MBA welcomes guests from Tokyo Bar Association

Issue October 2007 By Tricia M. Oliver and Jennifer Rosinski

A nine-member delegation of the Tokyo Bar Association took back home with them lessons about the Massachusetts Bar Association’s CLE programming after a visit at the end of August.

MBA CLE Manager Elizabeth Varney outlined the CLE Department and explained what it offers to MBA members and others in the Massachusetts legal community during the Aug. 31 gathering at 20 West St., Boston.

“We don’t often have the opportunity to sit with our peers from around the globe,” said immediate Past President Mark D Mason as he welcomed the group to the MBA’s Boston headquarters. Vice-President Denise Squillante, Treasurer Valerie A. Yarashus, Executive Director Marilyn J. Wellington and other MBA staff also attended.

After Varney’s presentation, the Tokyo delegation members shared their concerns about the Japanese legal community. They explained that 10 years ago, only about 15,000 attorneys practiced in Japan. Now that the bar exam is more lenient and the passing rate has increased from three to 15 percent, the total number of practicing attorneys will soon reach 30,000.

“We are concerned, because with more people passing the exam, the quality of attorneys may go down,” said Toshiko Terada, translator for and member of the Tokyo Bar Association. She said the group wants to begin offering programs to help deal with the situation.

The visit was planned following original correspondence between Tokyo Bar Association representative Tojiro Ishii and Mason a few months ago. The afternoon meeting included a hearty New England-themed lunch and ended with both parties exchanging presents.

The Tokyo Bar Association is thankful the MBA took time to meet and share its programming, Terada said. “We hope that we can be of help to you, too, in the future,” she said.