William T. Gillespie

Marunouchi Office
Senior Counsel

William Gillespie became a senior counsel of So & Sato Law Office in October 2023.  A Californian and graduate of the University of California Los Angeles, William has an uncommon combination of international legal and business experience.  Completing undergraduate studies, he started and sold a technology business, before finishing law school and beginning his legal career as a trial lawyer at a top U.S. law firm.  Moving to Tokyo in 1997, William developed expertise advising venture businesses, first as a lawyer and then in private equity. He has served as a strategic and business development advisor to global and Japanese law firms. His passion remains venture business, having founded, built, advised, financed and exited high growth companies during the course of his career in the U.S., U.K. and 20 plus years in Japan, China and South Korea.

Main business areas
Private equity, venture capital, emerging companies, corporate M&A, international disputes

English, Japanese, Mandarin


October 2023 So Sato Law Office (Senior Advisor) - Tokyo
November 2022 BGC Godo Kaisha (Founder/Director) - Tokyo
March 2018 - May 2019 Cogito Optical Technology Company (Advisor to CEO), Beijing
March 2005 - Tiger Capital Partners (Founder/Principal) – London/Beijing
January 1999 - May 2004 Yuasa and Hara (Foreign Counsel) , Tokyo
September 2012 - February 2018 Perkins Coie (Asia Director of Business Development / Special Counsel), Beijing / Shanghai
August 2000 - September 2003 Temple University Law School Japan (Adjunct Professor), Tokyo
February 1998 - October 1998 Tokyo Aoyama/Baker & McKenzie (Associate Attorney), Tokyo
1988 Loyola Law School, J.D.
1982 University of California, Los Angeles, B.A.
1988 - The State Bar of California
1988 - California State and U.S. Federal District Courts and California Court of Appeals, 2nd District
1998 - 2004 Daiichi Tokyo Bar Association, as a foreign lawyer
2012 - 2018 China Ministry of Justice, as a foreign lawyer (inactivated)