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Background to the establishment of the Nishimura Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

About Us

Laws are fundamental infrastructure that support social structures, and developments in legal practice are essential for socio-economic growth.  NIALS was established on April 10, 2007, headed by Professor Seiichi Ochiai (Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo and Professor of Chuo University's School of Law), and with Nishimura & Asahi as its parent organization, to pursue the goal of contributing to the development of legal practice in Japan.

As part of its activities, NIALS promotes a practical approach to theoretical and empirical research on legal practice, and makes cutting-edge recommendations based on these principles. NIALS also conducts training, lectures and publishing, to contribute to the improvement of the general standard of legal practice. Within the framework of traditional legal practice, NIALS conducts innovative research on issues, both fundamental and applied, that are notoriously difficult to tackle, and applies the results to real-life practice.

Background to the establishment

Generally, in addition to their ordinary duties, lawyers in Japan are expected to take on work for the benefit of the public; namely, pro bono work. Typically, this work is apportioned through the Bar Association and is either criminal defense work, such as serving as court-appointed lawyers or duty lawyers; or legal consultation work, such as dealing with cases involving large amounts of personal debt. Such pro bono work tends to be targeted towards the benefit of needy individuals. However, we believed that such services should also be carried out in a manner that is more widely available to the public. In order to bring this idea to fruition, we decided that an organization separate from the general activities of our firm should exist, and thus we established NIALS.

With the aim of contributing to the sound development of legal practice in our country - the founding philosophy of NIALS - we will organize innovative projects that combine academia with legal practice, and we will continue to develop our activities.

― (An excerpt from the opening remarks by Mr. Akira Kosugi (the then-Managing Partner of Nishimura & Partners (now Nishimura & Asahi)) at the establishment of the Nishimura Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) (May 31st, 2007))