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A New Paradigm for Japanese Legal Training and Education (In Light of the Legal Education at Harvard Law School)

Author(s): Yukio Yanagida

Journal: Asian-Pacific law & policy journal
ISSN 1541-244X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2000;
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Keywords: legal education | japan | harvard | law school | japanese | professional school | professional education | socratic method | legal training | bar examination

From the moment American law students enter their first Contracts class to the day they receive their Juris Doctor degree, their education is specifically geared towards preparing them for a law-oriented career. Japanese law schools, in comparison, are ill-equipped to serve this purpose, and, by their own accounts, provide little more than a general collegiate education. For various reasons, Japanese law schools may not even be classified as professional schools at all. Through a comparison of Harvard Law School's curriculum, student body, faculty and teaching methodology, with that of some of Japan’s most well-respected law schools, the author asserts a lack of adequate legal education in Japan, and suggests possible changes to fill the void. Several suggestions are evaluated, with the most promising possibilities at the law school level.
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