Taro works at Rakuten Group’s Legal Department
As a certified lawyer, I am involved in legal support for new service launches and projects. In particular, I focus on fintech, sponsorships and data-related work. For example, I provide legal guidance on the development of our new payment services for fintech, on contracts for sports-related services for sponsorships and on how to handle sensitive data like personal information. I also manage the development of schemes based on the overall project, and the licenses, contracts and terms & conditions required for the service.
I have many opportunities to work with members of the same legal department and members in charge of planning and management on the business side; they are all highly motivated and capable professionals. In the legal department, each member brings in their own expertise, and we tackle difficult cases together. It is both a very stimulating and gratifying environment.
Our corporate culture emphasizes speed, often having to release new projects within a limited time frame. In such cases, my role is to create the roadmap that considers and mitigates the legal risks while we navigate a project to its ultimate goal. I work closely with other members of the business to discuss and reduce risks, which at times results in changing the original plan and improving the contract to ensure the project makes it all the way to its release. These are the kinds of problem-solving skills that I hone everyday. My previous job was at a government agency, but since joining Rakuten, I feel that I have improved my ability to “get things done quickly” and refined my ability to efficiently coordinate between departments.
As a member of the legal department at the head office, I feel working locally at overseas branches is important for understanding their business trends. In the future, I hope to experience more global work and take on tasks that involve risk assessment from a broader company perspective, including those of overseas branches. I would like to deepen my understanding of overseas business from a legal perspective, acquire a broader outlook, and eventually be involved in coordinating and controlling subsidiaries. I would also like to work as a corporate counsel or general counsel, for example, to support the management team in legal risk management and decision-making.
How many projects do you handle per year?
Several hundred cases, including small regular cases. We, as the legal department, often raise issues as well.
How many people are currently in your department and what is the ratio of mid-career hires?
My department has less than 20 people, 60% of are mid-career hires. New graduates also play active roles in our work. Of course, those with legal experience offer a lot, but those without legal backgrounds also their individual strengths in our work.
How do you spend time on your days off?
I watch soccer games. I am also studying American law and English with an eye toward becoming an attorney in the U.S.
*The affiliation and contents of the article are based on the contents at the time of the interview.
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