Tokyo - (July 3, 2003) - Morrison & Foerster today announced the expansion of its real estate and structured finance practice in Japan with the addition of two Tokyo-based real estate lawyers and the relocation to Tokyo of Frederick Lodge, a senior real estate partner, from Morrison's New York office.
Joining the firm as partners in Tokyo are Eric J. Piesner, formerly with the Tokyo office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, and Theodore S. Seltzer, formerly with the Tokyo office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Fred Lodge will relocate to the firm's Tokyo office to lead the Real Estate Group.
Morrison & Foerster's Tokyo Real Estate Group is a full-service group that is active in transactions involving a broad range of real estate assets in both Japan and the U.S. The Tokyo group includes real estate and real estate finance lawyers qualified to practice both in Japan and in the U.S. Attorneys in the group represent lenders and borrowers in a wide range of sophisticated finance transactions, including structured finance and securitization transactions.
Keith C. Wetmore, Chairman of the Firm, commented: "The Japanese real estate market is a critical factor in the Asian, and indeed the world, economy. The arrival of Eric and Theo, and the expansion of this group, positions Morrison & Foerster to better serve our clients in this important arena."
Ken Siegel, Managing Partner of the firm's Tokyo office, commented, "The combination of Fred's leadership, our existing strong capabilities in structuring of financial transactions under Japanese law, and Eric and Theo's deal experience and relationships in the local market give us a unique and talented team to serve real estate clients in Japan and the region."
Fuyuo Mitomi, head of Ito & Mitomi, noted, "In the past five years, the volume of inbound real estate transactions has continued to grow, both here in Japan and regionally. This expansion of our local real estate capabilities further cements our position as the leading full-service international law firm in Tokyo."
Mr. Piesner has extensive experience representing clients in all aspects of structuring, negotiating and documenting real estate acquisitions, dispositions, leases and financings, asset management and servicing agreements, and CMBS transactions in Japan. Mr. Piesner received his J.D. degree from the University of Hawaii at Honolulu in 1992 and his M.A. in Asian Studies in 1993. He was also a Ph.D. candidate in History and East Asian Languages at Harvard University from 1996 until 1997. He was an Assistant Professor of Law at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan from 1993 until 1995. Mr. Seltzer has represented lenders and borrowers in non-recourse financing of hard assets and non-performing loans, joint venture and sale-leaseback acquisitions, and tax-effective structuring of international clients' real estate investments into Japan.
Mr. Seltzer received his J.D. and LL.M. degrees from Georgetown University in 1992 and in 1996, respectively. From 1993 to 1995 he was a Fellow at the Harrison Institute for Public Law at Georgetown University. He was also a Ph.D. candidate with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, in 1997. Messrs. Lodge, Peisner and Seltzer join two other recent arrivals to the Tokyo office this year: Shinji Itoh and Ryugo Yoshimura.
Mr. Itoh's practice focuses on asset-based financings, including securitization backed by real estate, equity shares and receivables, and securities offerings inside and outside Japan. Mr. Itoh handles structured finance deals from initiation to execution.
Mr. Yoshimura has experience in a broad range of business transactions, particularly in the fields of M&A, private equity, restructuring and acquisition-related financing. He also advises Japanese and foreign corporations in the high-tech, life sciences and Internet sectors on IPO, technology and venture capital transactions.
Morrison & Foerster was one of the first U.S. law firms to set up operations when Japan changed its laws in 1987 to permit foreign lawyers to practice in the country. The firm represents such leading Japanese and U.S. companies as Fujitsu, Hitachi, Toshiba, SOFTBANK, Goldman Sachs, Nikko Citigroup Ltd., General Electric, and Sumitomo Corporation on a wide range of matters, including mergers and acquisitions, securities, structured and project finance, and litigation. Ito & Mitomi, formed in 2001, is Morrison's joint enterprise partner and works closely with Morrison & Foerster to provide integrated U.S. and Japanese law advice. With 50 U.S., Japanese and English-qualified lawyers resident in the office, Morrison & Foerster, in conjunction with Ito & Mitomi, has one of the largest presences of any international law firm in Tokyo.
Morrison & Foerster LLP one of the leading international law firms, with approximately 1,000 lawyers in 19 offices, in key technology and finance centers around the world.
Ito & Mitomi, was established in April 2001 as a registered associated office of Morrison & Foerster.