners who work in the field. 

Two firms stand out in this chapter for their dual listings. King & Spalding is home to Rupert Lewi* who is known as a “consummate professional”. A key focus of his practice is working on corporate and asset acquisitions and divestments, project structuring and project development in the oil and gas, LNG and mining sectors. He is joined by John McClenahan* who impresses clients with his “ability to focus on the detail while keeping the bigger picture in mind”. He has particular expertise relating to power, FPSO, gas, and LNG projects.

Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy boasts the “exceptional” Aled Davies* who regularly represents key stakeholders – including sponsors, lenders and export credit agencies – on large-scale infrastructure and energy projects throughout the world.  Clients praise him for being “especially user-friendly”. Alongside him Justen Fleming* enjoys a reputation for “the outstanding quality of his work”. He specialises in energy projects and project financings with a particular focus on LNG. Clients comment they “couldn’t wish for a more skilled lawyer.”

Andrew Blacoe* from Herbert Smith Freehills is a “powerhouse of knowledge”. With “extensive experience” advising sponsors and financiers on mergers and acquisitions, international joint ventures and energy project finance, he is praised for his “brilliant commercial acumen”.

At Morrison & Foerster, Michael Graffagna* has “a reputation for excellence”. His “impressive practice” comprises work in the development, acquisition and construction of a wide range of infrastructure projects.

White & Case is home to the “wonderful” Alexander Woody*. He concentrates his practice on energy project development and financing, and is praised among clients for his “willingness to always go the extra mile”.

Anne Hung* at Baker & McKenzie is lauded for her “hands-on and friendly approach”. She regularly advises major Japanese utilities, banks, construction and trading companies in power and natural resources project matters. She is also recommended her “consistent and reliable advice”.

Rupert Burrows* at Ashurst has “impressive experience” advising clients on overseas infrastructure projects within the electricity, oil and gas and chemicals sectors. He also advises foreign investors on their investments into Japan, and receives praise for his “ability to get the job done”.

From Vinson & Elkins, the “fantastic” James Atkin* concentrates his practice on advising clients on the structuring and development of large-scale oil and gas projects, LNG sales arrangements, and energy-related mergers and acquisitions. One client lauds his “commitment to keenly protect our business needs”.

Mark Plenderleith* at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is recommended for being “a highly technical and skilled practitioner”. He leads the energy, natural resource and infrastructure major projects practice in Asia and impresses with his “wide-ranging experience” in the field.

Anthony Raven* from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman brings over 19 years' experience of advising multinational and Japanese companies on the development and project financing of major energy projects throughout the world. His clients recommend him for his “straight talking” and “commercial insight”.

Linklaters is home to the “brilliant” John Maxwell* who counts project sponsors, ECAs/IFIs, commercial banks, private equity funds and commodity houses among his client list. He receives praise for his “practical and authoritative advice”.   


* Foreign-qualified lawyer

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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W11 1QQ, UK