Publication Title

Asian Journal of Law and Society


in-house lawyers, justice reform, legal profession, national government

Document Type



Until 2003, Japanese lawyers were prohibited by law from entering full-time employment in governmental bodies. That year, in line with recommendations by the Justice System Reform Council, the Lawyers Act was amended to permit lawyers to undertake such employment. Incorporating information and insights from interviews with former government lawyers and other concerned parties, this article examines the rise in the hiring of government lawyers and its impact. The article considers factors that have contributed to the increase, examines the roles played by these lawyers, considers prospects for the future, and discusses implications for government, the legal profession, clients, and legal education and training. The article also seeks to identify a range of issues raised by these developments that warrant further in-depth research.



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