Friday, February 29, 2008

Japanese Jury System and Law School Curriculum Dependant on U.S. Experience

With changing legal landscape, Japan turns to Colorado-based NITA

Boulder, Colorado (PRWEB) February 29, 2008 -- Japan is about to embark on a major transformation in the way justice is arrived at in the courtroom by allowing juries to assist in deciding cases. To accommodate this drastic shift the PSIM Consortium--a panel of Japanese law school professors, deans, and representatives from twenty-three Japanese law schools--sought a relationship with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) to help develop and implement an effective law school curriculum that focuses on effective courtroom advocacy.

News Image

On February 9, representatives from NITA and The PSIM Consortium signed the Academic Exchange and Cooperation agreement in Nagoya, Japan. The goal of the agreement is for NITA to provide training to law school professors and translated NITA publications that will help develop a law school skills training curriculum focused on oral advocacy, presentation skills, case strategy, and management. Most importantly it will focus on an overall intellectual approach in trial advocacy and alternative dispute resolution.

The new Japanese jury system called "saiban-in" will mimic those systems in the west by making the advocacy role of the attorney critical. Oral arguments will be required as opposed to written arguments, which are done today. Additionally, a graduate-level law school education is now required when just six years ago there were only undergraduate law schools.

"The role of standard [Japanese legal education in enhancing practical skills is considered from multidimensional perspectives," said Ikuo Sugawara, PSIM Consortium Representative and Law Professor at Nagoya University. "We are planning to apply advanced training methodologies for educators and this includes active exchanges with NITA."

With the birth of law schools and a revised approach to the National Bar Exam, Japan will benefit from its NITA relationships because of the experience and support the 37-year-old organization has to offer.

"The Japanese lawyers, judges and law school faculty are concerned that their law training is too theoretical, and not practical enough," said Terre Rushton, NITA liaison for the PSIM Consortium. "They can produce brilliant students who literally do not know how to begin to try a case. This is why NITA started. They can learn from us and our experiences."   

In addition to NITA's work with the PSIM Consortium, trainings and communications are underway with the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations and the Japan Law Foundation as well. Law students and practicing attorneys will both benefit from the NITA learning-by-doing methods.

"Over the last 20 years, since our venture in South Africa began, our teaching method has been utilized in programs for lawyers throughout the world," said Laurence M. Rose, NITA's President/CEO. "We are frequently asked for the use of our materials, and the loan of our teachers, in countries from Azerbaijan to Zambia. The PSIM Consortium relationship extends that cooperation to teach law students in Japan, which will lead to better-qualified Japanese bar admittees and an increased knowledge of advocacy skills in presentations to the new Japanese saiban-in jury system."

About NITA
The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) is the nation's leading provider of legal advocacy skills training. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Louisville, Colorado, NITA pioneered the legal skills learning-by-doing methodology over thirty-five years ago and has since remained the ultimate standard in continuing legal education. With an average student/faculty ratio of 4:1 and an all-volunteer faculty drawn from a cadre of judges, law professors, and practicing attorneys, NITA's multi-day "boot camps" deliver unparalleled professional development for nearly 6,000 attorneys each year. As a public service organization, NITA provides, at little or no cost, the same high-caliber training we provide to the nation's largest firms to legal service attorneys, public defenders, and attorneys who have chosen to work in child advocacy, tribal law, death penalty defense, immigration, domestic violence, and other vital areas of public interest. NITA is also the nation's third largest publisher of legal publications. NITA's references, texts, case files, and audio-visual materials are used by thousands of attorneys and are incorporated into the curriculum at over 85 percent of the nation's law schools. For more information, visit

Source: PRWeb: Legal / Law

See Also

No comments: