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Studying at Keio Law School

Studying at Keio Law School


The vast majority of the curriculum at the Law School is offered in Japanese and will only be available to exchange students with demonstrated language proficiency capable of allowing them to read materials in Japanese and to participate actively in class.

Each semester, the Law School offers a relatively large number of law classes taught in English by regular and adjunct faculty members. Japanese students interested in studying law in English are permitted to register for these classes. This gives exchange students an opportunity to study together with Japanese law students. Keio Law School endeavors to integrate fully exchange students into the classroom and the Law School community. It should be noted, however, that most law courses taught in English are likely to have relatively small enrollments depending on the number of Japanese students registered.

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Academic Year


The Japanese academic year consists of two semesters. The first semester (Spring) begins in early April and finishes towards the end of July. The second semester (Fall) begins in late September and ends in early February, with a winter break running from late December through early January. The academic year-end holiday starts with the conclusion of final exams in February and runs through March until the beginning of the new academic year in early April. Since there are no classes in session during the academic year-end break, Keio University Law School cannot accept exchange students in the January to April time frame.

Keio Law School recognizes that many students will want to come to Keio University Law School as exchange students during the Fall semester and will desire to return home in time for the Spring semester beginning in January at their home institutions. For this reason, all of the English language courses are scheduled to end on or before the start of the winter break in late December. The curriculum is structured so that more law courses in English are offered during the Fall semester, although there are enough courses on offer as well in the Spring semester to allow exchange students to earn a full semester's worth of credit. The availability of courses and all scheduling matters should be confirmed in advance with the International Exchange Committee.

Students with a demonstrably high level of Japanese language ability (reading, writing and speaking) will be permitted to take one or more law courses in Japanese on a case-by-case basis. Many faculty members are willing to support international exchange students by providing some additional readings in English and by substituting a final written paper in lieu of having to remain in Japan in January and February in order to take regularly scheduled final exams. This must be arranged in advance with the International Exchange Committee. Absent an advance arrangement to the contrary, students taking law courses in Japanese will be required, in principle, to follow the schedule and to meet all requirements for those courses if they desire to receive credit.

The Academic Calendar for 2016 is inculded in: Course Guide for 2016PDF

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Most classes at the Law School are two credit courses, meeting once a week for 90 minutes over 15 class periods followed by a final examination. There are a limited number of one credit courses, meeting once a week for eight weeks.

Exchange students are responsible for verifying with their home institutions the total number of credits required for a semester abroad and the transferability of credits taken at the Law School.

Independent Study

Students are strongly urged to explore the possibility of doing an independent study project for credit at their home institutions. This will assist exchange students to obtain the total number of credits for a full semester required by their respective home institutions. It will also give exchange students an opportunity to work closely with professors at the Law School who can guide research on a daily basis, while the exchange students prepare research papers meeting the academic standards of their home institutions.

It may be possible to arrange credit for a research paper at Keio Law School. Please consult with the International Exchange Committee if you are interested in doing so.

Law Classes in English

The Law School offers a number of courses in English that are aimed at Japanese law students desiring to enter international practice. These courses are all suitable for international exchange students. The courses are comparative in nature and oriented towards developing the knowledge and skills required to be an effective international lawyer.

Following are the courses on offer in the upcoming academic year:

Keio Law School Academic Year 2016 Course offered in English

* All courses are 2 credits (unless noted) and meet for 90 minutes, once a week, over 15 weeks.

Spring Semester (April - July)
Legal English Seminar (Sutter+)***
Presenting Japanese Law (Monroe+)***
Introduction to American Law (McAlinn)
Comparative Constitutional Law (McAlinn and Litt)
Corporate Governance & Risk Management (McAlinn,Litt,Natori+)
Research Theme - Legal Debate (McAlinn)***

Fall Semester (September - January)
Drafting International Agreements (Sasaki+ and Ohara+)
Government Relations and Law (Litt)
Comparative Corporate Law (Litt)
Multinational Corporations & Law (McAlinn and Trehearne+)
Corporate Finance and Law (Collins+, Marcks+ and Pires+)
M&A and Strategic Alliances(Hansen+)
International Business Transactions (McAlinn,Litt,Johnson+)
International IP Licensing Agreements (Beraha+ and Hayakawa+)
International Commercial Arbitration (McAlinn, Bree+ and Ohara+)
Japan-US Comparative Contract Law (Kanayama, Saegusa+ and Fujiyama+)
Seminar Theme - Japanese Law in English (McAlinn)
Research Theme - Negotiations (McAlinn)*,Current Legal Issues (Litt,Yamamoto,Rokusha,Watai and more)

*This course is taught primarily in Japanese but the professors will support non-Japanese speakers.
**These courses will be taught by adjunct professors who have yet to be confirmed.
***This course and the Research Theme - Negotiations in the Fall are one credit courses meeting eight times each.
+An adjunct professor.

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Law Courses in Japanese

As indicated earlier, exchange students may be permitted, on a case-by-case basis, to take one or more law courses in Japanese. Please note that students with only intermediate Japanese ability will not be authorized to take these courses. Finally, students will not be permitted to take courses listed as required courses absent exceptional circumstances and should only choose courses from the list of elective courses.

Japanese Language Studies

The Center for Japanese Studies of Keio University operates a highly acclaimed Japanese language program. The Center is part of the university but is not part of the Law School.

International exchange students coming from partner schools are permitted to take up to 4 Subjects in Japanese language courses.

Students interested in taking Japanese language courses at Keio University must take a separate placement examination given on specified dates twice a year. These dates are firm and no make-up tests will be given. Students missing the scheduled placement test will not be permitted to enroll in Japanese language courses.

For more information about the Center for Japanese Studies please see

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