Marunouchi business district, Tokyo.


Former Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe Tokyo partner Edward “Ted” Johnson has left the firm to start his own law and consulting business.

Johnson, who was a partner at Orrick’s technology companies group, has started ZelusTech Foreign Law Office and affiliated consulting firm ZelusTech Strategic Advisory, which will provide services to companies and venture capital funds on matters involving blockchain, cryptocurrency, and other technologies, according to a profile on LinkedIn. Johnson will also advise on real estate investments through the consulting firm Atago Global Advisors.

The former Orrick partner is the latest Asia-based ex-Big Law partner to recently strike out on his own. Late last year, former Allen & Overy Tokyo managing partner Simon Black quit after 25 years with the Magic Circle firm in order to start a legal and technology consulting business. Before that, a couple of ex-Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partners and then consultant and former office head Naoki Kinami created a spinoff from the U.K. firm to form a relationship boutique.

In Hong Kong, former partners from Baker Botts and U.K. firm Addleshaw Goddard launched the boutique firm GPS Legal in November, while former Baker McKenzie partner William Marshall started an international trade-focused specialist firm earlier this month.

Johnson joined Orrick in 2013 from Paul Hastings, where he had been a partner since 2000 and served as office managing partner between 2006 and 2009. He first joined Paul Hastings in 1994. In 2015, he represented Orrick client Johnson Controls Inc., which was taking a 60 percent stake in Hitachi Appliances Inc.’s air conditioning unit.

On Tuesday, Orrick hired a technology companies partner, Ellen Ehrenpreis, in its Menlo Park office from Silicon Valley outfit Edgewood Law Partners. The technology companies practice focuses on advising high-growth companies and has added 12 partners over the past two years.