Integrating Alternative Dispute Resolution into Japanese Legal Education

Mayumi Saegusa, Julian Dierkes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examine the spread of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms to Japanese legal education. We collected course syllabi from all newly established law schools in Japan. By examining the teaching ADR before and after the introduction of law schools in 2004, we test our prediction of massive isomorphism. We found that many of these law schools immediately responded to ambiguous recommendations on teaching ADR. Such isomorphism may not be an unexpected outcome in a state-initiated institutional change, but the remarkable scope and speed of ADR adoption into curriculum of Japanese law schools is unexpected. We thus conclude that an institutional shock initiated by a state gives organizations an impetus for the immediate adoption. This is even so in organizational fields like education where status is a major component of institutional isomorphism. In our analyses, status emerges as a key variable to show the variation of organizational responses to institutional pressure toward conformity. Our study shows that the relationship between status and conformity is a linear one. Higher status organizations are more likely to adopt new institutional components. The clear link we have found between ADR-courses and the high proportion of academics offering such courses, holds out the potential of more diffusion of ADR in the Japanese legal education. If quality in legal education will come to be associated with the well-established law schools where teaching of ADR is more common, the practice of ADR may diffuse through the graduates of such highly prestigious schools as well as through the imitation of the curricula of these schools by others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-114
JournalZeitschrift für Japanisches Recht/ Journal of Japanese Law
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Social Sciences


  • legal education
  • alternative dispute resolution
  • Japan
  • organization studies


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