Japanese lawyers move in-house
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations has reported that 770 of the Japanese-qualified lawyers known as bengoshi are now in in-house positions, up from 64 in 2001. Bengoshi are those represented to represent clients in matters of Japanese law, in contrast to foreign lawyers who are only licensed to advise on legal matters pertaining to their home country. comments powered by Disqus
This shift in-house accounts for only a fraction of the 32,000 bengoshi currently qualified to practice, but might herald the start of a trend as companies look to cut costs and increase the stringency of their compliance measures.
Yasushi Murofushi, president of the Japan In-House Lawyers Association, says that the biggest reason that there are more bengoshi working in-house are that there are simply more bengoshi. The introduction of graduate-level law programs and changes to admissions standards have led to a huge increase in the number of qualified lawyers looking for work. In fact, the number of bengoshi has increased by 12,000 since 2005 - growth that is equal to that of the entire period between 1950 and 2001. This increase means that companies can now find affordable lawyers to advise them in-house.