Trent Dykes

Masahiko Ishida

Partner, Head of Corporate-Tokyo, Tokyo

masahiko.ishida@dlapiper.comT +81 (0)3 4550 2808

I'm an experienced corporate lawyer, admitted both in Japan and New York. My practice covers a wide range of corporate transactional work such as M&A transactions and venture financing. I grew up in Japan and studied at the University of Tokyo for my law degree and Keio University for my business degree. After completing my studies in Japan, I worked for one of the most prestigious Japanese law firms as an associate. I then studied in New York City, where I earned my LL.M. at Columbia Law School as a Fulbright Scholar, then went on to study at Columbia Business School. After leaving business school, I worked as a managing director in a multinational boutique investment bank in its New York and Tokyo offices. While at the bank, I helped many startups with their financing and business operations in many jurisdictions. Now back in Japan, as the Head of Corporate at DLA Piper Tokyo, I represent startups and venture capitalists from around the world.

I am one of only a few English/Japanese bilingual lawyers with experience helping startups at both an investment bank and a law firm. I am also one of only a few lawyers with law degrees and business degrees from schools in the US and Japan. I have learned to deeply consider the client's needs and arrive at practical solutions to challenges clients face when starting up new businesses. 

I tell my clients, "I'm always here for you for anything you need." If you have any legal issues or problems, I will work with my colleagues to find a practical, not just a black-letter law type, solution. Even if the issue you are facing is not a legal matter, or you yourself do not know whether it is a legal issue, I always try to provide a real-world solution. This may include introducing someone else who can solve the problem or bringing in other available resources.

Some of my clients are Fortune 500 companies, but others are startups set up by a young entrepreneur with just a laptop and a brilliant idea. Regardless of the size of the business, my way of working is favored by many clients.

Outside of work, I am passionate about backpacking. I have visited more than 40 countries in my travels. I love to experience new cultures and meeting interesting people, which always gives me inspiration and energizes me.

In addition, I'm fond of exercising. I am a black belt holder in both karate and judo. I have recently started running marathons. My next goal is to finish in all the World Marathon Majors. (I just finished the Tokyo Marathon.)

Whenever I talk with CEOs or top management of startups, I always emphasize how important it is to keep a good balance between physical condition and mental condition to achieve long-term success. It's easy to say, but hard to do, so sometimes I spend time on meditation, which I learned from my karate master when I was a child. I am inspired by the way the Samurai meditated to keep their mental stability and prepare for battle.

I also enjoy having great food and drink with my family and my friends. It's one of the most refreshing things I do.