Baker & McKenzie GJBJ Tokyo Aoyama Aoki Koma Law Office (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) has appointed Haruhiko Ogasawara as counsel in its Banking & Finance Practice Group in Tokyo. A prominent real estate lawyer in Tokyo, Ogasawara specializes in real estate securitisation, public offering of J-REITs, and securitisation of loan receivables (structuring of RMBS, CMBS and ABS), and has extensive experience in both domestic and cross-border transactions involving M&A, leveraged buyouts, debt financing and structured finance. He joins the firm from Atsumi & Partners where he was a junior partner. Earlier in his career, Ogasawara was a senior associate with Morrison Forester LLP Tokyo Office/Ito & Mitomi. He received his Bachelor of Law from the University of Tokyo in 1994, and attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School where he received his LLM degree in 2002. Ogasawara was admitted to practice in Japan as a bengoshi in 1996 and is also a registered attorney with the New York State Bar as of 2003.

Clifford Chance has appointed Alan Kitchin as partner and head of the firm’s Corporate and Projects practice in Japan. Kitchin specialises in a wide variety of international corporate and commercial transactions, including domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, listings, and commercial contracts. He also has extensive projects experience, and the firm is keen to utilise his understanding of Japanese business and his track record in the country to a build a market-leading corporate practice in Tokyo. Kitchin is a BA/MA law graduate of Gonville and Caius College at the University of Cambridge, where he was also a Squire Law Scholar and Tapp Postgraduate Scholar. He started his legal career training with Freshfields, and subsequently joined Ashurst where he became a partner in 1986. Kitchin founded Ashurst’s Tokyo office in 1991 and served as its managing partner from then until 2002, also heading that firm’s Asia practice from 1998 to 2002.

Covington & Burling LLP has appointed former Assistant US Trade Representative for China Affairs, Timothy P. Stratford, as a partner in the firm’s Beijing office, where he will practice in the International Trade and Finance group. The most senior former US trade official to join the US business community in China, Stratford’s practice will focus on advising international clients doing business in China, as well as on assisting Chinese companies seeking to expand their businesses globally. Having lived and worked professionally in China for more than 25 years, Stratford is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese. Prior to his work as a trade representative, he served as general counsel for General Motors’ China operations, where he was a member of its senior management team and oversaw the company’s legal and trade policy work in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Stratford also served previously as Minister-Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the US Embassy in Beijing and as Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

Gilbert + Tobin has further expanded its Melbourne practice with the appointment of Nicholas Grambas as partner. A highly-regarded project and infrastructure finance partner, Grambas has experience advising on international transactions, project finance and significant infrastructure developments. He joins the firm from Baker & McKenzie where he was the head of that firm’s Banking & Finance Group. Earlier in his career, Grambas gained international experience spanning both the legal and investment banking sectors. Gilbert & Tobin hopes that such experience will significantly bolster its infrastructure, utilities, finance and M&A practices.

Latham & Watkins LLP has strengthened its Hong Kong law practice with the appointment of Raymond Kwok as a real estate partner. Kwok has more than 20 years of experience in complex real estate transactions and has represented a wide range of clients including public companies, financial institutions, private equity funds, real estate funds, developers, and non-governmental organizations. He received his LLB from The London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London in 1984 and obtained a Diploma in Chinese Law from the University of East Asia in Macau. He is a China Appointed Attesting Officer and also a member of the Consent Committee of the Law Society of Hong Kong. Prior to joining the firm, Kwok practiced in the Hong Kong office of Blank Rome.

Kennedys has appointed Iain Sharp as partner in its maritime & international trade practice. Sharp specialises in dispute resolution for commodities and trade, including litigation, international arbitration, negotiation and ADR, and has conducted several major arbitrations in London, Scandinavia, Continental Europe, Hong Kong and Singapore. Having begun his legal career in London, Sharp was resident in Hong Kong from 1999 to 2003, before returning to London to practice. Most recently, he was a founding partner of an International Trade and Arbitration Group at a London-based law firm. A member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Groupe ASA des Jeunes Praticiens de l’Arbitrage (part of the Association Suisse de l’Arbitrage), the Young International Arbitration Group (with the LCIA) and the Association for International Arbitration (AIA), he is fluent in English, French and Swedish.

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