“In the USA, only 1% of civil cases go to trial, so very few U.S. business lawyers have actual trial and arbitration experience,” said Lisa Kitagawa, partner at Kitagawa & Ebert, one of the few U.S. law firms that has won complex trials and arbitrations for Japanese companies in multiple states, federal courts and arbitrations.

“Because of our litigation strategy, trial experience, Japanese bilingual team, understanding of U.S. and Japan cultures, and proficiency in technology, we are successful in winning complex business disputes,” said Kitagawa, who is the third of only four American lawyers to have graduated from Kyoto University. She also attended the University of Tokyo.

Partner James Ebert also studied at Kyoto University and is licensed as both a lawyer and a California certified public accountant.

“We also have a busy transactional business practice in contracts, corporate, M&A (mergers and acquisitions), real estate, employment and other matters. We understand the complexities of doing business in the USA and provide strategies to navigate doing business in the USA in order to succeed and win,” Kitagawa said. 

Representing Japanese clients of all sizes in the energy, logistics, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, technology, automotive, food, internet, finance, real estate, entertainment and investment sectors, among others, the law firm experienced growth in 2020 and 2021 despite the pandemic because of its extensive investment in technology.

Kitagawa stressed that Japanese businesses need experienced U.S. business trial lawyers with strategies to identify opportunities and manage risks.

“The laws are constantly changing, so Japanese businesses must adjust for differences in various state laws and be aware of demographics and regional cultures,” she said.