Too many lawyers, too few cases for Japan

A government-engineered surge in the number of lawyers in the last 15 years has not created a good marketplace for law firms, says The Wall Street Journal.

Officials intended to breathe dynamism into society by mimicking the Western legal system and kicked off a plan to double the number of lawyers. But with crime near a record low and bankruptcies plunging, many lawyers are struggling to find work.

‘It’s getting a lot harder to make ends meet, no doubt about it,’ commented law firm co-owner Shinichi Sakano.

Private attorneys’ average income almost halved between 2006 and 2014, from ¥17.5m to ¥9m – about $80,000. There has been a sharp drop in the number of students applying to Japan’s law schools in the past decade, with lengthy training and hefty costs likely contributing factors.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal; The Wall Street Journal (1)

Email your news and story ideas to: