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The dearth of Japanese participants in the GC Metrics benchmark survey may diminish

During the four years that I have run the General Counsel Metrics benchmark survey, only four companies headquartered in Japan have participated.  On the other side of the Pacific, 19 subsidiaries of Japanese companies, all based in the United States, have taken part.


Now I may know why companies in Japan have rarely submitted benchmark data to the GC Metrics study.  According to the Asian Lawyer, January 2013 at 10, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations counted 707 bengoshi working in corporate law departments.  Bengoshi are the elite, Japanese-qualified lawyers.  That modest number jumped significantly from 64 in 2001: a tenfold increase in ten years. However, they still make up only two percent of the 32,000 bengoshi currently qualified to practice.


Even so, there is a Japan In-house lawyers Association, whose president is Yasushi Murofushi, the general counsel of Credit Suisse Securities (Japan).  There is also the 1,000 member Association of Corporate Legal Departments, headed by Tadaaki Sugiyama, general counsel of Kao Corporation.  Quite obviously, many non-bengoshi fill the ranks of Japanese legal departments.


According to the article, one driver increasing the number of in-house Japanese lawyers is that there are simply many more bengoshi available to be hired.  And, they are less expensive, because the median in-house starting salary is about half of what newly qualified bengoshi earn at a big-name Japanese law firm.


Take the GC Metrics 2013 benchmark survey, all you readers from the law departments of Japanese companies!  Here is the UR: There is no cost to complete the quick, confidential survey and get the five Releases.  Aside from some demographic questions like name, email and industry, the survey asks for six 2012 figures: number of lawyers, paralegals, and other staff; inside and external legal spend; and revenue.

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