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Report on the on-site class (Ochanomizu University Senior High School)

- Nishimura & Asahi's legal education project

Opportunities and preparations for conducting on-site classes

At the proposal of the legal education team of Nishimura & Asahi, we approached several high schools with graduates in our firm and made it happen. The civics subject "public" will be offered as a compulsory class at Ochanomizu University Senior High School ("Ochanomizu High School") from the 2023 academic year, and we spent more than a year consulting with Mr. Yuki Iijima, a civics teacher, to prepare for a collaborative legal education for all second-year students. Mr. Iijima visited Nishimura & Asahi's Tokyo office to deepen his understanding of the corporate law firm. Ochanomizu High School is designated as a Super Science High School (SSH) by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Japan, and many students are very interested in science and mathematics. Taking into account the students’ interests, we planned a custom-made class to make it easy for students who want to pursue any career path to become interested in science and mathematics.

Outline of on-site class

The plenary session was a legal education class for all second-year students using two periods of the civics class. In the first part, we explained the basics of what comprises law and the legal profession, and introduced what type of work comprises corporate legal affairs. In the second part, four lawyers discussed how they became lawyers, their current jobs, and how they harmonize their work and life to work in their own way. There was also a lively Q&A session on a wide range of topics: such as "How do companies assign a corporate law firm?" and "What is the difference between the legislative system of other countries and that of Japan?"
After the class, we had a roundtable discussion. We changed the location to a classroom in the high school, where we met in a small group for students who wanted to have individual conversations with lawyers. Each of the four lawyers was in charge of one table, and the students moved from table to table in turn to talk to all the lawyers. The students were very enthusiastic about asking us various questions about law, the study of law, the work of lawyers, career choices, etc., and we tried to respond carefully to each question.

Feedback from the civics teacher and students

After the class, we received the following feedback from the students of Ochanomizu High School:
  • "I thought that lawyers only work in court; but in reality, they work as legal specialists, using the law to prevent disputes and protect people and things. In the future, I thought it would be important to pay attention to the nature and the purpose of the work in order to think about my career and to have a deep understanding of the work.";
  • "When I heard that there was a chance to enter law school and enter the legal profession after going to the faculty of science instead of the faculty of law, I wanted to consider it as one of my future options.";
  • "I was reassured that although I had endless worries about my career path, I would be fine if I followed my own aspirations.";
  • "I was reminded once again that the law is based on people and society, and that the law is above all power; and I realized the appeal of learning the law.";and
  • "I thought it was wonderful that even in a workplace where there are few women, consideration is given to childcare, and that the work environment is wonderful so that people can do their jobs properly while raising children."

We also received feedback from Mr. Iijima, who was in charge of the project as follows:
"It was a great opportunity for us to learn about law and the legal profession by listening to lawyers who are involved in practical work. I think it was a good stimulus for us as a role model to have our graduates speak with us. Later, Nishimura & Asahi accepted students who wanted to visit their offices, and I am grateful for their continued cooperation."


Comments from Nishimura & Asahi lawyers who spoke during the class

Marie Tanaka
Graduated from Ochanomizu High School and the University of Tokyo, Law School

It seems that about half of the students at Ochanomizu High School choose to go on to become science majors; but even if they do go on to become science majors, I wanted them to know that law is involved in their daily lives, research, and work; moreover, I wanted them to be interested in law and the legal profession, even if only a little, and I wanted to convey to high school students that there is a wide range of possibilities and options for the future. Many students were surprised to learn that the ratio of women in law schools and the legal profession is still low, so I hope that this initiative will help promote diversity.
Marie Tanaka
Yoko Kasai
Graduated from Nanzan Girls’ Senior High School and the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

The percentage of women practicing law in Japan is still low—about 20% of the total; but in particular, the percentage of women in the Japanese STEM field remains the lowest among OECD member states, and growth has been sluggish. In this on-site class, I would like to help students, who are particularly interested in the STEM field, to know with as concrete an image as possible that even though they are lumped together as "science majors," their future occupations and careers will be diverse. I would like to support them to move on to their desired fields without being bound by preconceived notions. I would be happy if this was an opportunity for students who wish to study law or the legal profession to deepen their interest and understanding of the work of lawyers by experiencing the fun of working on a project that crosses national borders and spans multiple jurisdictions, where new technology and law intersect.

Toward Diversity in Legal Education

While many students envisage that they need to go to law school to become a legal professional, and that most of the work of lawyers is done in court, our class was a good opportunity for them to learn that there are various paths to becoming a legal professional, and that lawyers are involved in a wide range of fields. I hope this will be an opportunity for students to think about their future options.
(front row, from right)
Ochanomizu High School Mr. Iijima, N&A Nemoto,
Tanaka, Soga, and Kasai


Mikiko SOGA

  • Partner
  • Tokyo

Mikiko has extensive expertise in project finance for various power projects and other infrastructure projects, including PPP/PFI projects. She has advised on award-winning projects, including the Tokyo International (Haneda) Airport expansion project, awarded “Asia Pacific Airports” at IJGlobal 2017, and the Osaka and New Kansai International Airports privatization project, awarded “Asia Pacific Airports” at IJGlobal 2016. Mikiko also has advised on numerous renewable energy projects in Japan since the early 2000s, and has served as an expert member of several government committees established by the Japanese Government’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Ministry of the Environment, and Agency for Natural Resources with respect to the electricity market in Japan. Mikiko was commended as an “Innovative Practitioner” at the FT Innovative Lawyers Asia-Pacific Awards 2022 for her sustainability efforts, including in relation to diversity & inclusion, pro bono, and renewable energy.

Takeshi has handled many complex M&A transactions and provides sincere advice to his clients. He has extensive experience in M&A-related disputes, and is well versed in the various issues facing companies with founding family shareholders. In recent years, he has been involved in many cases involving business and human rights, impact investing, and advises companies from the perspective of sustainability. He is also actively involved in pro bono work and is one of the most experienced in Japan.


  • Partner
  • Tokyo

Yoko’s practice focuses on representation of life sciences and technology companies that develop and market pharmaceuticals, biologics, vaccines, diagnostics, medical devices, and digital health products. She specializes in corporate transactions involving complex intellectual property and pharmaceutical regulatory issues, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances and asset transfers. In addition, she counsels clients on matters involving research and development collaborations, clinical trials, technology licensing, supply and distribution agreements, and co-promotion arrangements. She also advises clients in connection with privacy and personal data protection matters.


  • Counsel
  • Tokyo

She mainly practices in insolvency and restructuring, as well as M&A and a wide range of general corporate matters. She has extensive experience in both cross-border (especially, the United States, Europe and Asia) and domestic cases. She has had a distinguished career advising a variety of clients such as debtors, creditors, sponsors, parent companies, and subsidiaries with regard to complex cross-border M&A cases and restructuring cases (including cases where Japanese companies were involved in US Chapter 11 cases). Even in complex or unprecedented cases, she has sought to achieve client objectives by establishing a creative structure or coordinating complex interests between parties. She has also advised clients concerning company dissolutions or liquidations, and dissolving cross-border JV businesses.