100 Next-Era Leaders in Asia 2015 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

The Law Office of Yohei Oe

Lawyer Yohei Oe

Message to young people
I want young people to pursue a path they believe in without being constrained by conventional wisdom or other people’s opinions. I think you often face harsh realities of the world but no matter what obstacles you face, I want you to forge ahead without losing heart to someday make a comeback. Nobody will take you seriously if you fail to make your deeds match your words. In order to win recognition, you have to try every day to improve your capabilities.

I also want you to believe that an opportunity is certain to come your way. Even if things do not go well for you, an opportunity is certain to emerge if you do not give up and forge ahead. You have to prepare for a day when an opportunity comes along so that you can take advantage of it. You alone can lead your life, so regardless of what other people might say, you should chase your dreams, work to achieve your goals and lead a life you desire.

I have always loved movies. When I was a university student, I watched about three films almost every day. I became interested in becoming a lawyer as I watched lawyers in movies fight racial discrimination and overcome various obstacles. I found the lawyers played by Matthew McConaughey in “A Time to Kill,” Sean Penn in “Carlito’s Way” and James Woods in “Indictment: The McMartin Trial” awesome. Being a lawyer also suits me rather than working with many people at a large organization. Being a lawyer held so much appeal for me because a single lawyer with good skills can achieve a great deal.

Several years ago, I represented a Chinese person in a trial. I never doubted the impartiality of Japan’s judicial system, but my client was afraid being a foreigner might affect the outcome of the trial. In order to demonstrate the impartiality of Japan’s judicial system and bring out the best possible results for the client, I tackled the case with determination and won a victory for the client. Ever since I have been conscious about winning.

When consulting a lawyer, most clients are at a make-or-break moment of their lives. Under such circumstances, whether a client will get their wish depends on the skills of their lawyer. The same thing is true when the client is a corporation. The future of a corporation may depend on how its lawyer performs. That is exactly why I’m determined to win and never compromise. Regardless of who the client is and what circumstances they live under, I will go all out for the sake of the client.

A lawyer sometimes has to confront the state or has to represent a client, who is widely reviled by the public. I sometimes represent Chinese people in cases that could affect relations between Japan and China. Still, I am determined to work for the client and serve the client’s interests whatever the circumstances.

Few lawyers have contacts with Chinese people that are as wide as mine. I therefore hope to promote friendship and business between Japan and China through my work as a lawyer. Besides being a lawyer, I want to take on various other tasks. I am editing a magazine and writing a screenplay for a film. I try not to be constrained by the conventional wisdom about what a lawyer should be like. I try to be myself and blaze a new trail.

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The Law Office of Yohei Oe
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