Orrick Celebrates 20 Years in Japan

May.22.2017

This month marks Orrick’s 20th anniversary in Tokyo. Opening the Tokyo office in 1997 was a watershed moment for Orrick – the firm’s first venture outside of the United States. The Tokyo office grew over time in a manner tailored to the unique Japanese legal market, serving as a shining example of Orrick’s approach to matching its offices with their local legal markets throughout the firm’s now 26-office global platform. 

Today, Orrick’s Japan practice is well aligned with the firm’s global focus on serving companies in the technology, energy & infrastructure and finance sectors. “We have the tremendous fortune to advise the titans of Japan: 22 of the 53 Japanese origin companies in the Fortune Global 500 and many other Japanese leaders,” said Mitch Zuklie, Orrick’s chairman and CEO. “These longstanding relationships have been the foundation of our success.” In technology, Orrick has partnered with Japan’s world-leading electronics giants to execute transactions and prevail in complex litigation, including patent disputes in the U.S. before district courts and the ITC. With our energy clients, Orrick has collaborated to support the growth of Japan’s renewables sector. In finance, Orrick has worked with leading funds and financial institutions to bring to market many first-of-a-kind transactions, including in the global real estate markets. And, across all three sectors, Orrick’s Tokyo team has a strong cross-border M&A focus, helping Japanese businesses expand into markets worldwide.

Orrick strives to be the best law firm in the world to work for. Under the leadership of Mark Weeks, Managing Partner of the Tokyo office for the past decade and Co-Head of the Global Japan Practice, the Tokyo office has attracted and developed top talent. “Our culture of integration between international lawyers and Japanese bengoshi distinguishes us from other foreign law firms in Japan,” Mark said. In the past three years, the Tokyo office has promoted five partners from our associate ranks, and has grown female partnership to a quarter of the office’s partners today, from no female partners in 2013. 

Orrick ranks among the top 10 law firms internationally for pro bono service – and nowhere is that commitment stronger than in Japan. Last year, the Tokyo office helped an Ethiopian citizen secure refugee status in Japan – one of only 0.25% of successful applications for the year. The team has also worked with various wildlife conservation organizations in Asia, including working with the Wild Salmon Center and the Sarufutsu Ito no Kai to create the Sarufutsu Environmental Conservation Forest, the first of its kind, and take other steps to protect the endangered Itou, Japan's "legendary fish."