Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has hired two corporate partners in Tokyo as the Philadelphia-based Am Law 100 firm continues its expansion in Asia.
Former partner Motonori Araki and former of counsel Mitsuyoshi Saito join from Morrison & Foerster. Araki, who will also split his time in New York, replaces corporate partner Tsugumichi Watanabe as the new Tokyo office managing partner.
Araki first joined Morgan Lewis in 1999 as an associate and made partner in 2001 before leaving in 2007 for Morrison & Foerster. His practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property licensing and international dispute resolution. In 2014, Araki was the relationship partner as Morrison & Foerster advised Japan’s Osaka Gas Co. Ltd. and Chubu Electric Power Co. Inc. on their $1.2 billion investment in Houston-based Freeport LNG Expansion’s liquefaction facilities in Texas.
Saito has a broad practice, advising on commercial transactions, corporate governance, dispute resolution, labor and employment, internal investigations, IP and M&A.
Besides Araki, Saito and Watanabe, the Tokyo office has four other partners: Christopher Wells, Tomoko Fuminaga, Carol Tsuchida and Tadao Horibe—all of whom are financial regulatory specialists. Horibe joined the firm from White & Case in 2016, while Watanabe, Wells, Fuminaga and Tsuchida all became Morgan Lewis partners through the firm’s late 2014 takeover of most of now-defunct Bingham McCutchen.
Since its acquisition of the bulk of Bingham McCutchen, Morgan Lewis has continued expanding, particularly in Asia. The firm recently recruited Clifford Chance counsel Hao Su as a corporate partner in Beijing. Employment law partner Lesli Ligorner, who in early 2017 joined Morgan Lewis’ Shanghai office with four other lawyers, has also relocated to the Chinese capital to head its office in the city, replacing current Beijing managing partner Xiaowei Ye.
Morgan Lewis reported having 148 lawyers in Asia last year, up from 93 in 2016.