Together with learning legal problem-solving skills based on the objective rules of the law, students in the Department of Global Legal Studies gain practical communication skills and flexible approaches to understanding other cultures that allow them to work in a global context. All students study abroad during their 2nd year, boosting both their language skills and their real-world understanding of the law and foreign cultures through classes and daily life in a different country. The Department seeks highly motivated students eager to study the law across national borders.
A challenging, innovative new department that trains global professionals capable of responding to the needs of internationalized societies through their knowledge of the law and the English language.
Japan is not only globalizing as its companies penetrate overseas markets; it’s also undergoing a process of rapid “internal internationalization.” In order to respond to both types of globalization, students need legal knowledge and problem-solving skills as well as a high level of English-language competence and the ability to understand other cultures. The Department’s educational program therefore focuses on 3 key areas: legal problem-solving skills, practical communication skills, and a flexible approach to understanding other cultures.
The Department’s English education program includes pre-study-abroad classes aimed at improving practical language skills as well as classes on Japanese law taught in English. After returning from study abroad, students attend classes on law, politics, and culture taught in English, and study the legal terminology used in English-speaking business environments.
Students receive individual attention starting in their 1st year through participation in small, intensive classes. Young scholars with excellent English ability support professors in giving each student the learning environment they need. The instructor-to-student ratio is about 10 to 65.
Students studying abroad through the Department of Global Legal Studies are eligible for the Meiji Gakuin University Curriculum International Student Scholarship, which provides 250,000 yen in funding to enable a fulfilling overseas experience. In January 2018, the Shirokane Law Association, the Faculty of Law’s alumni association, established a new Study Abroad Scholarship Fund which provides 200,000 to a total of 12 students (3 from each of the Faculty’s 4 departments), further strengthening the assistance available for law students stepping beyond Japan’s borders.
After acquiring academic literacy in small-group foundational seminars, students develop their communication skills through oral presentations and debates. 1st-year classes include Introduction to Japanese Law, which is taught in English; International Human Rights Law, which presents international human rights issues from a legal perspective; and Global Cultural Studies, which is also taught in English and addresses the diversity of Japanese culture.
All students in the Department study abroad in the fall semester of their 2nd year. At their host institution, they study the local legal system in English and experience a foreign culture through interactions with local people. All study-abroad destinations are in English-speaking countries (Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, and Canada) because English is the primary language of international business.
3rd-year students select seminars where they learn to solve global social problems by applying legal knowledge in a small-group setting. They also apply their knowledge through fieldwork. Seminars include Global Legal Studies, in which faculty lecture on specialized fields in English; Fieldwork, which places students with internationally active companies and NPOs; and United Nations University Lectures, which focuses on developing the critical thinking and communication skills needed to reflect on Japan’s role in the world.
Graduates of this newly-established department are expected to find employment in a range of fields, including domestic and international business, travel, civil and public service, journalism and broadcast, and the legal profession. Students can apply legal knowledge and English ability at foreign-owned manufacturers, trading companies, financial institutions, IT companies, and similar workplaces. Overseas experience makes them eligible for jobs as domestic or international civil servants, or staff with international NGOs. English ability and broad-based knowledge also enables careers in the airline industry, media, and similar fields. Options in the legal field include working as a lawyer handling international issues, or as an administrative or judicial scrivener.