The Ministry of Justice in Japan has approved changes to the registered foreign lawyer system, which will expand the scope of practice for lawyers working in Japan. The changes, which are intended to improve practice conditions and expand Japan’s international legal market, are focused around three main issues –
- The scope of ‘international arbitration case’ has been expanded, allowing for registered foreign lawyers to participate in a greater variety of international arbitration, including cases where all parties are Japanese, under certain conditions such as the governing law being non-Japanese law. Furthermore, a definition of ‘international mediation’ has been established, which registered foreign lawyers will be allowed to undertake.
- The work experience requirement to become a foreign law attorney under the current law is three years, with a maximum of one year of this being work experience that can be taken in Japan. Under the amendment this has been expanded to two years, meaning that attorneys can gain more of their qualifying experience in the market they hope to qualify into.
- Finally, the amendment will introduce a joint corporation system, which will allow Japanese lawyers and registered foreign lawyers to form joint corporations and employ each other within these corporations, creating a wider scope of practice for these firms. This was previously forbidden.
See the text of the amendment (PDF), or the MOJ’s press release for the changes.
The legal profession is facing a convergence of forces, most notably significant advances in the capabilities of technology, economic pressures challenging existing business models and globalisation, that herald momentous change to the practice of law. In Australia the lead in seeking to understand these developments and formulate responses has been taken by the Law Society of New South Wales and its report on the Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession (FLIP). The Law Society conducted a commission of inquiry which culminated in the recognition of skills or areas of knowledge that were identified as essential for the successful future practice of law. In short, this involves two main inter-related streams of knowledge: first, the ability to understand and employ technology, and second a collection of skills that result in a “practice-ready” graduate, namely: • Practice Skills (both interpersonal skills and professional skills) • Business Skills • Project Management • Internationalisation and Cross-Border Practice of Law • Inter-disciplinary experience • Resilience While technology is in many ways the ‘headline act’ there are also a range of other skills that are required because of the changes technology is facilitating and the need for lawyers to focus on what is central to their role or truly provides value to the client. This article discusses and elaborates on the findings of the FLIP inquiry in relation to legal education.
Paper Available Here
Michael Legg, University of New South Wales (UNSW) – Faculty of Law
The International Bar Association (IBA) compiled a list of organisations that are responsible for regulating the legal profession around the world.
The directory covers the main regulated legal profession(s) in each country. It divides the regulatory functions governing legal practice into three stages: admission, practice and discipline. It indicates the body responsible for each function and how it may be contacted. Where possible, links to the relevant organisations’ websites are also included.
Legal Regulators Directory on the IBA website
Findings from the Legal Regulators Directory
Legal Regulators Directory as PDF