Training of Legal Professionals

Previously in Japan, it was necessary for anyone who intended to be a legal professional such as an attorney, judge, or prosecutor, to pass the bar examination, complete legal training at the Legal Research and Training Institute, and pass the final examination.

The selection of candidates only through the one-time bar exam caused various negative consequences. In this context, the Recommendations of the Justice System Reform Council issued in 2001 suggested a drastic reform of the legal professional education system, featuring a "training process" which organically coordinates legal education, the bar examination, and judicial training.

In April 2004, the new legal professional training system started in which law schools, established as professional graduate schools, play a central role. At law schools, many practicing lawyers teach students as instructors and train them to become their successors.

Many new legal professionals have started their career under the new legal training system and are actively engaging in their work in various fields. However, some problems have arisen, such as low passage rate of the bar exam, financial hardship or difficulty in time management during the legal training process,* and a decrease in the number of applicants seeking to become legal professionals.

In order to solve these problems, the government and relevant ministries have established various taskforce committees and discussed reform plans. The JFBA will continue to actively participate in these discussions and focus on reforming the legal training system.

*After World War II, legal apprentices were entitled to salaries from the national treasury during the term of legal training. However in 2011, the salary system was replaced by a loan system. Since then the JFBA has been conducting various activities in its efforts to establish a grant-type financial support for legal apprentices in order to ensure that no one gives up his or her ambition to become a legal professional simply due to financial reasons and that judicial apprentices are able to focus on their apprenticeship without having to worry about financial issues. As a result of such activities, the government introduced in 2017 a new grant-type financial support to apprentices in addition to the existing loan system.

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