A report on Higashimachi’s activities in 2009
My name is Yoshihiro Uetani, and I am the Chief Partner at Higashimachi Law Office.
I would like to take the opportunity of the launch of the English and Chinese versions of our website to report on the activities of Higashimachi Law Office over the past year.
In February 2009, in response to the need to boost our efficiency and to strengthen our information management system, we extended the size of our office by 50 percent. The attorneys’ offices are now concentrated on the 9th floor, and our consultation and meeting rooms are located on the 10th floor. In addition, we set up a dedicated “Bankruptcy Law Division” within the office, in order to better handle large-scale bankruptcy cases and related legal consulting.
Our office has long focused on training with the aim of improving the abilities of our firm’s attorneys. Last year, we accelerated this further and actively participated in external training in a variety of fields organized by various organizations in Tokyo and elsewhere. We also worked to share knowledge among our team by mandating that attorneys who attend such training conduct feedback lectures to the other lawyers in our office. In addition, we have invited university professors and other experts to hold study sessions at our office in areas such as trust law, company law, and the amended Civil Code. At an early morning study session held once a month, we explain the knowledge gained in the process of dealing with cases to our colleagues and discuss how to resolve any doubts we face in ongoing cases. We also hold a study session on new cases and other topics at a case meeting held once a week.
Furthermore, in order to be able to better respond to the need for internationalization, Takashi Maruta has been conducting research at Columbia Law School in New York while also working at a local law firm, and will remain there until March. I visited various New York law offices in July to discuss future cooperative relations, and Takashi did the same in September. Then, in December, Takahisa Fukumoto and I visited the Cast-Higashimachi Legal Continuity Course of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Law, a program that is funded by our office and the law firm Cast, and had a discussion session with the professor in charge of the course at the university.
We are also working to improve the abilities of our secretarial staff by holding monthly training sessions conducted by lawyers, and some passed the examination based on the JFBA’s clerical staff certification system.
In order to disseminate information to our clients, we have continued to hold the “Higashimachi Law Office Practice Seminar”, and since renewing our website we have updated our columns and topics once every 10 days. We also established a Quality Control Department in May to conduct questionnaires regarding case handling, and to follow-up on inquiries and requests. The Higashimachi Law Office Golf Competition was held twice last year at the Hirano Golf Club and the Higashi Hirano Golf Club, and the golf competition has now been held a total of 29 times.
This year, lawyer Tomoko Hayashi has joined our office, and we start the year with 16 lawyers. The world is in a state of confusion and the future is unpredictable, but I have a feeling that we will be able to hear the movements of a new era. Against this backdrop, we will continue to work to increase our administrative capacity to meet the changing needs of the times, and we will continue to strive to be a comprehensive law firm in Kobe that can respond appropriately and promptly to the increasingly sophisticated and diverse legal needs of our clients.
I would like to close my remarks at the beginning of this year by hoping for your continued growth and happiness.
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