Paul, Hastings, Janofksy & Walker had a head start in Asia. While other large U.S. firms were still dithering over their strategy for the region, the Los Angeles-founded firm forged ahead, establishing and expanding large offices in the critical markets of Hong Kong, mainland China, and Japan.

But lately things have been going in reverse, at least as measured by head count in the region. A Tokyo office that reported 38 lawyers three years ago is down to around 20, according to the NLJ 250 — with top Japanese partners Jun Usami and Yoshihiro Takatori departing within the last month for White & Case and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, respectively. The firm has seen similar drops in its Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing head counts. Last month Shanghai head Mitchell Dudek and partner Alex Wang headed for the new Hong Kong office of SNR Denton.

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