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Office Openings: Law Alliance Opens Tokyo Office

by on February 10, 2010

Law Alliance has continued its expansion and recently announced the opening of a new office in Tokyo.  The new office will enable us to provide better service to our clients and candidates in the Japanese market. Although we have successfully served the Japanese market from afar, the new office, combined with local consulting expertise, will allow for an even greater degree of care for clients and up-to-date market intelligence for candidates. Keeping this in mind, we thought it is an opportune time to publish a brief update on the current state of the legal profession in Japan.

Despite Japan’s position as the second largest economy in the world, its legal market remains small in comparison to similarly sized Western economies. The latest published figures show that there are only around 24,000 Japanese attorneys (Bengoshi) and approximately 260 registered foreign lawyers (Gaiben) in Japan. One of the main reasons for the low number of Bengoshi is that prior to the institution of legal reforms in 2004, it was very hard to pass the entrance exams to the profession. Attorneys from California or New York, might think that they faced a similarly daunting task.  However, the pass rate in Japan was barely above 2%, well below even the lowest pass rates for exams in other countries.

Since the 2004 reforms, a dual legal education system has been in place,  which allows applicants the option to take the old Bar exam method or choose a  US style law school for which the pass rate has  improved to nearly 40%. This will certainly provide some relief for a system dealing with a shortage of attorneys, yet it will still be a  few years before any benefits reach the senior end of the market.  Opening our Tokyo office will allow us to be in the best position possible when that time comes and enable us to provide our clients and candidates with unparalleled service and insight into the Japanese legal market

To learn more about the Tokyo office, as well as our offices in Hong Kong and Singapore, please visit the Law Alliance home page.

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