Yoshio Murai



Hi everyone. Today, I am so proud and honored to stand here. Firstly, I would like to say thank you to our professors and teachers for guiding our studies; to the TUJ law staff for always assisting and supporting us; and to my classmates for encouraging and helping me and each other. Most of all, I would like to personally express my deep appreciation to my wife Mieko and son Kentaro, who have supported me and who have believed for a very long time, through all my ups and downs, that today would eventually come.

Since I have taken more than 5 years to graduate, I believe I've probably followed a longer and more winding road to today than have most of my fellow graduates. While you probably think that I simply like studying, I almost dropped out. But assisted and encouraged by my professors and the law staff, I have finally managed to graduate. Three lucky factors are responsible for my reaching this destination today: meeting my current boss; sharing a grueling experience with encouraging friends; and having the support of a wonderfully patient wife and family.

First, I met the man who introduced TUJ to me, my current boss.

In 1999, after graduating school with a degree in mechanical engineering, I started working at a global manufacturing company as a patent engineer. At that time, I was just a person who had an interest in America. Though I had never lived there, America was attractive to me because many interesting movies, music, and entertainment such as E.T., Back to the Future, Disneyland, Bon Jovi, etc. all came from there. I had no interest in its food. I had no legal background. My job was preparing patent documents and filing them in the Japanese Patent Office. It was a completely domestic job. However, in 2004, I was given a chance to live in Washington D.C. for a whole year. I very much enjoyed my stay there, even the food. After returning to Japan in 2005, I was transferred to a patent litigation department where I mainly worked with U.S. lawyers, which increased my interest in the U.S.

Because I work for a global manufacturing company and because the U.S. has been our biggest market, we have had a lot of litigation in the U.S. Unfortunately, we have usually been the defendant. While it was distressing for my company to be sued so many times, the situation, nevertheless, has developed my interest in the U.S. Around 2007 or 2008, I was transferred to another litigation department where I met my current boss.

Luckily for me, my boss was at that time a student in the TUJ Legal Certificate Program. He recommended that I study at TUJ because it was the best place in Japan to study U.S. laws. I didn't even know Temple University, let alone TUJ. However, after attending a demonstration class provided by Professor McCarthy, I decided that studying U.S. law would be interesting. In addition, the knowledge I gained would be helpful to my job as the amount of U.S. litigation was increasing and increasing. So several factors weighed in favor of applying to TUJ, where I was admitted in 2009. At that time, I did not imagine how studying law at TUJ would bring so many experiences. Now I know. Meeting my boss triggered all subsequent events. Today, I deeply thank him for introducing me to TUJ. I would not be here without him.

The second lucky factor in getting me to this podium today was making the great friends, my fellow students, that I met at TUJ. In 2009, though I had been admitted to TUJ, I still found following classes very difficult as a person who was neither a native English speaker nor possessed of much legal background. Also, going to school after work was simply very tough. However, because I had friends at TUJ, classmates who were also struggling and sharing the time with me, those classes which might have been tough and difficult turned out to be enjoyable and interesting. Of course, beers and sake after our tests made me happier than anything else.

As you can imagine, my classmates had various backgrounds. However, at TUJ, we tackled common problems, such as plowing through very long reading assignments, grappling with complex U.S. laws, and struggling with both English and legalese. But cooperating against the common enemy (the problems I just mentioned, not the professors), I believe that we established a true friendship through which we supported and assisted each other.

My friends particularly helped me in tackling the California bar exam which, because I was a genius, I passed at only the third attempt. Of course, I am joking. Most JD students pass it at the first or second attempt. However, for me, the three days of exams posed a very difficult challenge. Without my friends who studied for the bar exam with me, I am sure I would have quickly given up. So I would like to take this opportunity to express my great appreciation to my friends for studying with me and for encouraging me to keep going when I wanted to quit. I got to know great people at TUJ and I believe that our friendships will last after graduation.

Lastly, I was especially lucky in my greatest supporters, my wife Mieko and son Kentaro. When, on July 26, 2012, Kentaro was greeting his first birthday in Tokyo, I was taking the bar exam in California. I failed, missing by a few points. This 40-year-old Ojisan, this middle-aged man, was deeply depressed.

Because I didn't have time to study other than after work or on weekends, I was afraid to ask my family to make more sacrifices so that I could retake the bar exam. Mieko would have to take care of our baby alone, with no break even on weekends, to give me time to study. However, she kindly and voluntarily told me: "Don't come back home until you study after work". I really appreciated that push. Mieko took care of the baby without ever complaining—well, maybe a little—but she always prioritized my study. She could have asked to me to at least take the February exam rather than the July one so that we could celebrate Kentaro's birthday together. But she didn't. She always made my study her number one priority. Thank you very much.

On my third attempt, I finally passed. I will never forget the excitement I shared with Mieko when I found that I had passed the exam. Even if I had failed again, I know that she would have encouraged me to keep attempting it until I succeeded. My wife gave me the power to get through. So, from the very bottom of my heart, I thank you, Mieko.

Today, I feel a sense of achievement. I never imagined that my decision to study at TUJ would lead to such success. However, I know that for my fellow graduates and me, this is not the end but the commencement. From today, carrying our TUJ experiences with us, each of us must go our own way, each on our own long and winding road. Congratulations to all of you and thank you so much.

村井 賢郎