Exporting Best Legal Practices to a Japanese Head Office

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Exporting Best Legal Practices to a Japanese Head Office

Bruce Ortwine, General Counsel and Deputy Legal Manager, Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co, USA

In the United States, the role of corporate general counsel has grown over the last several years. Highly publicized corporate scandals, some highlighting either actual or perceived deficiencies in the role of in-house counsel, have resulted in new legal, regulatory and shareholder requirements. The new rules have demanded that the general counsel improve both the standard and scope of his or her practice, and define more precisely exactly who the client is. In light of these developments, the task of general counsel for U.S. offices and affiliates of Japanese corporations is also expanded. It now includes effectively communicating to the head office evolving 'best legal practices' in the U.S. and persuading the Japanese parent to incorporate those practices into its own legal practices.

Bruce A. Ortwine is the Joint General Manager and General Counsel for the North American operations of The Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co., Ltd., one of the largest Japanese banks in the world. He is also a member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Trust Committee, as well as the External General Counsel of, Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co., (U.S.A.), a New Jersey state chartered qualified bank and a major global custodian bank. He was worked at both banks since 1990. Before then, he worked at two different law firms in New York City, where he specialized in corporate, securities, banking, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions and entertainment law. He has published numerous articles, mostly in leading Japanese legal and financial publications, since the early 1990’s. He is admitted as an attorney in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and is a member of numerous professional organizations.

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