The US practice headed up by Piyasena Perera will focus on debt and equity capital markets work and corporate M&A transactions. Associates who will relocate to the firm's Tokyo office over the course of 2002 will support the practice.

The first appointment will be Thomas Vogel, a fluent Japanese speaker who will be seconded from the New York office. The new practice will also provide support to the US practice throughout the rest of Asia, which has already grown to 12 lawyers in total.

Perera's 11 years of practice experience includes IPOs, secondary offerings, mergers and acquisition work, joint ventures and restructurings. Peter Curly, Partner in the US Law Group in Hong Kong says, "this is a great move forward given the importance of US law to increasing numbers of corporate and securities transactions in Japan and rest of Asia and another core building block for Asia on our way to providing an integrated US capability globally."

Allen & Overy has also announced the arrival of David Shearer, a partner in capital markets, who is relocating from London. Shearer will focus on securitisation and other structured products from the May 13. He has advised lead managers and borrowers on a wide range of structured finance and securitisation transactions with a focus on real estate finance.

Shearer joined Allen & Overy in 1997 from his native New Zealand and is an English qualified solicitor. Thomas Brown, managing partner, Tokyo comments that his arrival will, "be meeting the increasing demands of our clients active in Japan's considerable real estate structured finance market."