The Japan In-house Lawyers Association (JILA) plans to launch an award for Japanese in-house lawyers and legal departments this year.
“We plan to have the in-house counsel awards ceremony around the end of this year,” Hideyuki Sakamoto, the JILA’s president, told Asia Business Law Journal. “We will make an announcement about the details shortly.”
Sakamoto added that the importance and size of in-house legal departments in Japanese companies have grown significantly in the past decade, as demonstrated by the increase in their ranks in Japan from 771 a decade ago to 2,965 as of June 2022.
“In the past few months, we have visited a few other cities outside Tokyo to connect with in-house lawyers in Japan,” said Sakamoto.
Sakamoto, who took the role in April last year, also saw the role of in-house counsel in Japan becoming more complex, especially amid the rapidly evolving technology. This prompted the association to organise a seminar in May about how the legal department could use generative artificial intelligence, such as ChatGPT, to improve efficiency and delve into the potential risks.