A year-old boutique firm that spun off from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Tokyo office has hired a corporate finance partner from Sidley Austin.

The move leaves Sidley with two partners in Tokyo.

Akira Nakazawa has joined Vanguard Lawyers Tokyo as a partner. Nakazawa focuses on banking, asset finance, securitization and structured finance, as well as corporate transactions and Japanese regulatory matters.

In 2014, he served as Japanese counsel to U.S. spirits company Beam Inc. on its sale to Japanese spirits maker Suntory Holdings Ltd. for $13.6 billion, then Japan’s third-largest outbound deal ever. Also in 2014, he advised U.S. insurer Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. on the sale of its Japan business for $895 million to Japanese financial conglomerate Orix Corp.

Nakazawa joined Sidley in 2003 and made partner in 2007. He received an LL.M. degree from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in 2002.

Vanguard Lawyers Tokyo was launched in September 2017 by a quartet from Freshfields’ Tokyo office, including former consultant and office managing partner Naoki Kinami. The boutique continues to work with the Magic Circle firm as part of its nonexclusive global relationship firms network.

Nakazawa will work with partner Kinami, who also advises on banking and finance and Japanese regulatory matters. Vanguard Lawyers Tokyo has two other partners: Akiko Yamakawa and Kazuki Okada, both former employment and disputes partners at Freshfields.

Nakazawa’s departure from Sidley leaves the Chicago-based firm with two partners in Tokyo: office head and corporate finance partner Tomoo Nishikawa and projects partner Daniel Lin.

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