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Greenberg Traurig Announces Tokyo Office, Expanding Asia Practice

TOKYO  – Jan. 05, 2015 – International law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP has reinforced its depth of coverage across the Asia Pacific with the opening of a new office in Tokyo, Japan.

The Tokyo office is the firm’s third in the region and will work collaboratively with existing teams in Shanghai, China and Seoul, Korea. It is Greenberg Traurig’s 37th office worldwide. Greenberg Traurig Tokyo Law Offices will be operated by GT Tokyo Horitsu Jimusho, an affiliate of Greenberg Traurig, P.A. and Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

The Tokyo office will be led by an award-winning team of English-speaking Japanese lawyers. They understand the local culture and practical aspects of Japanese business and have a track record of solving clients’ most critical problems.

Shareholder Koji Ishikawa, managing shareholder of the new office, joins from DLA Piper, and shareholders Yuji Ogiwara and Koichiro Ohashi, co-chairs of the firmwide Japan Practice, join from White & Case. However, all three are old friends who previously worked together for years at the latter firm. They look forward to reconstituting their team and building the office together.

The office opening is responsive to client needs and the global business community’s growing interest in Japan. Against the backdrop of the questionable viability and time horizons of various so-called "emerging markets" and major investments therein, the long-term strength and stability of the Japanese economy, government, and culture paint a compelling picture for Greenberg Traurig and its client base.

"The Greenberg Traurig brand stands for excellence, value and collaboration globally," said Richard A. Rosenbaum, chief executive officer of the firm. "This is the perfect time for us to enter Tokyo with our own full service office. While so-called "Abenomics" has been effective, structural reform is still needed through further deregulation and a decrease in corporate taxation. With his recent landslide victory in the lower house election, re-charging Abe's political capital, many expect an acceleration of structural reform, and a further increase, over time, of business generation from and with Japanese businesses."

"The time has therefore come to bring Greenberg Traurig's unique value proposition to Tokyo in order to serve the expected increase in demand," added Rosenbaum. "First, it is the right time: a large and stable global economy is at the beginning of its next leg up. Second, there is a niche we can fill: our space will be between the outposts of so-called 'elite' global firms at very high prices which do certain work but are perceived as unresponsive to most client needs; and global firms with a local presence that have been in the market for quite some time by acquiring existing Japanese local practices and rebranding them but not integrating them into their platforms or being nimble or responsive to the full range of client needs. Third, and perhaps most importantly, we have found the right people to trust: our founding shareholders are next-generation, recognized leaders of the Japanese bar who are focused on delivering excellence and value and want to be fully integrated with our culture and global platform."

The attorneys opening this office are experienced practitioners in their fields and licensed in both Tokyo and New York. Ishikawa advises clients on corporate finance and capital markets transactions. Ogiwara focuses on Japanese employment litigation, labor negotiations, and compliance matters. Ohashi is an expert in the world of investment funds and also specializes in advising financial institutions, both Japanese and international, on a variety of financial matters, particularly M&A transactions.

Ishikawa, Ogiwara and Ohashi, added, "Contrary to its appearance, Japanese clients are not well served by international law firms in Tokyo. We often hear from Japanese clients that so-called “elite law firms” are too expensive and their practice areas are too narrow to meet their needs. Also, Japanese clients appear to have some frustration that other established U.S. and foreign firms are too independent from their firms and do not provide good synergy with or access to their global operations. We will not suffer from these issues and will deliver not only an elite level of excellence but the true value that Japanese clients seek today."

While the team will pay particular attention to helping clients navigate their needs outside Japan by utilizing the firm's expansive resources and platform elsewhere in Asia and in the United States, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, they will also help clients navigate Japanese opportunities, with a particular focus on corporate & securities, capital markets, fund & invest management, dispute resolution, labor & employment, intellectual property, energy and infrastructure.

Attorney Short Biographies

Koji Ishikawa focuses his practice on serving clients in corporate finance, project finance, and capital markets matters. He will work with a variety of clients, including both national and international institutions, issuers, underwriters, and banking investors. He is also one of the pioneers of casino/gaming practice in Japan. Koji speaks at various seminars and his comments are frequently quoted at Nikkei and Bloomberg, etc.

Koichiro Ohashi represents clients in a variety of financial matters (including cross-border & domestic banking, capital market, and regulatory matters), fund and investment management matters (private equities, hedge funds, and REITs), and corporate matters (especially in mergers and acquisitions, and restructuring transactions). He is experienced in the Japanese domestic market and represents both Japanese and international financial institutions on numerous types of financial transactions, such as syndicated loans, securitization transactions, derivative transactions, PIPE transactions, mezzanine finance transactions, and equity finance transactions.

Yuji Ogiwara is experienced in disputes and employment (including employment litigation, labor negotiations, investigations, and compliance matters). He advises multinational headquarters on cross-border solutions to international employment law challenges. Yuji is also experienced in handling clients on a broad range of issues, including corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions, commercial trade, PL matters, restructuring transactions, and the antitrust issues that arise from unfair trade practices.