Trusted Bilingual Legal Offices for SME In Tokyo
Finding trustworthy bilingual legal assistance is an essential step if you are setting up a company in Japan. If you are looking for legal help for your small-to-medium-sized business, this article lists trusted bilingual legal offices for SME in Tokyo.
Various regulations, criteria, and policies exist regarding SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) in Japan, and Chusho Kigyo-cho (an external bureau of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) provides information and support for SMEs. However, many of their most helpful articles are not translated into English.
Shareholders’ meetings, contracts, applying for government grants or other subsidies, and many other legal tasks will require a competent bilingual lawyer or legal office. One that can help ensure you are making legally sound decisions while also counseling you on best-practices that will benefit your fledgling enterprise.
Here, we list the best-known bilingual legal offices for SME in Tokyo that can provide you with English-speaking assistance.
Jurinavi’s chart-topping law firm, full services, Chiyoda office
This law firm employs the highest number of lawyers (both Japanese lawyers and foreign lawyers), taking the first place spot in Jurinavi’s yearly Top 200 list for largest law firms in Japan. Nishimura & Asahi is a full-service legal office with branches nationwide and in Hong Kong. They offer legal support for corporate governance, related legal affairs, related finance regulations and compliance, venture support, dispute resolution, intellectual property protection, etc. A full list of services can be found here. On their attorney page, you can specify the practice area and type of representation you are interested in — along with narrowing results to only list English-speaking attorneys.
The second-largest law firm for domestic and foreign companies, Ootemachi office
With close to 500 lawyers working at this law office, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune was ranked the second-largest law firm in Japan by Jurinavi. Serving both Japanese and foreign companies in Japan, their breadth of expertise is vast. It includes corporate governance, support for startups, establishing a business in Japan, help with shareholders’ meetings, corporate dispute mitigation, and more. Practice areas include M&A, crisis management, capital markets, real estate, labor and employment, intellectual property, restructuring, etc. Their website is in English. Use the English contact form for English-language inquiries. Or let a TokyoMate Assistant make inquiries for you.
Address (Located on 20th Floor)
A general counsel legal firm for SMEs, Hibiya office
ZeLo Japan is a bilingual law office in Hibiya with English-speaking lawyers, providing counsel and support for global businesses. Their offices can serve as external general counsel for SME legal needs, such as contract negotiation, business establishment, financial strategies, IPO filings, and the management of intellectual property. If you need a Chief Legal Officer but do not want to hire full time, this might be a good fit. For a list of ZeLo Japan’s services, go here.
Address (Located on 8th Floor)
Tel: +81 3 6868 6770
An international law firm, Tokyo branch, Roppongi office
Allen & Overy is an international law firm that employs 20+ lawyers in their Tokyo office, which opened in 1988. With detailed knowledge of the Japanese market, this legal firm specializes in corporate governance, M&A, joint ventures and restructuring, energy, banking, and finance. Allen & Overy’s client list includes Hitachi, Ltd. Asahi Group Holdings, NEC Corporation, NTT Communications Corporation, Kirin Holdings Company, Ltd., etc. This law office is a one-stop legal solution for business entry and establishment in Japan. Their website is in English.
Address (Located on 38th Floor)
An innovation-focused law firm with global reach, Roppongi office
With “Globalization and responding to an era with a more borderless world” as their motto, TMI Associates has a history of 30 years of international practice and representatives and offices across the globe. Ranked 3rd in Jurinavi’s Top 200 list, this is an innovative law firm that goes beyond customary legal services. In 2019, they launched TMI Ventures, Inc., a branch that specializes in consulting for data-driven startups. They are focused on providing clients with solutions along with corporate-related legal services. Specialties include intellectual property counsel and legal aid, antitrust law and competition law, labor law, crisis management, business revival, and more. Their website is largely in English; however, their Contact form is in Japanese. If you need help with booking an appointment or making an inquiry, let a TokyoMate Assistant do that for you.
Address (Located on 23rd/24th Floor)
SME business, legal, and accounting support in Chiyoda
Mentioned in a previous TokyoMate blogpost as a trust-worthy bilingual firm that offers tax support, this legal office also offers SME services that will help you set up, operate, and manage your business. With an 80% foreign clientele, SME Japan describes itself as a business partner “designed to meet the needs of small and medium enterprises in Japan.” Services include providing business license and application support, accounting support, startup support, and legal assistance for mergers and acquisitions. Other specialties relevant to running a business in Japan include IT and tech support services, office rentals, marketing and media support, property managers’ services, HR and payroll services, exit planning and strategic consulting, and much more. Their website is a valuable resource for SME startups, containing helpful guides and news on business trends in Japan. A list of their SME-related services is here.
Address (Located on 2nd Floor)
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