3 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM THE BRIEFING: YOUR MONTHLY NEED-TO-KNOW HALF OF JAPAN FIRMS Percentage of U.S. associates who were women last year, according to data from the National Association for Law Placement. This is the first time that women outnumbered men. (Reuters) Around half of Japanese firms are looking at reviewing or restructuring their businesses to boost corporate value, including acquisitions, a Reuters survey showed, amid a push for companies to improve governance. The survey results are the latest sign of concrete actions companies in the world’s third-largest economy are looking to take to overhaul their businesses and boost corporate value. The Tokyo market has hit its highest in three decades on expectations companies will boost shareholder returns through unwinding of crossholdings, share buybacks and other measures. With nearly half of listed companies trading below book value, the Tokyo Stock Exchange is putting pressure on firms to review their use of capital, publishing a list of those with plans to put pressure on laggards. While the TSE lists companies that have compiled or considering action plans, the Reuters survey shows measures being considered. Just under a third said they were looking at combining their core businesses with other companies through M&A. 50.3 PERCENT LOOK AT RESTRUCTURING TO BOOST PERFORMANCE IN THE NEWS Elevate has signed a deal with Ashurst to build and operate the Ashurst Advance Global Delivery Centre in Krakow, Poland. The GDC, Ashurst’s third after Glasgow and Brisbane, will supports service lines such as due diligence and contract management. “YOU ARE ON THE VERGE OF SPENDING SOME TIME IN THE LOCKUP. NOW SIT DOWN, MS HABBA.” QUOTE UNQUOTE Over 60 U.S. legal departments earned 2023 Mansfield Certification by prioritizing diversity, considering at least 50% historically underrepresented individuals for leadership roles, according to Diversity Lab, which designed the two-year certification. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing Donald Trump’s defamation trial brought by E. Jean Carroll, threatens to send Trump attorney Alina Habba to jail after she interrupts him. IN THE NEWS (Reuters) The U.S. legal industry has already seen a flurry of new law firm mergers in 2024, as Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton on Wednesday became the latest to announce a combination with a smaller firm. Atlanta-founded Kilpatrick said it will add more than 55 lawyers in Chicago from a firm called HMB Legal Counsel. Kilpatrick entered the Chicago legal market in March 2023, in part through a tie-up with another small firm. Several U.S. law firm mergers were announced in January following an uptick of law firm deals in 2023. Phoenixfounded midsize firm Fennemore Craig said that it will expand into Seattle through a combination with 12-lawyer Savitt Bruce & Willey. Other new tie-ups include Buffalo-founded Barclay Damon absorbing Washington, D.C.-based firm Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram. Kilpatrick said the deal with HMB will increase its corporate practice and presence in Chicago. U.S. LAW FIRMS BULK UP WITH MORE MERGERS IN THE NEW YEAR Proportion of U.S. in-house counsel with executive coaching who are identified as a GC successor, according to a Barker Gilmore report. The figure for those without coaching is 26 percent. 35%