TOKYO – October 4, 2012 – Morrison & Foerster is pleased to announce that leading Japanese real estate finance lawyer Masahiro Shiga has joined Ito Mitomi Horitsu Jimusho (“Ito & Mitomi”) as a partner. Ito & Mitomi has established a joint enterprise with Morrison & Foerster to provide legal services through its Tokyo office. Mr. Shiga joined together with associates Mori Inada and Mansu Pak; their arrival enhances what is already the premier real estate practice among international law firms in Japan.
Mr. Shiga is a well-known and highly respected bengoshi whose practice focuses on real estate finance, fund formation and private equity, banking and financial institutions, hospitality, workouts and restructurings, distressed acquisitions and financing, and real estate investment trusts. He regularly represents major commercial lenders, investors and investment banks in cross-border transactions, as well as in large restructurings and workouts. Over the past decade, Mr. Shiga has advised on the purchase of more than ¥1 trillion ($12 billion) in Japanese real estate, and represented lenders in more than ¥600 billion ($7 billion) in bonds issued and securitized loans. He has handled transactions across all major property types, including commercial, professional, industrial, and hospitality.
“We know Masa Shiga well and are delighted to welcome him and his team to the firm,” said Ken Siegel, Managing Partner of Morrison & Foerster’s Tokyo office. “Masa joins us at a very opportune moment. We’re seeing renewed confidence in Japan among long-term investors, and more opportunistic funds are scouring the market for attractive distressed assets. We believe Masa and the MoFo platform are a perfect fit.”
Mr. Shiga joins Morrison & Foerster from the Tokyo office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he led the Japan real estate practice. The two associates joining the firm are also from Skadden. Mr. Shiga has worked with leading banks such as Sumitomo Mitsui and Shinsei, as well as foreign borrowers and investors. He has also advised private real estate firms such as Asia Pacific Land, and counseled some of the biggest sovereign wealth funds in Asia in their real estate transactions.
“Masa’s experience advising institutional lenders perfectly complements our fund and equity-side work in Asia,” said Tokyo real estate partner Eric Piesner, Managing Partner for Asia and head of the Asia real estate practice. “As the lending market continues to rebound, Masa’s practice will prove to be an ideal addition for expanding our lender-side deal work.”
As the largest international law firm in Tokyo, Morrison & Foerster represents many of the foremost real estate companies in Japan and throughout Asia. The firm was recently awarded Real Estate Deal of the Year by Asian Legal Business Japan Law Awards 2012 for representation of Global Logistic Properties Limited in its $1.6 billion joint venture with China Investment Corporation for the acquisition of 15 logistics properties in Japan from a fund managed by LaSalle Investment Management. Morrison & Foerster is the lone law firm ranked by Chambers Asia in Band 1 for Real Estate: International, which also ranks partners Keisuke Mochizuki and Theodore Seltzer as Star Individuals, and Mr. Piesner in Band 1. Legal 500 Asia-Pacific also ranks the firm among its Band 1 category for Real Estate: International and Joint Ventures, and describes the firm as “the deepest bench of real estate attorneys among the foreign law firms in Japan. Particularly impressive is the balance between US trained counsel and Japanese bengoshi."
“MoFo’s longstanding commitment to the Japanese market and its prominence among Japanese real estate advisors make the firm an ideal opportunity for my practice,” said Mr. Shiga. “I’ve known a number of attorneys there over the years and the quality of their work was another strong attraction for me. I’m very pleased to join the firm and look forward to contributing to its continued success.”
Mr. Shiga is ranked in Band 1 by Chambers Asia for Real Estate: Domestic and recommended in Asia Pacific Legal 500. He earned his law degree from The Legal Research and Training Institute of the Supreme Court of Japan, an LL.M. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and his LL.B from Tokyo University.
Mr. Inada obtained his LL.B. and LL.M. from Waseda University and completed training at the Legal Training and Research Institute, and Mr. Pak obtained his LL.B. from Keio University, completed training at the Legal Training and Research Institute, and obtained an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law School.