A decade ago, Japanese lawyers working at big firms had a pretty sure thing. The hours were long, but most associates could count on making partner if they stayed the course. Clients were fairly loyal and they also did relatively little business outside of Japan, meaning poor English skills were no barrier to success.

Now things are different. Job security is no longer for life. Clients move around more and firms are putting far more emphasis on international work in which English is everything. How’s a budding bengoshi to cope?

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