Tokyo, Japan

Mayer Brown is opening an office in Japan, hiring Rupert Burrows, former head of the Tokyo office of Ashurst, to lead the newest of the firm’s Asian outposts.

The Tokyo base will be the U.S. firm’s eighth in Asia and will open in the first half of 2018.

“Over the last few years, we have partnered with our clients in building our relationships with Japanese corporations, banks, and trading houses,” said Mayer Brown chairman Paul Theiss. “To continue to develop those relationships and further expand along with them, we now need a presence in Tokyo.”

The new office is also expected to support the firm’s projects practice in Southeast Asia.

Burrows, a corporate partner, has been based in Japan for 20 years. He had been at Ashurst since 1998, but stepped down as head of the firm’s Tokyo base this June after two years in the role. He was replaced by finance partner Dominic Gregory.

His move marks the latest in a spate of departures from Ashurst. In November, three London partners opted to leave the firm: Disputes partner Ben Giaretta is set to move to Mishcon de Reya, while corporate partners James Wood and Dominic Ross have left to join Sidley Austin and White & Case, respectively.

A number of partners have also quit Mayer Brown in recent weeks, with Kennedys recruiting insurance and reinsurance head David Chadwick in October, along with partners Andrew McGahey, Ingrid Hobbs and Andrew Westlake.

A spokesperson for Ashurst said Burrows is leaving the firm by mutual consent, adding: “The Tokyo office has been a key part of our Asia-Pacific offering for nearly 30 years. Our global Japanese business, including the Japanese law practice, is performing very strongly. We are fully committed to strengthening our business in Japan even further and to pursuing opportunities both internally and externally to achieve that.”