Specialization and Stratification of Women Lawyers in Japan

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 14:35
Location: Hörsaal 4C G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Chihara WATANABE, Ritsumeikan University, Japan
Since 2000, the number of women is rapidly increasing in Japan.

There were 2026 women lawyers in 2000 and 6336 in 2014, tripled in only 15years. The rate of women lawyers is not high (only 18%, even in 2014), but the rate of increasing ease  

Since judicial reform in 2000s, the environment of practice of lawyers has been dramatically changing. In the past, typical lawyers were a solo - practitioner and took a various kind of job areas. Now, many lawyers have their own specialized fields and it and it propelled the stratification of lawyers. It has been said that many women lawyers work for women clients, especially in divorce cases and their income and the status among lawyers are relatively low. In fact, the survey of Japan Federation of Bar Association in 2010 suggests that many women lawyers engage in family affairs and the average income of women lawyers is much lower than that of men.

But, the picture is only a part of specialization of women lawyers.

What kind of specialized fields do women lawyers choose and how they could attain their status as specialized lawyers and their status among lawyers?  Does the gender matters in those field? Do women lawyers work for women’s rights in the fields?

I will focus on the women lawyers who are engaged in medical malpractice litigation, which is thought as one of the extremely specialized area and relatively many women lawyers.