Bird & Bird to open office in Tokyo, Japan, recruiting new partner Hiro Iwamura

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International law firm Bird & Bird intends to open an office in Tokyo, Japan, before the end of the year, appointing Hiroyuki (Hiro) Iwamura as a partner in the region.

 

The office will support Japanese clients with outbound cross-border work in Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific in key industry sectors in which the firm operates including renewable energy, life sciences, technology and media.

This marks the firm’s first international expansion as part of its new five-year strategy. Japan is the fourth largest global economy and the EU’s second-largest Asian trading partner after China. Key industry sectors for Japanese clients are aligned with Bird & Bird’s strengths in technology, automotive, life sciences, clean energy, retail and consumer.

The office will focus on cross-border transactional, IP, dispute resolution and data protection work in the tech space from Japan to Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Other areas will include digital transformation, autonomous driving and global compliance. The office will not handle in-bound transactions into Japan but will continue to work closely with Japanese partner firms in the region.

Bird & Bird’s consulting arm, OXYGY, also has an office in Tokyo, and it is expected this will allow for closer collaboration on international projects.

To open the office, Bird & Bird has appointed Hiro Iwamura as a partner. Hiro joins the firm in May from Ashurst in Tokyo where he headed their UK/European Japanese practice.

Hiro Iwamura

Hiro started his legal career in the US before moving to the UK in 2005. He has extensive experience providing legal advice to Japanese companies entering the UK and EU markets through M&A, joint ventures and the establishment of subsidiaries. He also works closely with other specialist lawyers to provide a wide range of day-to-day legal advice to Japanese clients including general contract reviews, compliance advice, corporate reorganisations, dispute resolutions, employment matters, real estate transactions and advice on administration/liquidation and withdrawal of businesses.

He is qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales as well as an attorney in New York. He is also a registered foreign lawyer in Japan and admitted to the Tokyo Bar Association. Hiro also advises on English law matters for Japanese clients in other jurisdictions, including India, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Bird & Bird plans to recruit further complementary partners and associates in Tokyo, in key sectors the firm operates. The team on the ground will act as conduits between Japanese clients and the rest of the firm’s international network.

Christian Bartsch, CEO of Bird & Bird says: “We’re kicking off our new five-year strategy as we mean to continue – purposeful, intentional growth in key markets where our clients are thriving. Japan is a dynamic, tech-rich country, and as Japanese clients increasingly look to expand internationally, it’s right that we put down roots alongside them to help them achieve their international ambitions.

We see a really prosperous future in the region. Our offering of IP, tech transactions and M&A, together with our geographical spread across Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific and willingness to mobilise truly global teams is unique in the market, and one which we are well placed to deliver.

Hiro is a brilliant addition to our partnership and will help successfully steer our Tokyo office in the months ahead. We look forward to him joining us.”

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