The professional in legal education: Foreign perspectives

Japan is about to change its system of legal education. In April 2004 Japan will introduce law schools. Law schools are to occupy an intermediary place between the present undergraduate faculties of law and the national Legal Training and Research Institute. The law faculties are to continue to offer general undergraduate education in law, while the law schools in combination with the national Institute are to provide professional legal education. A principal goal of the change is to produce more lawyers. Law schools are charged with providing "practical education especially for fostering legal professionals." But just what is professional legal education? And how and where is it to be accomplished? There are recurring issues of legal education around the world. This article focuses on what professional education is and how it is conveyed in Germany and the United States. It puts in comparative perspective some of the choices that Japan is facing in deciding what to include in professional education and where to provide it. The article sets out the issue in general terms and then seriatum the German and American approaches.
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