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Consulting an Attorney


Coming from America, my impression of attorneys is that they are expensive.  I never thought about consulting one in regards to our school because of the imagined costs.  This meant spending lots of time asking questions of other owners, trying to find answers online, and essentially bumbling around trying to find advice and answers.

At one point, however, we had a situation arise where professional advice was necessary.  We had signed a lease for our new kindergarten building and adjacent land.  When construction was 80% complete, the landlord for a portion of the property suddenly threatened to nullify the lease, claiming a land deity lived on the property, it didn’t want us to continue, and that they couldn’t take responsibility for the safety of our students if the land deity decided to hurt them.  (Yes, you read that correctly.)  We felt we were in a strong position, but construction had to pause while we sought professional advice.


There are many types of attorneys in Japan.  There are the full or standard attorneys (弁護士 – bengoshi), but also quasi-attorneys such as labor and social security attorneys (労務士 – romushi), judicial scriveners (司法書士 – shihoshoshi), patent attorneys (弁理士 – benrishi), tax attorneys (税理士 – zeirishi), and administrative scriveners (行政書士 – gyoseishoshi).  What they all have in common is that they are quite affordable.


An initial consultation with a new attorney is often free, with additional consultations for us costing only \5,000 for 30 minutes.  If you need special paperwork drawn up, then that of course costs extra, but most of the time we simply need advice or to know where we stand legally.  For a total of about \10,000 over three consultations—including the initial free one—we were able to get the advice we needed to address the above situation and finish construction just in time to open for the new academic year.


Since then, we have consulted with that attorney and others, such as an employment attorney.  At the relatively low cost, it’s well worth the time saved and peace of mind gained.

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