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Only 48 Percent of Japanese Law School Graduates Pass Bar Exam

Only 48 Percent of Japanese Law School Graduates Pass Bar Exam

Posted July. 05, 2007 03:06,   


Japan, which introduced its current law school system four years ago, is having a rough time due to an excessive number of law schools.

The Japanese government initially expected 70 to 80 percent of law school graduates to pass the bar exam with the help of practice-based education from law schools. However, less than half of the law schools in Japan have produced ten graduates who went on to pass the bar exam.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Justice, among the 4,607 law school graduates who took the short-answer questions of the newly introduced bar examination in May, 3,479 passed the exam. Meanwhile, 1,800 to 2,200 of them have passed the final round of the test which includes an essay test; in other words, only 39 to 47 percent of all law school graduates passed the bar exam. The pass rate is even lower than that of last year’s 1st new bar exam, where 48 percent, or 1,009 out of the total 2,091 graduates tested, passed the exam.

Such a low pass rate is likely to cause a serious unemployment problem among highly educated people since a large proportion of law schools are mature age students with prior work experience.

The pass rate of each law school clearly illustrates how serious the problem is.

Four law schools have had no passes among their law graduates and only one of the graduates from each of another seven law schools has passed the exam.

The bar-exam pass rate is expected to be lower this year as graduates from 68 law schools, up from the 58 law schools last year, are expected to take the bar exam. Hence, the deviation among law schools is expected to worsen.

Experts point out that Korea may follow in the footsteps of Japan as the two countries have similar education and training systems for legal professionals. In both countries, law studies are not subdivided into specialized areas and there is a serious shortage of lecturers with extensive hands-on experience. Experts says that in order for Korea to preserve the original meaning of introducing the law school system, it must introduce an objective evaluation that will screen incompetent universities with lack of ability to produce legal professions with proficient hands-on experience.

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