Friday, September 10, 2010

National Legal Examination Results 2010

"This year's bar exam pass rate under Japan's new system has hit a record low, proving it is difficult for applicants who did not major in law at universities to enter the profession.

"The new bar exam system is aimed at opening the door of the legal profession to people who don't have undergraduate law degrees, such as those with other professional careers or with undergraduate degrees other than law. Since the new system was introduced in 2006, law schools have been striving to help students who don't have undergraduate law degrees pass the annual exam.

"Despite such efforts, however, this year's exam -- the fifth under the new system -- was still tough, with the pass rate of applicants who don't have undergraduate law degrees being slightly more than 10 percent.

""Knowing the current pass rate, no working adult would quit their job to become legal professionals," says Keiichiro Murayama, a graduate of Yokohama National University's Law School. The 32-year-old passed this year's bar exam after a seven-year career as a newspaper writer and graduating from the law school. "I wouldn't have taken the risk if I had to wait another year."

"Azuna Ikeda, 29, a graduate of Tokyo Metropolitan University's Law School, is another one who passed this year. "Before passing the exam, I was telling a friend of mine what would happen in the future if I failed it," says Ikeda, who used to work for an IT-related company for three years before entering the law school.

"Concerning the predicted rise in demand for legal professionals -- court judges, prosecutors and lawyers -- in business, medical and other professional fields, the government had taken concrete steps to increase the number of those in the profession as part of its reforms of the country's judicial system. Still, growth in the number of those who pass the bar exam has been sluggish and there are only a few legal professionals who venture into other fields.

"In July, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology referred to the entire system to nurture the legal profession as "falling into a vicious cycle," and criticized some law schools -- a gateway to the profession -- for failing to recruit high quality teachers. The government plans to get the system back on its feet, with improving education at law schools at the core, on the grounds that it is possible to secure 3,000 people to pass the exam per year if high quality education is provided."

By Mainichi Shimbun (9/10/2010), Link to article (last visited 9/10/2010)

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