• Kyodo

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The Japan Federation of Bar Associations may form a certification system for lawyers to acknowledge their specialties and fields of expertise, such as inheritance and medical malpractice, as a way to address client concerns that their competency is difficult to determine.

It remains uncertain whether the system will be established since the idea has met opposition from regional bar associations, which say certification by specialty could distort legal practice.

“Coming up with an area of specialty can boost the number of clients and help overcome financial woes among lawyers,” a senior official of the national federation said Sunday.

The federation plans to start certification system for five fields — divorce and custody, inheritance and wills, traffic accidents, medical malpractice, and labor issues. Lawyers need to have practical experience in the field for more than three years, have handled more than 10 cases within three years in the field, and have had 20 hours of training by the federation to be certified.

The proposals were distributed last October for comment. Those expressing opposition say lawyers may take on more cases than they can properly handle to meet the criteria, or the system could prove disadvantageous for lawyers working in rural towns or provincial cities with fewer cases.

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