Will Thomas


Trainee secondment to Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

I am seconded to Mori Hamada & Matsumoto (MHM) in Tokyo, Japan. I sit in the Corporate/M&A group, which covers everything from venture capital investment to public M&A. My team works on cross-border transactions which are conducted mostly in English. The firm’s clients range from stately conglomerates to founder-led startups, so the work is always varied.

Our offices are in Marunouchi, a sleek business district sandwiched between the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station. The atmosphere in the office is professional but relaxed, and despite the swanky surroundings, the area boasts some delicious budget lunch options of sushi, ramen and tempura!

It has been interesting to experience the Japanese legal market. M&A and private equity activity in Japan remains busy against the global slowdown, and I have enjoyed seeing how a different legal framework impacts the way transactions are structured and executed. Highlights include drafting a business transfer agreement for the purchase of a Singaporean warehouse business and attending an in-person SPA (sale and purchase agreement) negotiation for the sale of a fintech business. MHM encourages its lawyers to develop a broad practice, so there are frequent opportunities to work with other groups. For example, I assisted the firm’s leading investment funds team with a secondaries transaction. 

Life in Tokyo is fantastic. The city is vibrant and eclectic, often puzzling but never dull. I have also enjoyed exploring beyond the metropolis, from the sub-tropical Yaeyema Islands to snowy wilds of Hokkaido. It has been a pleasure to discover Japan’s many charms.

A secondment is a great opportunity to build a professional network and better understand the international context in which our clients operate. On a personal level, it is very rewarding to discover a new culture and experience living in a different global city.