Law schools in Japan and the U.S. find themselves trapped between a rock and a hard place as the number of applicants continues to shrink in the face of a bleak legal job market. As a result, all but the most elite law schools are being forced to take draconian steps to survive.
In Japan, cuts in government subsidies based largely on bar exam results are expected to lead to law school mergers. The step is seen as a necessary corrective to the oversupply of lawyers produced since 2004 when 74 new law schools opened in anticipation of increased demand for legal services.
In the United States, the 200 American Bar Association’s accredited law schools are questioning whether too much emphasis is placed on the theoretical over the practical. Possession of a law degree does not necessarily mean graduates are ready to provide legal services, even though three-year tuition can exceed $150,000.
As a result, the number of applicants is down by more than 37 percent compared to 2010. The future is no brighter. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be some 21,880 new jobs for lawyers by 2020 but more than 45,000 graduates by then.
In light of this dismal outlook, legal education in Japan and the U.S. needs a major overhaul. Law schools can raise their standards to admit even far fewer students, and bar exams can be made much harder, significantly reducing the supply of lawyers.
Both countries are already experiencing this outcome, whether by design or by coincidence. Japan reported that 1,810 people passed the bar exam in 2014. This was down by more than 200 from the previous year. In the U.S. the pass rate for 2014 for most states was the lowest in a decade.
About 60 pct of teachers at public junior high schools in Japan worked at least 60 hours per week in fiscal 2016, beyond the dividing line used by the state for determining death from overwork, an education ministry survey revealed Friday. (Jiji)
The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by three former school teachers who claimed it was unreasonable they were banned from working part time after retirement because they had in the past refused to stand and sing the national anthem. (Japan Times)
Princess Kako, a granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, will study at the University of Leeds in Britain from September this year to June next year as an exchange student, the Imperial Household Agency said Monday. (Japan Today)
Japan again saw a record number of minors falling victim to crimes such as molestation through the use of social media last year, with many of those affected having had unrestricted Internet access, police data released Thursday showed. (Japan Today)
Japanese 15-year-olds may top their international peers in science and math, but when it comes to a sense of satisfaction with their lives, they rank near the bottom, according to a first-ever global assessment of student well-being released Wednesday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (Japan Times)
The man arrested over the death of a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl in Chiba Prefecture had been seen talking to the victim while he was on patrol duty near her school, investigative sources said Saturday. (Japan Times)