Nishimura Institute of Advanced Legal Studies

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About Us

On April 10, 2007, the Nishimura Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) was founded by Nishimura & Asahi to promote the integration of theory and practice in Japanese business law. It is our view that legal studies should be pragmatic as well as theoretical. Based on this fundamental vision, we will approach unresolved legal issues through the coordination of, and cooperation between, scholars and practitioners. We are actively encouraging experts in law, economics, finance and other fields to be deeply involved with our projects and events.

The primary mission of NIALS is to propose creative and promising solutions to various legal issues that are difficult to resolve within the existing dichotomy between legal theory and legal practice. Our proposals will have three distinctive features: they will be pragmatic, strategic and interdisciplinary. They should be pragmatic because it is our fundamental view that legal studies should help create fair and wealthy societies. We are afraid that proposals lacking in pragmatism would be nothing but empty rhetoric. Strategic - represents our desire that our proposals be actually adopted and relied on by corporate managers and policy-makers. All decision-making by leaders in business organizations or the government is strategic in its nature. Proposals lacking a clear strategy can offer only temporary measures for problems they are facing, and offer no ultimate solution. An interdisciplinary approach is required due to the complexity of contemporary business activities. It is beyond doubt that traditional academic legal studies alone are not an effective tool for analyzing and resolving the tremendous amount of legal issues arising from complex business activities such as mergers and acquisitions, structured financing and corporate restructuring. Our interdisciplinary approach would be a key to fully understanding a variety of business activities in modern society.

The Institute' s main activities include: (1) offering a wide range of seminars and conferences with a special focus on new and fascinating topics; (2) publishing books and discussion papers in both English and Japanese; and (3) accepting research projects funded by third parties. Through our activities, NIALS hopes to contribute to the development of legal theory and practice in Japan. The Institute' s activities are directed by Professor Seiichi Ochiai.

Nishimura Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Organization

Board of Governors
Decide the business and affairs of NIALS and supervise the activities of the Operating Committee.
Koichi KusanoHideki MatsushimaMasaru OnoTakashi Yoneda
(in alphabetical order)
Head
Nobuhiro Nakayama
Operating Committee
Plan and manage the activities of NIALS, as a subsidiary organization of the Board of Governors.
Nobuhiro NakayamaKozo KawaiYo OtaTakahiko DateMasaki NodaNaoya AriyoshiAtsushi MizushimaKojiro Fujii
Researchers
Visiting Senior Scholar Tamiyuki Tanaka

The Nishimura Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is the research division of Nishimura & Asahi.

Location
Otemon Tower, 1-1-2 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8124, Japan

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

1. Preamble

In modern society, law is the fundamental infrastructure which supports the social structure, and in order for socioeconomic activities in Japan to progress, it is also essential for legal practice to do so. NIALS was established on April 10th of this year with Nishimura & Asahi as the parent organization, on the basis of such fundamental recognition and aiming to contribute, however little, to the development of legal practice in Japan.

With respect to the activities of NIALS, we aim to promote theoretical and pragmatic research on legal practice from a strategic viewpoint, by developing progressive proposals, and conducting projects such as training, lectures, and publications to raise the level of legal practice through a more open method.

2. Background to the establishment of NIALS

I believe some of you may have questions as to why a law firm established a research institute. Therefore, I would like to introduce the background to the establishment of NIALS.

We have sought to improve the quality of our work and expand our operations by aiming to establish ourselves as a law firm with a high level of expertise and comprehensive capability in each of our business law-oriented practice areas. We have also focused on gathering legal practitioners, sharing knowledge and know-how, and creating a culture and structure which emphasizes teamwork.

Today, thanks to the support of many, we have been able to grow into one of the prominent law firms in Japan. As for Nishimura & Asahi, which will be born on July 1st as a result of the merger between Nishimura & Partners and Asahi Law Office, this will be the first full-fledged large-scale firm in Japan on par with our overseas counterparts, and we are anticipating further development and progress.

In addition to the day-to-day practice of the law, a lawyer is generally expected to do work for public benefit, namely pro bono. Typically, this is criminal defense work such as serving as court-appointed lawyers and duty lawyers, and legal consultation work, such as cases involving high levels of personal debt, which are assigned by the Bar Association. While our firm does encourage our lawyers to do pro bono work, they tend to be matters aimed at individuals, so they differ in nature from our daily work. As such, we have felt that pro bono work, which should be beneficial to society, should not necessarily be limited to such activities, and among the work that make full use of the specialties of a corporate law firm and its lawyers, we believe that there can be work that can be done for the public good.

In addition, as a Japanese law firm, we aspire to becoming a law firm in the new age, where we are not bound by the established image of a lawyer and law firm in Japan. In doing so, we wanted something that can be symbolic of this.

Many of the lawyers in our firm have until now proactively participated in public councils and seminars, and taken on roles such as lecturing at universities and law schools, published books about various issues that arise in legal practice, contributed articles to legal magazines, and conducted seminars. As opposed to merely assisting the daily work of lawyers, such activities allow us to make a contribution to society from the perspective of broadening the breadth of legal work.

With this in mind, I was given the chance to talk to Professor Seiichi Ochiai last year, and he expressed great sympathy with our ideas. The discussion evolved from there, and we came to the conclusion that it would not be appropriate to conduct such activities for the self-benefit of the law firm alone, but perhaps for the public good. In order to bring such ideas to light, we decided that the organization ought to exist separate to the activities of the law firm and make the fruits of such activities more open to society. In addition, with regard to this scheme, we have received encouragement and support from other academic scholars, whom we have invited as instructors today. To launch the NIALS, Professor Ochiai has very kindly accepted our request to take on the position of Managing Director.

3. Conclusion

NIALS was founded on the above ideals. Moving forward, in order to contribute to the sound development of legal practice in our country, we will proceed with preparing and drawing up innovative projects that combine academia with legal practice in the spirit that the Institute was founded, and expand the scope of the Institute’s activities.

We appreciate your attention and ask for your warm and continued support.

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