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O’Melveny & Myers is beefing up its Tokyo office with four new partners, three of whom are coming from the Taiyo Law Office — the same Japanese firm that merged with Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker earlier this month. Former Taiyo partners Naosuke Fujita, Yoji Maeda and Yukihiro Terazawa officially joined O’Melveny’s Tokyo office this week. The firm also added Kosei Watanabe, the former managing partner of the Watanabe Kokusai Law Office, and his six associates. The moves come six months after the Japanese government relaxed rules that guide how foreign firms practice law there. Previously, foreigners and Japanese were allowed to work together on international matters, but not domestic-specific services. Now, they can practice together and share profits. The shift prompted Paul Hastings to merge with Taiyo, their ally since the early 1990s. Representatives from Paul Hastings would not comment on the departures. Acquiring three partners from the reputable Taiyo firm is a smart move for O’Melveny because it gives them strong local expertise and critical mass, said Gary Smith, the co-head of the firm’s Tokyo office. “It’s been a very deliberate, long process to make sure we find the perfect fit,” Smith said. “It took a lot of wooing.” The new partners will add to the firm’s overseas merger and acquisition, intellectual property and entertainment practices. The additions bring O’Melveny’s Tokyo office to seven partners, four of them licensed in Japan, and the firm is looking to hire more local associates. “It takes it to a whole new level for us,” said Mark Easton, a partner in O’Melveny’s M&A/Private Equity practice. “These guys are some of the top lawyers in Japan — they have tremendous capabilities.”

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