Keio University Law School, established in 2004 with the founding principles of "internationalism, multidisciplinarism and pioneerism", has come to occupy a position as one of Japan's top law schools. We have established a strong track record of "internationalism", with many non-Japanese adjunct and full-time research faculty members, and a curriculum that includes more than 15 courses conducted in English, generally with a focus on business law. In addition, the Law School accepts at least 10 exchange students each year from partner law schools in America, Asia and Europe.
The faculty of the Law School consists of approximately 60 full-time professors and around 130 adjunct professors. The faculty is drawn from among the leading academics, judges, prosecutors, and private practitioners in Japan.
The Law School admits approximately 230 students to each entering class. Students are admitted to either a two-year (kishu) or a three-year (mishu) program leading in both cases to a Juris Doctor degree. Under the new bar examination system beginning from 2006, Keio Law School has consistently placed in the top tier of law schools nationwide measured by total number of passing students and bar passage rate.
As the Law School approaches its 12th anniversary, we want to undertake further training of legal professionals who can be active in many international fields. From April 2017, we are planning to add a new Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Global Legal Practice program, in addition to the Law School's current Juris Doctor (JD) program for prospective Japanese legal professionals. The new LL.M. program would permit a student to obtain a Master of Laws degree in one year, taking instruction in English, and would be the first program of its kind at a Japanese law school.
Internationalism, multidisciplinarism and pioneerism
The three principles at the core of Keio University Law School
Rapid globalization has globalized legal disputes and crime, and internationalized the work of legal professionals. In today's society, not only lawyers practicing in international business law but legal experts of all kinds need to be international in outlook. Keio University Law School aims to meet this need by offering a rich range of optional courses teaching the basics of law in the United States, Europe and Asia, and American law in particular is taught primarily by full-time international instructors with legal and educational experience in Japan. Based on a hands-on study of international business law, students are trained in the ability to solve legal issues that span national borders from an international perspective.
With today's society changing at dizzying speed, new legal problems are arising all the time, and legal professionals must be able to keep pace with and deal with these problems as they arise. They must therefore be armed with the critical legal thinking skills to produce innovative solutions untrammeled by conventional wisdom, and this is where interdisciplinarity comes in. With its 10 undergraduate faculties and 14 graduate schools and 155-year history as a leader in the field of liberal arts education in Japan, Keio University is just the place for students to develop a balanced historical sense in an environment that provides ample opportunity for the study of neighboring subjects and experience of international exchange.
The four fields increasingly in demand on the business frontline are corporate law, financial law, international business law and intellectual property law. Keio Law School's curriculum is designed assuming that most graduates will go on to play central roles as legal practitioners in these fields. A rich choice of related optional courses centering on a core of four workshop programs is therefore provided. Taught by instructors who are themselves active as practitioners in these fields, students are given the opportunity to develop a comprehensive understanding of the functions of law in these fields through hands-on experience of legal practice, enabling them to acquire academic knowledge and skills that can be applied in the real world. This is of course not the only pioneering element of Keio Law School's curriculum, which also consists of advanced courses on subjects such as administrative law, tax law, criminal law, labor law, social security law, environmental law and medical law.
Wide range of optional courses taught in small seminars to strengthen legal knowledge and develop practical skills
[Standard Year 1]
The Standard Year 1 curriculum for non-law graduates provides an intensive basic education in basic law. Students are divided into classes of around 40, and equipped with active and creative legal thinking skills through an interactive, lecture-based approach.
[Standard Year 2]
The Standard Year 2 curriculum, which is taken by both law and non-law graduates, is designed to strengthen students' basic academic knowledge and applied legal thinking skills through a core of "advanced" courses in basic law. For the "advanced" courses, students are divided into classes of around 40, and taught using the seminar approach. The study of basic courses in law practice also begins. Through the four workshop programs and rich choice of other optional courses, students experience an advanced interdisciplinary education that a legal professional needs to develop a broad, international outlook. These optional courses are taught much more intensively and in smaller groups than the required courses, as the ratio of students to courses would indicate.
[Standard Year 3]
Standard Year 3 consists of "advanced" courses that knit together public, civil and criminal law and add the finishing touches to students' education at Keio University Law School. Through repeated synthesis and analysis, the student develops his or her critical legal thinking skills and academic knowledge of each of the fields of law. In addition, the basic courses in law practice include practical seminars that follow the course of litigation procedures (including moot courts) so as to provide hands-on training in the roles of the various types of legal professional involved and equip students with a basic grounding in legal practice. Following on from the second year, students are also equipped with a greater specialist knowledge tailored to their own individual needs through their choice from the wide range of optional courses on offer.