02 April 2020 - Article
International law firm Withers has substantially grown its Asia practice with the hiring of two new teams led by six partners specialising in real estate and funds for its Tokyo and Hong Kong offices. The lawyers in these teams have more than 20 years of experience working in Asia, assisting clients with structuring Japanese and cross-border investments in the Asia-Pacific region.
Funds partners, Koji Yamamoto and Omori Yoshiyuki will be based in Withers’ Tokyo office. Koji has significant experience in advising clients in investment funds and investment management, with Omori advising both domestic and foreign financial investment institutions and investment funds on Japanese securities regulations for over 10 years. Both of them will join Withers from Deloitte along with their team members Rie Nitta (counsel), Wataru Sasaki (associate) and Noriko Narahara and Hirokazu Miyamoto (paralegals).
Junko Shiokawa (Partner), who joined Withers from Harneys on 3 September, will work from the firm’s Hong Kong and Tokyo offices. She has extensive experience acting as lead counsel for Japanese and other Asian financial institutions and investment managers in the structuring and formation of various types of funds, including private equity and hedge funds. She will be joined by May Ng-Quinn (paralegal) from Harneys. Collectively, they bring a wealth of experience in representing both international and Japanese investment funds.
Real estate team
The real estate team will be led by partners Gerald Fujii, Naoki Ueyama and Steven Wheeler. Jerry joins the firm from White & Case’s Tokyo office. He is highly regarded in the real estate sector and was ranked as a Band 1 foreign real estate lawyer by Chambers Asia-Pacific 2014 – 2018. Naoki joins the firm from Masuda & Partners and has significant experience in advising leading Japanese banks and financial institutions. Steven Wheeler, from Wheeler Law Offices, will focus on property M&A and financing transactions.
Jeremy Wakeham, CEO of the firm’s Business Division, comments: “With these talents on board, we are in a stronger position to offer our clients a full suite of services on their investment activities in Japan. This will augment our capabilities in representing international investment funds on their transactions, including significant real estate investment deals, while working in coordination with teams across Withers’ global office network.”
Withers opened its Tokyo office in 2015, when it also significantly grew its presence across other parts of Asia, including in Singapore. The Tokyo office has historically focused on tax advice for international clients active in Japan.