Kotaro Yamabe

What were you doing before the MCL?

I was working as an associate at one of the biggest law firms in Japan, Nagashima Ohno and Tsunematsu, where I specialised mainly in the areas of banking and finance, and cross-border transactions. I also worked, on secondment from my law firm, for two years at the Financial Services Agency of the Japanese Government, where I was assigned to the division responsible for drafting securities market regulations. As part of that stint I assisted with the drafting of some recent major amendments to the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act of Japan.

What were your impressions of the MCL?

I felt that the MCL was perfectly designed for international lawyers with some legal practice experience like myself. The lectures combined the teaching of academic theories and legal practice at a very high level, which made them very interesting. I especially enjoyed the Deals Course, in which we analysed actual deal documents from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Although I already had experience dealing with some of the types of the transactions that we discussed in class, I still learned many things, such as the English contract law rules underlying standard contractual provisions, methods for analysing economically the risks involved in transactions and the various methods to overcome such risks. In addition, the small size of the MCL class provided ample opportunities to engage in class discussions and to get to know other students well. I learned a lot just by listening to my classmates who were gathered from all over the world. Finally, I felt that the curriculum of the MCL was carefully designed to spread the workload fairly evenly throughout the year, which made the course very intense but ultimately easier to keep up with. All in all, I truly enjoyed my year on the MCL.

What are your post-MCL plans and have they changed due to taking the MCL?

I am returning to my previous law firm in Japan to resume my career as an international transactional lawyer. However, instead of returning immediately to the office, I will be seconded to a private company in Tokyo, where I will work as an in-house counsel. I am looking forward to the new challenges and I am confident that what I learned on the MCL course will help me greatly whenever I have to analyse new legal issues in the future.