Legal Business Blogs

Sponsored briefing: Interview with: Haruka Murata and Masayuki Atsumi

Interview with Haruka Murata

Miura & Partners’ Haruka Murata on widening the firm’s offering to European clients

I am a corporate partner at Miura & Partners, a rapidly expanding one-stop law firm in Japan. I joined our firm as one of the founding partners, and am currently leading the firm’s corporate and M&A practice.

We founded our firm a few years ago together with partners from traditional large Japanese firms, with the ambition to provide flexible and high-quality legal services. I started my career at one of the biggest Japanese firms (the so called ‘big four’), moved to a US international firm and worked as a partner at a Japanese M&A boutique firm thereafter. During that time, I worked at the London office of one of the Magic Circle for a period, which is one of the grounds to open a London office. Through my career, I have been specialising in international M&A transactions.

Opening of the London office

We decided to open a London office to provide quick and convenient legal services on Japanese legal matters to European clients.

I had an impression that foreign companies and firms could more conveniently utilise Japanese legal services. In fact, the corporate legal market in Japan is quite competitive and in-house departments at large corporations are very sophisticated. We are required to provide thorough legal knowledge for a reasonable fee. However, in the past, Japanese firms would not frequently be used for international practice, or would have language issues, and services provided to foreign clients may have not been fully satisfactory to them. It was a pity to hear that foreign clients felt Japanese legal services were not satisfactory enough.

Our ambition is to serve European clients and enable them to utilise Japanese legal services more conveniently.

What we want to do

As a co-head of the London office, we will try to understand what the European clients really need. We would like to continuously communicate with European corporations casually, not limited to work-related interactions/transactions, so that we can customise our service arrangements pursuant to what they need.

Being in London, we want to be akin to a legal home doctor for European clients. We will provide initial Japanese law advice, identify the legal issues, and arrange an appropriate team of specialists as ‘one point of contact’ to whom everything can be asked.

As a first step, allowing European clients to get to know us by ‘trying’ our service (even just a small quantity of work at the beginning) could be the best way to initiate a relationship. We believe continuously servicing the clients sincerely, even on small work, would result in mutual trust.

We truly hope to establish a trustful relationship with European clients just as we have done with Japanese corporations.

Personal thought as a lawyer

Friends refer to me as a ‘workaholic’. Actually I just love my job. When the client is satisfied and happy with our work, I feel very satisfied as well. I believe dedicating myself entirely results in more mutual trust with the client, and if such mutual trust exists, the client tends to be more transparent and forthcoming and we can provide better service. I am excited to improve our service to foreign clients by opening the London office.

Interview to Masayuki Atsumi

Miura & Partners’ Masayuki Atsumi shares his hopes for the firm’s new London office

Miura & Partners, established in 2019, is one of the fastest-growing Japanese law firms, and I am one of its founding partners. The firm is a full-service law firm covering all aspects of corporate law, including M&A, dispute resolution, IP, labour law and competition law. The firm consists of top lawyers in all practice groups having experience in big-four law firms and/or top-tier foreign law firms, and our firm takes pride in providing top-quality legal service in all corporate practices.

As the firm already has a wide domestic client base in Japan, the firm faces the new challenge of expanding the firm’s presence globally. As one of the founding partners with qualifications in Japan, New York and England and Wales, I am leading the firm’s effort to enter into the global legal market.

This year, the firm will open multiple overseas offices across the globe; in April, Miura & Partners entered into a strategic partnership with Yorozu Law Group, which will be renamed as ‘Miura & Partners (US)’. Our Asian expansion will also continue, and the firm entered into a strategic alliance with an Indonesian law firm, and will establish a law firm in Vietnam as well.

Our new London office and its role

The firm’s global expansion remains strong. This year, Miura & Partners establishes its London office to serve our European clients, and I will be co-heading the London office, which will cover not only UK clients but also European clients as a whole. The firm already has many clients in Europe, but as we feel the demand for Japanese law for European companies keeps growing, the firm would like to understand the clients better and provide better quality services in a timely manner by being close to the clients. Japanese law enforcement has been very strong in every aspect, namely in competition law, financial regulations, data privacy and labour laws, and therefore, having a reliable Japanese legal counsel is a must. As our firm’s Japanese law practice is full-coverage and top quality, we believe our London office will be the best option for European clients entering into the Japanese market. The London office will also support Japanese clients with operations in Europe.

The firm’s competition law practice

As the head of the firm’s competition law practice group, I will continue to serve our clients on competition law cases. The Japan Fair Trade Commission, the Japanese competition law enforcer, increases its presence by strong antitrust law enforcement, which means Japanese antitrust law compliance has become more important than ever. The JFTC follows the strong enforcement against big tech companies by the European Commission and UK Competition and Market Authority. Having London office will benefit our competition law practice by understanding the enforcement trend in Europe.


Haruka Murata

Masayuki Atsumi

Return to the Deals Yearbook 2023 menu