King & Spalding will open an office in Tokyo, the firm’s eighteenth office overall and tenth office outside the United States. The new Tokyo office, along with the firm’s Singapore office, will anchor King & Spalding’s market-leading energy practice throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Joining King & Spalding as partners are Ashurst partners John McClenahan, Mark Davies, and Chris Bailey in Tokyo, and Rupert Lewi in Perth, who will form the core team and launch the firm’s Tokyo office. Well-known in the Tokyo market, this highly-regarded group represents major Japan- and Korea-based actors in the energy and resources sector including export credit agencies and financial institutions, as well as some of Japan’s largest trading houses, public natural gas companies and other blue chip project sponsors and participants. They have extensive experience supporting the development, financing and acquisition of, and resolution of disputes arising out of, major energy projects globally, including power generation facilities, gas pipeline infrastructure, floating production storage and offloading vessels, and LNG terminals.
“We are excited to build a new office around a top-tier team with deep roots in the Japanese legal marketplace and expertise in energy, projects, finance, construction and international arbitration,” said Robert D. Hays, Jr., chairman of King & Spalding. “Given our momentum globally, strategic focus on energy, the growth of energy and related activity in Asia-Pacific, and the opportunity to launch with an internationally recognized group, Tokyo presents a real opportunity for us.”
The Tokyo office, the firm’s second in Asia, will focus on cross-border investment, project development, project finance, and global disputes work. It is expected to capitalize on the momentum of the firm’s Singapore office where there are 10 resident partners – three focused on the power sector, three on oil and gas and LNG, and four on international arbitration. Earlier this year, the Singapore office recruited Richard Nelson, former head of the Southeast Asia energy practice at Herbert Smith Freehills, and Simon Cowled, a power projects partner from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Chambers ranks several King & Spalding practices in Singapore noting its work in International Arbitration (Band 1) and Energy & Natural Resources (Band 1).
“The King & Spalding name is a calling card in the energy and international arbitration space in Asia,” said McClenahan. “As a platform for growth, we see this as a great opportunity for each of us and we are excited about collaborating with our new colleagues across the firm.”
Philip Weems, head of King & Spalding’s energy practice, added “Our Tokyo presence enjoys a natural connection with the rest of the firm’s energy practice. The new team will bolster what the firm has already achieved in the LNG, oil and gas, power and mining arenas, and our presence in Tokyo, an important hub of the world-wide energy market, further increases our global reach.”
McClenahan, who will serve as managing partner for King & Spalding’s Tokyo office, has worked in Tokyo for over 20 years and played a lead role in the building of Ashurst’s Japan/Korea practices. He specialises in banking and project finance and advises lenders, sponsors, project companies and contractors on major infrastructure projects, including in the power, petrochemicals and transportation sectors. He also advises clients on acquisition finance, structured finance transactions, cross-border acquisitions and joint ventures.
Lewi practices in the oil and gas, LNG and mining areas, with a focus on corporate and asset acquisitions and divestments, project structuring and project development work. He has counseled clients on leading LNG projects in Australia, Asia and the Middle East. Lewi, who previously worked in Tokyo for over 12 years, acts for a wide range of North Asian trading companies and gas and electricity utility companies, including in their overseas investments in Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and Africa.
Davies has worked in Asia for more than a decade focusing on investment funds, project finance, asset finance and corporate finance transaction and M&A. He has gained considerable experience on a broad range of transactional matters across a number of key Asian jurisdictions.
Bailey is a highly experienced international arbitration practitioner and solicitor advocate who arrived in Tokyo in 2006 from an energy litigation background in London. He represents Japanese and Korean clients on their global disputes in the energy, resource, transport, infrastructure, financial service, media and IT sectors. His practice also extends to contentious regulatory, sanctions, compliance and investigations work. On the latter, Bailey has significant experience of major African and the Middle Eastern corruption investigations before regulators including the US Department of Justice and the UK Serious Fraud Office.