I am Ichiro Fujimoto, attorney at law @ Yodoyabashi & Yamagami LPC (see below), admitted in Japan and in New York. I made the list below that shows Japanese Top 50 law firms, as of April 2, 2007, based on the data in the Japan federal Bar Association.
Classified by "NUMBER" of lawyers
The list below is ranked only by the number of Bengoshi in a law firm. This is partly because there is no official organization that knows the income, reputation, or salary of a law firm.
Bengoshi v. Gaikokuhou Jimu Bengoshi??
"Bengoshi" have passed the Japanese bar exam. They can handle all the legal field in Japan.
The registration of "Gaikoku Hou Jim Bengoshi" ("GJB") needs practice as attorney in a foreign country at least for two years. The number does not include foregin lawyers who do not register as GJB.
GJB can handle all the legal cases that have substantial connection with their admitted area's laws. For example, GJB that are admitted in New York state can answer their clients' questions regarding New York State laws or US federal laws. However, GJB admitted in New York state but not (JP) Bengoshi cannot represent a lawsuit in Japanese courts.
In order to understand this difference between Bengoshi and GJB, you can refer the difference between Attorney and Foreign Legal Consultant in California. Japanese system is in a sense similar to the California system.
What is "class 58"?
This is the class of The Legal Training and Research Institute of the Supreme Court of Japan. All "Bengoshi" have to finish this training. Class 59s complete the training in October 2006. Class 58s complete the training in October 2005.
What is "LPC"?
LPC is the abbreviation for "Legal Professional Corporation."
Under Japanese laws, all the directors of LPC must be attorneys and LPC is the only entity (other than General Partnership) that can hire attorneys. Unlike United States or Europe, attorneys cannot become the partner of "LLP" (Limited Liability Partnership), and LLP cannot hire attorenys. So, foreign law firms must notice such a Japanese legal structure. (If a foregin law firm ignores the JP reguration, the partners out of Japan might owe unexpected duty in person when a legal malpractice happens in Japan.)
|Law Firm Name||Place of Office(s) in Japan||Number of BENGOSHI (Japanese attorenys)||GJB||Class 59||Class 58||Class 57||Note|
|1||1||1||1||Nagashima, Ohno & Tsunematsu||Tokyo||255||4||30||23||22|| |
|2||3||3||3||Nishimura & Partners||Tokyo||236||1||29||27||21|| |
|3||2||2||2||Mori Hamada & Matsumoto||Tokyo||221||1||20||16||18|| |
|4||4||4||4||Anderson Mori & Tomotsune||Tokyo||206||1||21||19||22|| |
|5||6||6||7||TMI Associates||Tokyo||131||1||12||10||19|| |
|6||5||5||5||Asahi Law Offices||Tokyo||120||1||8||9||7||*1|
|7||7||7||10||City-Yuwa Partners||Tokyo||87||0||10||6||6|| |
|8||8||9||8||Baker & McKenzie GJBJ Tokyo Aoyama Aoki Koma Law Office||Tokyo||80||12||7||4||6||*2|
|9||8||8||9||Oh-ebashi LPC & Partners||Tokyo, Osaka||77||3||7||7||4|| |
|10||10||11||18||Atsumi & Partners||Tokyo||49||2||7||8||5|| |
|11||13||14||12||Iwata Godo||Tokyo||41||1||2||2||3|| |
|11||11||10||11||Ushijima & Partners||Tokyo||41||0||3||4||6|| |
|11||11||12||12||Midosuji Legal Professional Corporation||Tokyo, Osaka||41||0||3||4||3|| |
|14||14||13||16||Yodoyabashi & Yamagami Legal Professional Corporation||Tokyo, Osaka||40||0||4||4||3|| |
|17||17||23||38||Jones Day||Tokyo||36||4||5||4||3|| |
|18||17||14||14||Kohwa Sohgoh Law Offices||Tokyo||33||0||1||1||4|| |
|18||23||20||21||Tanabe Partners||Tokyo||33||0||3||3||2|| |
|20||17||17||15||Abe, Ikubo, Katayama||Tokyo||32||1||4||1||2|| |
|20||25||33||-||Ito & Mitomi (Morrison Foerster)||Tokyo||32||0||5||1||1||*4|
|22||33||14||28||Paul Hastings||Tokyo||31||10||5||5||3|| |
|22||25||23||28||Miyake & Partners||Tokyo||31||1||3||1||2|| |
|24||20||33||-||Cast & Itoga Legal Professional Corporation||Tokyo, Osaka||30||2||1||2||1|| |
|25||-||47||-||Hayabusa Asuka Law Offices||Tokyo||29||3||5||3||3||*5|
|25||20||22||23||Yanagida & Nomura||Tokyo||29||0||5||5||1|| |
|27||25||26||38||White & Case||Tokyo||28||0||2||4||2||*6|
|27||-||47||-||Haruki and Tokyo-Marunouchi Law Offices||Tokyo||28||0||1||0||1||*7|
|29||23||26||32||Ozawa & Akiyama||Tokyo||27||0||1||3||4|| |
|29||29||26||23||Chuo Sogo Law Office, P.C.||Tokyo, Osaka||27||0||3||2||2|| |
|32||20||20||18||Tokyo Law Office||Tokyo||26||0||0||2||2|| |
|33||41||26||38||Sakura Kyodo Law Offices||Tokyo||25||0||6||1||3|| |
|33||31||26||32||Shin Koji-machi Law Offices||Tokyo||25||0||2||0||2|| |
|33||33||33||18||New Tokyo International. Attorneys at Law||Tokyo||25||0||2||3||0|| |
|36||31||26||17||Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer||Tokyo||24||0||4||2||1||*9|
|36||41||45||43||Okuno Sogo Law Offices||Tokyo||24||0||3||1||2|| |
|38||30||33||28||Yuasa and Hara||Tokyo||23||0||2||1||3|| |
|38||41||23||23||Toranomon Chuo Law Firm||Tokyo||23||0||5||0||2|| |
|38||41||47||48||Miyakezaka Sogo Law Offices||Tokyo||23||0||4||1||1|| |
|38||36||40||32||Matsuo & Kosugi||Tokyo||23||0||3||1||2|| |
|38||-||-||-||Legal Terrace (Public law offices)||22 places in Japan||23||0||1||12||4|| |
|38||41||40||43||Nagoya Daiichi Law Offices||Nagoya||23||0||2||0||2|| |
|44||36||38||32||South Toranomon Law Offices||Tokyo||22||0||1||0||2|| |
|44||48||47||-||Momo-o, Matsuo & Namba||Tokyo||22||0||3||1||2|| |
|44||33||38||41||Kansai Law & Patent Office||Tokyo, Osaka||22||0||1||1||3|| |
|47||-||-||-||O'Melveny & Myers||Tokyo||21||4||3||0||2|| |
|47||36||45||-||Daiichi Law Office||Osaka||21||0||2||1||0|| |
|47||41||33||32||Tokyo-godo Law Firm||Tokyo||21||0||1||3||2|| |
|47||-||-||-||Dojima Law Office||Osaka||21||0||2||0||3|| |
*1 The previous name was "Asahi & Koma Law Offices"
*2 The previous name was "Baker & McKenzie GJBJ Tokyo Aoyama Aoki Law Offices"
*3 In addition, "Kitahama Legal Professional Corporation" has 11 JP lawyers.
*4 In addition, "Morrison Foerster GJB Office" has 18 Gaikokuhou Jim Bengoshis.
*5 In Mach 2007, many members in Hayabusa international Law offices and in Asuka-kyowa Law Offices joined this law firm.
*6 In addition, "White & Case GJB Office" has 24 Gaikokuhou Jim Bengoshis.
*7 In May 2006, Tokyo-marunouchi Law Offices and Haruki, Sawai & Inoue Law Offices are merged.
*8 The previous name was "Tanaka, Akita & Nakagawa Law Offices."
*9 In addition, "Freshfields GJB Office" has 1 Gaikokuhou Jim Bengoshi.
These 50 law firms has 2586 JP attorneys. This is about 11% of the JP attorneys.
However, notice that these law firms hired 268 JP attorneys of Class 59. All the JP attorneys of Class 59 are 1,262. So, these 50 law firms hired 21.2% of JP attorneys of Class 59. In other words, now oligopoly is underway in Japanese legal market. But the issue for clients is whether such an oligopoly is beneficial for clients. Conflict issues will be a big issue in JP legal market in the near future.