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HOME > Public Statements and Opinion Papers > Opinion Papers > Recommendations to Improve the New Professional Legal Education and Training System

Recommendations to Improve the New Professional Legal Education and Training System

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January 16, 2009
Japan Federation of Bar Associations

Summary

  1. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) makes every effort to provide all necessary support for enhancing and improving the new professional legal education and training system, in which law schools play a central role.

  2. The JFBA is concerned that the new professional legal education and training system has partially separated from its philosophy. In order to produce diverse and high quality legal professionals capable of meeting broad social demands, the JFBA makes the following recommendations as immediate measures to improve the system.

    1. )The total number of law school students in one grade should be drastically reduced to approximately 4,000, with due consideration to appropriate regional allocation.
    2. ) Law schools which have difficulty establishing the necessary systems to provide legal education in line with the philosophy of the new professional legal education and training system should actively take appropriate actions, including creating an alliance with another law school or ceasing to accept new students.
    3. ) The minimum scope of knowledge to be acquired through the basic curriculum of law schools should be set and a goal focusing on the fostering of legal thinking abilities should be established.
    4. ) Clinical programs in law schools should be further enhanced.
    5. ) Curricula and teaching methods should be developed to ensure that students who have not completed law at undergraduate level and are studying law for the first time at law school acquire the fundamental skills necessary to be a legal professional through a 3-year course.
    6. ) Each law school should establish an effective system to ensure that grading and the authorization of graduation are strictly conducted. Also, law school accrediting bodies should develop appropriate ways to evaluate law schools.
    7. ) The multiple-choice portion of the new bar exam should not focus solely on knowledge itself, but should limit its scope to the basic legal knowledge required to be a legal practitioner, and test a solid understanding of that knowledge. In addition, point allocation between the multiple-choice portion and the essay portion should be reviewed.
    8. ) The preliminary examination should be operated as an exceptional path to becoming legal professionals based on the fact that law schools are the core educational institutions in the new professional legal education and training system.
    9. ) After the completion of the new bar examination, necessary introductory practice programs should be provided prior to the specialized practice programs administered under the collaboration of law schools, judges, public prosecutors, and attorneys. 
    10. ) The JFBA and other bar associations should enhance their systems to provide training programs for newly registered attorneys and continuing legal education programs for all attorneys in order to improve the skills of new attorneys and develop further the competence of all attorneys so they can respond to various social demands. 
    11. )Because law schools, the bar examination, and the legal apprentice training program are important processes in the new professional legal education and training program, more information must be provided concerning their operation and systems so they can be improved.