Welcome to the website for the Roppongi Bar Association (RBA)! Since its establishment in 1982, the RBA has served as a networking organization primarily consisting of foreign legal professionals located in Japan. Since you are viewing our website, you have either heard a bit about us or found us while seeking out information on the legal community in Japan. Thus, you likely have an interest in the international legal and professional community in Japan – just as our membership does! So, let us tell you a bit more about our organization.
While the name references the Roppongi neighborhood in which our organization has primarily met over the past 25 years (and is a play on the fantastic variety of nightlife located therein!), the RBA as a legal-oriented organization is not however an official organization for the legal profession in Japan, and has no formal role in the Japanese legal environment such as a bar association in a U.S. State might. Instead, the RBA is an informal, voluntary association of interested members who gather together for networking and educational events on a regular basis in Tokyo.
The RBA is run by an Executive Board, composed of RBA Members who volunteer their time to help keep the group running and who plan the monthly events for the organization. The activities of the RBA are supported by its Members; our membership is composed of individuals who have an interest in the international legal community, with an emphasis on Japan. While a majority of our Members are lawyers or working in a legal-related capacity, many are occupied in non-legal positions or fields. We count among our Members consultants, investment professionals, bankers, tax professionals, corporate employees, students and others, including those currently seeking employment in the Japanese legal community. Most of our Members are currently living in Japan; however from time to time we have had some active Members outside of Japan – those Members are usually individuals who have previously lived in Japan or who are planning to come to Japan in the future, and who therefore wish to stay in touch with the foreign legal community and support the RBA.
The RBA plans and hosts a variety of monthly events throughout the year, for the enjoyment and education of the Members and non-member guests. As mentioned and as our name suggests, the majority of RBA events are generally held in the famed Roppongi section of Tokyo – the same area where our founding Members gathered in 1982 and conceived of the organization while sharing legal scholarship in one of the fine local establishments! Our usual meeting schedule is to host substantive lectures and speeches by leading professionals on a variety of subjects on alternating months throughout the year. These meetings have long been held on the last Thursday of every other month; for many years now our favored venue for such meetings has been Century Court (a long-established and stylish member’s club located in the center of the Roppongi district, and the flagship of the WDI restaurant empire!). These events commonly feature noted attorneys, academics and other professionals who inform, educate and entertain us over fine buffet meals prepared by Century Court. On occasion, some lectures provide attendees with Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits valid in certain U.S. States, courtesy of our friends and colleagues at the Temple University School of Law, Japan Campus, an accredited CLE-providing institution with whom we have developed a close relationship in recent years.
On alternate months, the RBA hosts terrific social events, where members of the international legal community and related professionals can meet to relax, network and have a great time. Such events in recent years have included shinenkai (New Year) and bonenkai (end of year) parties, an annual wine party (held at some of the nicest venues in town!), Oktoberfest or beer-tasting events, and of course the ever-popular RBA Summer Barbecue which has become famed as one of the premier summer events in Tokyo!
In summary, the RBA is a forum for informal gatherings of legal and other professionals, both for social events as well as for educational and information-sharing events. The RBA is a unique resource for those involved in the international legal community in Japan, or with an interest in the issues affecting our community. We welcome you to come to any of our open events, and to learn more about us. We hope you can join us!
-The RBA Executive Board