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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1367068
 
 

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Reforming Knowledge? A Socio-Legal Critique of the Legal Education Reforms in Japan


Annelise Riles


Cornell University - Law School

Takashi Uchida


affiliation not provided to SSRN

March 23, 2009

Drexel Law Review, Vol. 1, p. 3, 2009
Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-005

Abstract:     
This article critiques the current Japanese legal education reforms, modeled largely on the United States, by proposing a socio-technical framework for analyzing the distribution of legal expertise in a given society. On one side of the spectrum is the "monocentric" model of legal expertise, in which expertise is monopolized by the profession and legal literacy is low. On the other side of the spectrum is the "polycentric" model of legal expertise, in which a range of social and institutional actors share responsibility for legal expertise and legal literacy is high. If the U.S. is a more monocentric system, the Japanese system has historically been more polycentric. The article evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the two kinds of systems, focusing on the role of "legal knowledge workers" who are not professional lawyers in Japan. It concludes that although each system has strengths and weaknesses, a polycentric model of legal knowledge distribution is ultimately more economically efficient and better suited to the goals of a liberal democratic society than a monocentric model. For this reason, the rush to emulate the American system in current Japanese reforms is seriously flawed.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

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Date posted: March 26, 2009 ; Last revised: May 25, 2009

Suggested Citation

Riles, Annelise and Uchida, Takashi, Reforming Knowledge? A Socio-Legal Critique of the Legal Education Reforms in Japan (March 23, 2009). Drexel Law Review, Vol. 1, p. 3, 2009; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-005. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1367068

Contact Information

Annelise Riles (Contact Author)
Cornell University - Law School ( email )
524 College Ave
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
Takashi Uchida
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
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