The latest edition of WWL: Japan features a total of 94 firms, from international powerhouses to full-service Japanese outfits and specialised boutiques. However, almost half of the total listings are achieved by six standout firms, including the Japanese “Big Four”. We profile the leading firms here.
Anderson Mori & Tomotsune provides clients with expertise across a broad array of practice areas, and has cemented its position as a premier Japanese full-service firm. With 43 listings gained over 18 disciplines, the firm receives the most nominations of any outfit in our research. Founded through the merging of three firms with strong international outlooks, this key player is well known globally for its impressive offering.
The M&A and governance team is highly notable for the depth of their corporate knowledge, and they are regularly involved in major cross-border transactions, IPOs, joint ventures and corporate risk management proceedings. The firm achieves the highest number of rankings in the area with eight practitioners listed.
The competition team is similarly top-tier and the firm has seven practitioners listed here. Their far-reaching skill sets sees them supporting clients through a wide array of issues, ranging from merger controls to litigation and cartel investigations. In addition, the firm also sees strong showings in our IP, data, and labour and employment chapters.
The firm possesses an enviable roster of experts, including key individuals such as Hiroki Kodate, who leads our M&A list. Yasufumi Shiroyama is recognised as a leading light in our IP research while Yoshimasa Furuta continues to impress in the litigation and arbitration markets. Takashi Nakazaki wins praise for his expertise in data matters and Hironori Shibata is a go-to capital markets specialist.
A pre-eminent player in the market, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto is a full-service law firm that enjoys a strong reputation as a top name in Japan. The firm achieves an impressive 26 listings across 10 practice areas in our research this year. With four offices in key locations across Japan – Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka – and a network of offices spanning China, Singapore and Bangkok, the firm is well suited to service clients across the region.
The firm demonstrates a strong offering in the competition space, where it sees five practitioners listed in our corresponding chapter. The lawyers are well equipped to advise clients on a spectrum of matters including global investigations, merger filings and merger control.
The firm’s M&A and governance practice also achieves five listings in this edition. Its lawyers are well versed in a variety of matters pertaining to mergers and acquisitions across various sectors globally, spanning due diligence, negotiation and the competition of transactions. The strength of its corporate finance offering is illustrated as it receives further recognition across our banking and capital markets chapters.
Standout figures at the firm include Kenji Ito, who is hailed in the market for his expertise in high-profile merger clearance and cartel investigations, and Hideki Utsunomiya, who also draws high praise for his top-tier competition practice. Gaku Ishiwata is held in high esteem and recognised for his work on high-profile corporate transactions, and Eriko Ozawa ranks as one of the foremost real estate lawyers in the country. Katsumasa Suzuki is a go-to figure for capital markets matters, while Ken Miura and Yasuzo Takeno are recognised as prominent names in the private funds space.
Global full-service firm Morrison & Foerster has been a presence in the Japanese market since 1987, providing clients with a one-stop shop as well as expertise in multi-jurisdictional matters. The firm receives 15 listings across eight practice areas, reflecting the diverse array of skills its team has to offer.
The firm excels in our construction and real estate chapter as four of its practitioners are highlighted as key individuals in the market. With substantial expertise in domestic and international real estate, they are a sought-after group for matters ranging from multibillion-dollar portfolio acquisitions to high-profile fund formations. The firm also comes recommended for their work in intellectual property matters, where they excel in transactional and contentious proceedings.
There are many notable practitioners at the firm, such as Masahiro Shiga and Junichi Kurokoshi who are leading lights in the construction and real estate space. Kenneth Siegel is similarly well respected for his expertise in corporate matters, while Max Olson draws praise in the intellectual property field.
Full-service law firm Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu performs impressively in this year’s rankings with 35 listings across 15 practice areas. A prominent player in the Japanese market, the firm is also present in seven countries with offices in Singapore, New York and Shanghai, and has key alliances with local firms in other countries to effectively service its clients.
The firm shines for its capital markets practice, which sees six outstanding lawyers recognised in our corresponding chapter. The capital markets team is notable for the depth of its experience in handling global offerings, J-REITS and Japanese funds, and procuring large-scale funds for domestic and international corporations.
M&A and governance is another area in which the firm excels, with five practitioners recognised this year. Its lawyers have a wealth of experience in a variety of transactions such as acquisitions, divestures, takeovers and takeover defences.
Construction and real estate is a further strength of the firm, with four impressive lawyers singled out in this edition for their excellence when it comes to advising on projects, transactions and operational matters across the sector.
The firm is home to brilliant lawyers including Satoshi Inoue, who ranks as one of the foremost banking lawyers in the country. Ryoichi Mimura is hailed a leading light in the intellectual property arena while Kenichi Fujinawa is a highly respected M&A and governance lawyer. Hidetaka Mihara draws praise for his excellence in capital markets, and construction and real estate matters, while Hiroki Inoue stands out for his top-notch corporate finance practice.
Japan’s largest law firm, and a major international player, Nishimura & Asahi performs highly in our research into the Japanese market his year, securing the second highest number of listings this year at 39 across 18 different practice areas.
The firm demonstrates its strength and depth in the in the competition space, with five listings in total. Its practitioners demonstrate their expertise and experience in M&A reviews, cartel investigations and regulatory matters in Japan.
The firm also excels in M&A and governance, with five of its practitioners in this field securing a listing. They are all well versed in advising clients in a range of sectors on IPOs, takeovers, acquisitions and governance matters.
Four of the arbitration specialists achieve a listing this year, confirming the arbitration capabilities of the firm. Hiroyuki Tezuka and Yutaro Kawabata in particular emerge as key names in the Japanese market for arbitration proceedings.
Standout names at the firm include Lars Markert, who is identified as a Global Elite Thought Leader in the arbitration space. In the competition group, Kozo Kawai distinguishes himself among peers as a Global Elite Thought Leader in competition law, and is also a standout lawyer in the M&A and governance research.
As a heavyweight in the Japanese market, it is unsurprising that TMI Associates performs strongly in this year’s research into the domestic market, with 17 listings in total across eight different practice areas.
The firm is particularly well represented in the intellectual property space, with five of its IP lawyers and two patent attorneys achieving a listing. They have proven their skill and experience in a wide variety of trademark and patent matters, including trademark and patent prosecution, enforcement, portfolio management and dispute resolution.
M&A and corporate governance law is another forté of the firm, with four of its lawyers in the space securing a listing for their expertise in shareholder activism, IPOs, acquisitions, regulatory compliance and transactional matters. The practitioners in the life sciences group also distinguish themselves with two of their number winning a listing for their impressive work regarding transactional, regulatory, product liability and patent dispute matters.
Standout names at the firm include Takashi Toichi and Harumichi Uchida for their outstanding work in M&A and corporate governance this year, with the latter also emerging as a distinguished name in competition matters. Meanwhile, in the intellectual property group, Mitsuko “Mimi” Miyagawa emerges as a key name in the Japanese market. Satoru Nagasaka makes his mark in our life sciences research this year.