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Nishimura & Asahi, one of Japan’s premier law firms located in Akasaka, Tokyo, regularly seek English-language legal editors in their firm. Positions involve editing and rewriting a wide range of documents as well as assisting in due diligence, research and similar matters.

Nishimura & Asahi employ over 484 Japanese attorneys, and several attorneys and editors from countries such as the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia. They specialise in Commercial law and also have strengths in Intellectual Property, Insurance law, Acquisitions and Mergers and Securitisation. Preference will be given to candidates with a desire for exposure to international law and business and editing or legal experience.

Information about the firm may be found at: www.jurists.co.jp/en/

Student experiences

Anthony Gardner

Anthony Gardener For twelve unforgettable months in 2015 I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work at Japan’s largest law firm, Nishimura & Asahi.

As a legal editor, my role was mainly to assist the lawyers and other staff members of N&A’s offices across East Asia to write clear and effective legal documents and occasionally conduct legal research on Australian and UK law. Throughout the year, I had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of documents ranging from brief emails and letters of advice to complex contracts and due diligence reports in areas as diverse as employment, privacy and private international law. I also enjoyed a brief stint as head editor of the English language portion of the firm’s internal magazine.

Having studied in western Japan previously on exchange, I had an idea about what life would be like in Japan, but living and working in the centre of Tokyo exceeded my expectations in every regard. Tokyo is a thriving city with so much to offer whatever your mood. The great part about living here is that after you’ve enjoyed Tokyo’s famous tourist attractions, you have the time to explore areas off the tourist trail and discover what makes this city so special.

I can say without a doubt that my time at N&A has been extremely rewarding for me, both professionally and personally, and I recommend this opportunity to anyone interested in gaining practical legal experience in one of East Asia’s leading law firms.

Shingo Fujisaki

Shingo FujisakiThe months have passed by all too quickly since touching down in Japan, as I nervously anticipated my first day working at Japan’s largest law firm, Nishimura & Asahi. I can look back now and confidently say that this has been an experience that I will truly treasure for the rest of my life.

As an editor at N&A, I have had the opportunity to assist the attorneys and staff with reviewing various types of English legal documents ranging from correspondence, due diligence reports and various types of contracts and agreements, often for high profile and interesting cross-border commercial cases. As a small group of 12 editors within a large firm of over 1000 attorneys and staff, the work is challenging but greatly stimulating, with the need to balance a number of tasks during a busy evening, and communicating with fellow editors and assigning attorneys to ensure that the tasks are completed in a timely manner. For those that want to be lawyers, this fast paced environment is a fantastic way of developing the necessary skills to work and communicate under pressure, while ensuring to produce high quality work within the designated timeframe. The work also provides a daily opportunity to deepen your knowledge of legal English, particularly skills such as effective contract drafting. Needless to say, these skills will be incredibly valuable when I begin my legal career in Brisbane next year.

While working hard during the week, Tokyo offers an incredible range of options when considering the ways to spend your weekend. Contrary to popular belief, Tokyo is a wonderful walking city with large parks and nature spots contained in various areas among the booming high rise buildings. It has been particularly fascinating to take strolls around my favourite areas and watching the change in scenery as it has gone from snowy winter, the beautiful sakura (cheery blossom) blooming during spring, and now listening to the cicada’s chirp as we enter the peak of the summer heat. For foodies like me, Tokyo also offers an amazing range of restaurants and bars, from traditional Japanese food such as sushi and shabu shabu (a fun way to dine together with friends sharing a hot pot with beef, pork and vegetables), mouth-watering Chinese, and all things Western and European from fantastic burger joints to delicious Italian. Some of the fondest memories that I will take back to Australia will be the countless occasions that I have caught up with friends for dinner (usually an all you can eat, all you can drink option at a very reasonable price!), with a blast of karaoke to top things off. As a staff member of N&A, I strongly recommend attending as many firm trips as possible, in particular the newcomers trip which is a fantastic way to get to meet as many new attorneys and staff as possible.

I personally could not have hoped for a better experience than to participate in this program, living in one of the most exciting cities in the world, developing lifelong friends and getting to experience life working for a top law firm in Japan. I would recommend any student looking for both professional and personal development to not look back and apply for this fascinating opportunity. You won’t regret it!

Simon Chen

Simon Chen Having spent a semester studying overseas on exchange in Canada, the only thing I regretted was not having done it earlier during my degree so I could do it all over again somewhere else! That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to live in Japan for a year and work for its largest law firm, Nishimura & Asahi.

Needless to say, the experience has been amazing in so many ways. The work at N&A is very dynamic and varied, and as an editor, I am exposed to all different types of legal documents across every practice area of the firm. I have the opportunity to learn from and contribute to the work of some of the very best legal minds in the industry, which will stand me in good stead when I start my career back in Australia. Of course, it’s not all work and no play, with Tokyo (and Japan in general) being one of the most exciting and unique places in the world to live in. From screaming myself hoarse on world record breaking rides at Fuji-Q, or rowdily singing until the early morning in Champions Bar in Golden Gai, to quietly reflecting on life and love while sipping tea on a lake in Hama-rikyū Teien, there is never a shortage of things to do or places to see in my spare time here.

I feel incredibly lucky to have been given this opportunity. It has been at times both challenging yet immensely rewarding, and I cannot recommend it any more highly to anyone thinking of applying.

Lidia Truong

Lidia Truong I started working for Nishimura & Asahi in January 2012.  It has been a wonderful opportunity, which is uniquely and ideally suited to Law students.I have gained valuable insight into international commercial law and exposure to a great variety of legal disciplines involving clients and deals of a high caliber. Being given real responsibilities from lawyers and partners, and having seen my work put into use, has been among some of my N&A highlights. Moreover, it has only been 5 months!

When I arrived in Japan, I knew no one and could speak a grand total of three Japanese words, but on my first day at work, I could never have imagined how welcoming and how concerned everyone was for me and how I was settling in.  Even when I ask for help from those that could not speak English, we played Charades until they found out how to help me.  There is even a team dedicated to helping Foreign Staff.

Lidia Truong Tokyo is a world-class city, but beyond that, the culture that you will experience is amazing and rich.  Every weekend is a dilemma when you have an ever-growing list of options (and that is just if you want to stay in Tokyo).  There is no interest, hobby, cuisine, experience or emotion that Tokyo and Japan cannot provide for.  A new hobby I want to develop is onsen-hopping.  Other parts of south east Asia are right on your doorstep Hong Kong, South Korea, The Philippines, just to name a few.

I strongly recommend this opportunity to anyone that wants to challenge themselves personally and grow professionally in an extraordinary part of the world with an international law firm.  This is an extremely rare experience and opportunity and I can imagine very few other substitutes.

Lynette Nam

Lynette Nam My year in Japan has been full of excitement and new experiences. Working at Nishimura & Asahi has exposed me to a wide variety of legal disciplines and high profile cases, while giving me a unique insight into Japanese work culture. Arriving into a city where I knew no one, I was made to feel entirely welcome upon meeting the legal editors’ team on my first day at work. I am also fortunate enough to live in an apartment in central Tokyo, near Roppongi and Tokyo Tower. Needless to say, Tokyo itself is a bustling metropolis with a lively cultural scene and a wealth of social offerings, and there is no shortage of festivals, art exhibits, live music, or culinary options to fill the calendar. Tokyo is also a convenient gateway for short trips to other regions of Japan and East Asia. Since December last year, I have visited various destinations, such as Hong Kong and Okinawa, and have had many memorable experiences, such as watching the sunrise from the peak of Mt Fuji and dancing to Japanese rock bands at Fuji Rock festival.

I would recommend this rare and exciting opportunity to anyone interested in expanding their horizons while gaining legal experience in a top law firm in Japan.

Yoshiko Robertson

Yoshiko Robertson My decision to take up a position in the Tokyo office of Nishimura and Asahi was for me, both personally and professionally, one of the best decisions I have made. Working at Nishimura & Asahi has given me valuable insight into international business law, and the varied nature of my work has allowed me to gain exposure to many areas of corporate law. My main responsibilities include editing and re-writing a wide range of legal documents. I work with an extremely helpful and supportive team of 12 Legal Editors from the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K. Everyone at N&A has been so friendly and helpful and this has enabled me to settle into life at the firm very quickly. N&A regularly organises excursions such as ski trips and fishing trips to various parts of Japan. I went on the firm’s ski trip to Zao Onsen early in the year and I found that this was a great way to get to know the staff in a social setting.

I have really enjoyed living in Tokyo, which is a vibrant city that offers a never-ending list of social activities. It is also a convenient base from which to travel to other parts of Japan and Asia, and this year I have been fortunate enough to visit the beautiful Okinawa Islands and take numerous weekend trips to areas surrounding Tokyo, such as Kawaguchiko, Nikko, and Kamakura. I even conquered Mt. Fuji but much preferred the less strenuous option of viewing Japan’s sacred mountain whilst hanging off a paraglider!

I could not have hoped for a better situation than what I have found myself in at N&A, and so I can thoroughly recommend the ‘Work in Japan’ program to anyone looking to gain practical legal experience in a leading international law firm whilst living in one of the most exciting cities in the world.

Lauren Zanetti

Lauren Zanetti Working at Nishimura & Asahi was a great adventure - cultural immersion, interesting legal work and a chance to live in one the most exciting cities in the world.

As a Legal Editor I was exposed to both Japanese law and a large range of cross border cases, often for high profile clients. Being part of a small team of foreigners in a firm of over 1000 Japanese staff allowed me a unique insight into a Japanese workplace. The prevalence of Hello Kitty and bowing around the office were just the beginning of the many cultural differences I encountered daily. During my time at N& A the firm organised ski trips and notably a weekend at a hot springs resort, which was not an icebreaker I was accustomed to with work colleagues, but was fabulous nonetheless!

N&A really looks after Legal Editors and we were certainly not subject to the punishing hours one expects at a Japanese law firm. There was plenty of time to explore Tokyo and its surrounds (arigato bullet train!). Dining with geishas, climbing Mount Fuji, cherry blossom season and delicious Japanese cuisine were some of my highlights. I quickly fell in love with Tokyo's fascinating blend of old and new. From the neon, frenetic, hyper-convenient side of modern Tokyo with its hidden clubs, karaoke bars and harajuku girls to the calming traditions, tranquil temples and gardens and glimpses of ladies on the subway in exquisite kimono which punctuate the rush.

I left Tokyo with many strong friendships from both inside and outside the firm and what I suspect will be a lifelong love affair with Japan. Ostukaresama desu!

Angus Conaghan

Angus Conaghan From 2004-2007, I was fortunate to work for the law firm Nishimura & Asahi in Tokyo, Japan. The experience was made available to me through the University of Queensland’s ‘Work in Japan’ program. What started as a 1 year arrangement lasted more than 3 years because I enjoyed the experience so much.

N&A is the largest law firm in Japan and employs over 400 lawyers, including licensed tax counsel and patent attorneys. I was one of the firm’s ‘legal editors’, a small team of about 6 people generally made up of recent law graduates from English speaking countries, including Australia, Canada, the US and UK. Our main task was to work with the firm’s Japanese lawyers to proofread English language documents they created. The range of work included contracts, legal memoranda, correspondence, and due diligence.

My work for the firm exposed me to often large and complex transactions and gave me the opportunity to learn from lawyers who are experts in their field. I honestly found everyone I worked with to be friendly and keen to answer any questions I had about work or life in Japan in general. The experience helped me to gain employment as a graduate solicitor for a Brisbane city law firm when I returned to Australia.

On a personal note, my time in Japan was thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable. There was a great camaraderie among the legal editors, and outside of work we would catch up on the weekends, or for lunch or dinner during the days. The firm had discount arrangements with some world class ski resorts nearby, so a few times each year I went on organised ski trips. While I was in Japan, I also visited the historic temples in Kyoto, the Peace Park in Hiroshima, the hot springs in Shizuoka, and Mt Fuji. The food, culture and people in Japan were amazing. I would highly recommend the opportunity to University of Queensland students.

Stewart Webster

Stewart Webster In 2009 I spent the year working for Nishimura & Asahi in Tokyo. Nishimura & Asahi is Japan’s largest domestic law firms and has leading practices in a broad range of areas. The firm was a great place to work and I made a lot friends among both the Japanese and foreign staff. Life in Tokyo was also a great experience. The city is unique and amazing - with fantastic food, shopping, and historical and cultural sites. The rest of Japan and indeed Asia, is on your doorstep, and weekend getaways to Hiroshima, Kyoto, Seoul or Shanghai are easy to arrange. I am extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to spend a year in Japan, working for Nishimura & Asahi, and I can thoroughly recommend the program to all law students who are interested in working overseas.