Legal Business Blogs

International round-up: Mayer Brown launches in Japan as Mills & Reeve cements European ties

Mayer Brown will open a new office in Tokyo next year after hiring the former head of Ashurst’s Tokyo office.

Rupert Burrows, Ashurst Tokyo’s former managing partner, will lead a new team at Mayer Brown as it looks to expand its offering in Japan in 2018.

Burrows has been based in Ashurst’s well-established Tokyo practice for the past 20 years, is fluent in Japanese and highly regarded for his oil and gas, chemical and infrastructure work.

Mayer Brown chairman Paul Theiss said the firm wanted to establish an on-the-ground presence in Japan after clients told them it was needed. ‘Consistent with our wider strategic goal to have a strong presence in all of the major financial centres of the world and with our client-led initiative in Japan, we now intend to open in Tokyo in the first half of 2018.’

An Ashurst spokesperson said Burrows was leaving the firm’s Tokyo office by mutual consent, adding that the Japanese business was performing well and that firm intended to grow it further.

In other international news, the instability surrounding Brexit has led to Mills & Reeve formalising two decade-long relationships it has in Europe.

The UK firm said last week it had signed affiliation agreements with Graf von Westphalen in Germany and Van Benthem & Keulen in The Netherlands. The East Anglia-based national firm has worked with each for around 10 years in M&A, private equity, flotations, corporate finance, employment law and commercial disputes. It also has joint legal training programmes and secondee exchanges with both firms.

Graf von Westphalen, which was once part of Osborne Clarke’s European alliance before breaking into separate parts around the turn of the Millennium, has five offices across Germany in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, while Van Benthem & Keulen is based in Utrecht.

Mills & Reeve head of international Tom Pickthorn commented: ‘With the uncertainties and opportunities arising from Brexit, it is more important than ever that we can provide our clients a seamless services in these key markets.’