International law firms in Japan could have taken a big hit over the past two years when their Japanese clients, discouraged by COVID, put outbound M&A deals on hold. However, many of those firms shifted gears along with their clients giving them new avenues for growth instead.
For instance, firms such as Herbert Smith Freehills, Skadden Arps, and K&L Gates, which built up practices in Tokyo advising Japanese companies on outbound M&A transactions, started concentrating on Japanese corporations focused on divesting nonperforming assets.
In addition, these firms expanded their capital markets offering as Japanese corporates were forced to raise funds outside of Japan to cushion the financial impact of the COVID pandemic.
Finally, litigation has been another area of growth as many Japanese companies have been locked in disputes with their foreign counterparts over issues relating to payment defaults and failed product deliveries due to the pandemic.