Clifford Chance


IFLR1000 Reviews

Financial and corporate

Clifford Chance is a London-based magic circle law firm with over 3300 lawyers and 34 offices across 23 countries. The firm opened its Tokyo office in 1987 and has been advising Japanese clients since 1974. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has foreign lawyers and Japanese bengoshi operating under a financially integrated platform offering clients inbound and outbound expertise supported by a strong global network. The firm has a market leading debt capital markets practice and has strong finance and projects capability. It also offers M&A and private equity expertise. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include SMBC Nikko Capital Markets, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, JPMorgan Securities, CVC Capital Partners, Mitsubishi Corporation, The Bank of Fukuoka and Sonnedix Japan. 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm’s capital markets practice kept busy advising on green bonds, GMTN, EMTN and MTN programmes, samurai and convertible bond issuances.

The corporate team acted in sales, investments, joint ventures stake and other acquisitions in energy, offshore wind, solar and real estate, while the finance team acted in conventional lending, aviation and acquisition finance mandates. 

The projects practice acted in inbound and outbound thermal, offshore wind, biomass, solar, casino, and oil and gas projects in Japan, Vietnam, Morocco, Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, Europe, South Asia and Australia. 

The firm bolstered its private equity practice with the hire of partner Michihiro Nishi from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-BBOXX $50 million investment 

-Fancl Corporation ¥10 billion zero coupon convertible bond issue

-Japan Finance Organization for Municipalities €500 million green bond issue 

-Mine 7/3MW solar PV project

-Nghi Son 2 IPP

-Qracian acquisition financing 

-VLI Multimodal $30 million financing 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Asset finance

“It supported us professionally in the entire work.  The Japan office helped us especially in regards to the nini-kumiai structure which is rare in JOL.”

“Helped us with extensive knowledge and understanding about aviation, Japanese investors, our capacity and counterparty's demand.”

“I think their positive attributes are the quality of service and relationship management with clients. In terms of the work we asked, they take care of our issues in a timely manner.”


“Professional and adequate advice in such a short time. Successfully contributed to achieve the client needs.”

“To smooth the execution process of transactions with customers.”

Capital markets: Debt

“Ms. Reiko Sakimura, a partner, always gives us clear and reliable advice.”

“To implement new terms like ARRC based fallback, the firm advised and guided us in good ways to launch by referring to a global capital markets case study.”

“CC Tokyo has an efficient capital markets team led by Reiko Sakimura.”

“The team is consistent and hardly changes members and as such, the institutional knowledge is valuable to clients who often rotate staff.”

Capital markets: Derivatives

“They provide a one-stop service for English law and Japanese law advice and have expertise in the derivatives space.”

Capital markets: High-Yield

“Responsive and cooperative. While the discussion started at a very early stage, the firm showed its willingness to assist us and proactively provided ideas.”

Financial services regulatory

“Contributed to the establishment of a regulatory horizon scanning team. Hitomi Kurokawa has been sitting with us in the bank and working closely.”

“Clifford Chance provides timely, thorough and useful advice on compliance with the Japan reporting requirements.  The team of legal assistants who handle the filings are exceptionally capable.”


“We especially appreciate their positive attributes in clarification of the scheme of arrangement. We consider the impact caused by differences between Japanese law and Australian law. In order to solve them, Clifford Chance in Tokyo and Sydney supported us by providing detailed explanations in Japanese about scheme of arrangement and what is the main issue, how it may impact the terms and conditions of this financing. I truly appreciate them.”

Private equity

“Adequate experience in the area, timely responses.”

Project finance 

“The firm has brought extensive knowledge of project finance and local legal matters through the combination of their Tokyo and Moroccan office.”

“Of course they were acting on the lenders side and not for sponsors but they have been always willing to do anything good for a whole project.”