The Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Association has established the Shibuya Legal Counseling Center to provide easy consultation services to citizens who are confronted with various legal issues, and additionally operates the following legal counseling centers in Tokyo in cooperation with the Tokyo Bar Association and the Daini Tokyo Bar Association. Each of the legal counseling centers deploys expert lawyers who can provide pointed advice to consulters concerning home problems, problems relating to consumer credit and loans, consumer affairs, labor disputes, foreigner-specific problems and medical malpractice as well as general legal consultation.
Our Association has also established a variety of centers offering various legal services in response to the diverse needs of the general public. These centers include:
The Shibuya Civic Law Office is a municipal public office established for the purpose of improving legal services for the general public. The aim of this law office is to take on and resolve issues that are difficult for a general law office to handle. These include matters which (i) are faced by financially-challenged clients, (ii) involve small sums for which a consultation with a lawyer would be difficult for financial reasons, (iii) concern public welfare issues, and (iv) require highly-specialized expertise. The Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Association has offered support and cooperation in the form of manpower and resources for the establishment and operation of this law office.
In order to ensure that the general public has better access to legal services provided by lawyers, the Japan Judiciary Support Center was established in April 2006 through financial contributions from the government. Our Association has offered active support and cooperation with respect to the planning, establishment and operation of the Japan Judiciary Support Center, in the hope that legal services will become available to every facet of society.
1) Provision of Information: Experts receive enquiries from the general public, and depending on the matter in question, provide introductions to the most appropriate consulting agencies and organizations (bar associations, judicial scrivener associations, local public entities and other counseling contacts), as well as provide objective information with respect to the legal system.
2) Legal Aid (for matters of civil law): Funds are advanced to financially-challenged members of the general public to pay for legal fees required for their court cases.
3) Countermeasures to deal with shortage of lawyers: Lawyers on staff provide legal services in areas where it is difficult to obtain legal advice due to a scarcity of lawyers or for other reasons.
4) Support for victims of crime: Introduction of lawyers and specialist agencies who are familiar with victims' support issues.
5) Services in connection with court-appointed lawyers: Maintenance of a comprehensive criminal justice system during stages when a person is a suspect or an accused, and support for the implementation of speedy trials and the lay judge system..
Based on an awareness/understanding that "lawyers are the guardians of human rights and strive for social justice" (Article 7 of our Association By-laws), the Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Association issues resolutions and announcements from our Chairman as required, with respect to the protection of basic human rights, social justice, matters of significant impact on public welfare and matters related to improvements and advances in the judicial system. The Association is also actively engaged as an advocate, not only for legislative, governmental and judicial organizations, but also for society as a whole. For details, please refer to the Association's website .
The Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Association puts most of its efforts into education about the law by providing on-site lessons at elementary, junior high and high schools as well as offering junior law school courses to public participants. We carry out these activities with the aim of helping people not only gather knowledge about the law but also understand the underlying principles and values such as freedom, equality and justice and have the capability to put such knowledge and understanding into practical use through a wide array of experience-based programs, including mock trials on civil and criminal affairs and rule-making for resolving social problems.
Individuals who pass the National Bar Examination undergo legal training at the Legal Research and Training Institute established by the Supreme Court of Japan. The Dai-Ichi Bar Association has turned out a number of instructors who provide collective training of civil and criminal defense at the Legal Research and Training Institute, and actively cooperates in practical training of defense lawyers conducted as part of practical training.
So far, this legal training system has been the core of nurturing the legal profession in Japan. However, in connection with legal system reform, and as law schools were established in 2004, the period of legal training intended for law school graduates was shortened, and law schools were ranked as the core of the nurturing system of the legal profession.
In this legal profession nurturing system with a focus on law schools, the Association also supports the training and education of the legal profession in law schools, for example, buildup of a partnership with the law school of Komazawa University.
The Association not only dispatches its members to the law school of Komazawa University as a business-type teacher, but also offers externship opportunities to students of the law school to allow them to experience legal practice at a law office of its members and provides education institutions where students can make direct contact with a job site for legal practice, such as the Shibuya Civic Law Office which allows students to participate in actual legal counseling as a legal clinic.
With the legal profession nurturing system with a focus on law schools having been in existence for ten years since its startup, the Association carries out its activities required to realize improvement plans in light of the actual situation of the present legal profession nurturing system, including enrichment of education programs, reduction in a fixed number at law schools and financial assistance system for legal apprenticeships for whom the scholarship system was abolished.
Our Association has established a legal services development committee in order to respond to a variety of issues related to legal services. This committee is comprised of sectional committees dealing with topics such as taxation, computers, business promotion and expansion. Bengoshi carry out research and investigations with respect to the issues and challenges directly related to the legal services in their respective fields. Furthermore, each sectional committee holds workshops, publishes booklets on many themes and disseminates the results of its research and investigations to all members, thus ultimately improving and promoting the legal services of our members.
With respect to malicious harassment and other offences against members and/or their law offices, the legal services obstruction countermeasures committee intensively investigates such countermeasures and supports members who have actually experienced obstruction of their legal services.
Legal system reform has brought about a sharp increase in the number of registered members of new lawyers, which has led to a more tenuous horizontal relationship among young members than previously.
The Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Association established a Young Members Committee consisting of members with less than ten years of experience after registration as lawyers. The Committee carries out various kinds of activities for young members, including planning of networking events for promotion of networking among young members and training courses for improvement in skills as lawyers, implementation of questionnaires to grasp actual situations of young members, support for operations of a "grouping system" to provide training to all young members by group, visits to domestic and overseas bar associations, and planning of fifth anniversary events after completion of the training course. This is a committee by young lawyers and for young lawyers, and also sets itself the task of reflecting the viewpoints of young members in the operation of the Association.
Along with social and economic development, new laws and legal systems continue to develop, and we are also witnessing tremendous progress in education and technology in fields outside of the law as well.
The Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Association disseminates research results compiled by various committees to its members, not only with respect to newly established/revised laws and new developments in the judicial system, but also with respect to expert knowledge required in relation to legal business. We also regularly hold various workshops and seminars to which special outside lecturers are invited.
The Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Association has established its own library and provides its members with reading, copying and lending services. As of December 2015, the library collection boasts a total of approximately 58,000 materials. The books, newspapers and magazines collected there cover not only legal topics, but also medical, architectural and other areas, thereby supporting investigations and research by members in the course of providing legal services. Furthermore, a user friendly system has been established which allows for searches of the Association's collection over the Internet, and enjoys popularity among users.