Paul Hastings is continuing its Asian expansion with a recruitment drive in Tokyo. The firm's local entity, Paul Hastings/Taiyo Law Office, has hired seven lawyers, taking its total complement of Japanese- and US-qualified attorneys to 36.

The new hires include Darin Bifani, a US-qualified real estate specialist from Sullivan & Cromwell; Ayako Kawano, an insolvency specialist from top Tokyo firm Mitsui, Yasuda, Wani & Maeda; and corporate lawyers Kiyomi Kikuchi, from Asahi Koma Law Offices, and Junji Shiraki, from Freshfields. Mariko Obana, a litigator, is also among the intake.

"The Tokyo office is on the move - literally and figuratively," says John Steed, chair of the Tokyo office, about taking up new space to accommodate the firm's ambitions. "The addition of these seven excellent attorneys and the growth of our office space is the latest chapter in the Paul Hastings expansion story in Japan."

Hiring Japanese-qualified lawyers is a relatively new phenomenon for foreign firms in Japan - the rules didn't used to allow them to – but having an interest in the country is not. As with most international practices, particularly US-based ones, Paul Hastings has been on the ground in Japan for some time - it first opened an office in 1988.

Today, according to Seth Zachary, the firm's chairman, Paul Hastings has developed into one of Tokyo's leading advisers to international clients. "We believe our Tokyo office is almost unparalleled in offering international companies a unique combination of banking and finance, corporate M&A, capital markets, litigation and real estate legal expertise," he says.