More coverage on the Goldman Sachs Union, from Hiroko Tabuchi.

Missed this one yesterday.

Get that mask, though. It totally makes the picture.

The man to the right on the shot is Attorney Timothy Langley, who, one account said, was not an attorney. (This might have been the Japan Times or Asahi. [It was Japan Times, but it looks like they mean not bengoshi.]) He is was, in fact, a U.S.-licensed attorney, and a very good one. He just might not be bengoshi. He’s got to be gaiben, though. [See updates.]

[Updated as I find more links and stuff.]

[Update #1: Timothy Langley runs a blog at his company's site.]

[Update 3/24/12: Per the comments below, we are trying to determine which state Timothy Langley is licensed in. I think it's actually D.C., but awaiting confirmation.]

[Update 3/25/12: I asked Timothy about this, and he confirmed that he isn't active back in the States either, which is: fine! Remember, the use of esquire to solicit lawyer business is only problematic if you are within that jurisdiction. He is owner-manager of a company that provides his services as an expat/rainmaker/gatekeeper and former U.S.-licensed attorney. I know that this disappoints my reader who left the several comments overnight through the TOR anonymizing software, but I think you should have been spending your time at Tepido.org where you usually hang out . . . ]

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9 thoughts on “More coverage on the Goldman Sachs Union, from Hiroko Tabuchi.

  1. It could be the case that Mr. Langley might not be a gaiben – foreign attorney at law – as he maynot even have been admitted to any bar association in the United States. He has listed law schools he has graduated from both in Japan and the US but zero information on any bar associations that he has been admitted to – all details are strangely absent.

    If operating ‘unlicensed’ so to speak in Japan, then he is doing an incredible disservice to any clients who might retain him. In the GS case, it might make it easier for GS – or their external counsel, Freshfields – to effectively discredit employees who have hire him for representation.

    There have been other cases of unlicensed professionals getting arrested for practicing without a license. For example, in February 2007, North Korean resident Song Gi Hwan and two other members of the Pro North Korean Chamber of Commerce in Hyogo Prefecture were arrested for practicing unlicensed accounting.

    These Norks probably knew very well how to balance the books (or cook them for Dear Leader) but the fact remained that they were not properly licensed. The same situation may apply to Mr. Langley – without the North Korean affiliation, of course.

    • Avvo has him in Georgia, USA. I am fairly certain he is in a couple other states as well. I, myself, am in two.

      [Correction: unpaid in Georgia. I don't know about the other states.]

  2. Most definitely not in the DC registry either: http://www.dcbar.org/find_a_member/results.cfm Searched for “Langley, Timothy”, “Langley, Timothy P.”, “Langley, Timothy Patrick”, “Langley, Tim” etc. Conversely, I found immediately the record of a former (college) classmate of mine without any problem.

    I cannot think of any valid reason why a duly licensed attorney – especially one who actively promotes himself or herself on various digital media platforms including their own company homepage – would not list such an important detail. This is why it is appears wholly suspicious. If you had it, under those circumstances, you would list it.

    Holding multiple law degrees – even advanced ones – are not substitutes for admissions to the Bar(s) in the US nor for the registered ‘foreign attorney at law’ license for Japan.

    I looked up his homepage, examined the services provided along with articles containing interviews explaining the scope of his legal services. If he is an unlicensed attorney yet providing legal services to clients such as wills etc., I wonder whether he might be placing his clients in some sort of legal jeopardy down the road.

    If one graduated from Johns Hopkins University medical school with an “MD” and set up shop as a “medical advisor” providing medical advice and treatment to “clients” (patients), without a Japanese MD, they would be in violation of Japanese law governing medical treatment – and it wouldn’t matter how good or knowledgeable they were. And, arguing they were not in violation of the law as they were acting as a “medical advisor” and not a physician would be an argument that would likely fall short in the eyes of the authorities. This is the closest example of what I believe Mr. Langley has been doing.

    Of course, if he suddenly decides to post his Bar admissions on his company homepage and on his corporate profiles, that would help clear the air.

    • My guess is it’s a state, not Georgia, and not the District of Columbia. There is probably a reasonable explanation, and I am sure one of us will find out.

      By the way, you seem to want to spin your comment to say that holding oneself out as “John Smith, Esquire” in Japan is running afoul of something. I’m not so sure. As long as the person isn’t saying “bengoshi”, and isn’t soliciting clients for representation (before an American court) or for specific U.S. legal advice, then I don’t think there is anything “wrong”. I met a number of Japanese who held themselves out as “US CPAs” (some even naming specific states), and guess what? They weren’t. But no one in Japan was calling the koban.

  3. Just to be clear, I’m not posting via anonymizing torrents etc. nor am I a member of tepido etc…

    I don’t have a huge issue with the “Esquire” issue. I only highlighted it as I saw its use as a cosmetic device to help provide the impression that Mr. Langley is a duly-licensed lawyer when he is not. Other lawyers and law firms don’t need to resort to such devices.

    The main issue I would have with Mr. Langley is that he appears to firstly lack the ‘gaikokuho jimu bengoshi’ (foreign attorney at law) registration for Japan. Not all foreign attorneys in Japan possess that, I know – and such cases, they either work under a partner who does possess one (an act that might cause Nichiberen, the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations, to bristle) or they claim they are “working out of the New York office” etc (but have been admitted to the relevant Bar association).

    So secondly, without having any stateside Bar admission, this is what I mean by Mr. Langley presenting as an “unlicensed lawyer”; if a client were to retain Mr. Langley as a ‘legal services consultant’ and had a significant issue (say it was an alleged breach of … attorney-client privilege) to which Bar association would this client be able to turn to? It’s not apparent that it would be any of the Bar associations within Nichibenren or Nichibenren itself. Nor would the Georgia Bar, DC Bar, NY Bar, Hawaii Bar, California Bar etc qualify as he is not a member. And the ACCJ does not count as a relevant governing body.

    Japan has been pretty lax about allowing various unlicensed professionals to operate until recently. For example, unlicensed financial advisors were given pretty much a free run until it was clear their victims started including Japanese citizens and not just foreign expats. (eg “Meyer Asset Management”, “Royal Siam / White Sands” etc. : http://www.whitecase.com/articles-09092010/ )

    • Hilger, there is another person who has been leaving me almost daily comments through Tor or torrent IP addresses, on this and other topics. It’s not you (at least not on this IP), because I trash any comment with a Tor IP signature.

      You say:

      I don’t have a huge issue with the “Esquire” issue. I only highlighted it as I saw its use as a cosmetic device to help provide the impression that Mr. Langley is a duly-licensed lawyer when he is not. Other lawyers and law firms don’t need to resort to such devices.

      I assumed at first that Mr. Langley was still, based off other articles I had read. The bottom-line rule, though, is whether Japan has a regulation against using “Esquire” in the name of a kabushiki kaisha, if the owner of the firm is not gaiben. I would bet the answer is “no”. So he can be Langley Esquire, K.K., and there is nothing more to it.

      The main issue I would have with Mr. Langley is that he appears to firstly lack the ‘gaikokuho jimu bengoshi’ (foreign attorney at law) registration for Japan. Not all foreign attorneys in Japan possess that, I know – and such cases, they either work under a partner who does possess one (an act that might cause Nichiberen, the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations, to bristle) or they claim they are “working out of the New York office” etc (but have been admitted to the relevant Bar association).

      Well, I was there five years, as a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney, either in active or inactive status; and as a Certified Public Accountant by New Jersey. I was not gaiben because I never practiced. I held myself out as a New Jersey CPA, because I was. I met several Japanese, and one Korean, who claimed that they were stateside CPAs. Because I could more easily check, I usually found out that they weren’t. In most of the states they pretended to be CPAs in, it would be at least a disorderly persons offense, depending on what the context was. If they took money for it, a degree crime. (New Jersey, maybe, fourth degree.)

      If someone is in Japan, claiming that they can represent you back in a U.S. state, and they can’t, then, yes, it’s a serious issue. But, if they don’t make that representation, then it is maybe a minor controversial one.

      So secondly, without having any stateside Bar admission, this is what I mean by Mr. Langley presenting as an “unlicensed lawyer”; if a client were to retain Mr. Langley as a ‘legal services consultant’ and had a significant issue (say it was an alleged breach of … attorney-client privilege) to which Bar association would this client be able to turn to? It’s not apparent that it would be any of the Bar associations within Nichibenren or Nichibenren itself. Nor would the Georgia Bar, DC Bar, NY Bar, Hawaii Bar, California Bar etc qualify as he is not a member. And the ACCJ does not count as a relevant governing body.

      Well, back up a bit. If Langley, K.K.’s services are basically as a gatekeeper to doing business in Japan, and Mr. Langley says that he does not represent you as an attorney, then there is no attorney-client privilege. In most U.S. states, it’s not the “bar association” that regulates you, it’s the supreme court or highest court of that state. I take what you say about the ACCJ to be a bit of well-placed sarcasm. As you might know, the ACCJ vigorously plays down its affiliation with America, to the point where I have commented that the “A” stands for “Anybody”.

      So you have a K.K. with a former Georgia attorney, who you can consult with, about situations that foreigners find themselves in, doing business in Japan. I still don’t see a problem.

      Japan has been pretty lax about allowing various unlicensed professionals to operate until recently. For example, unlicensed financial advisors were given pretty much a free run until it was clear their victims started including Japanese citizens and not just foreign expats. (eg “Meyer Asset Management”, “Royal Siam / White Sands” etc. : http://www.whitecase.com/articles-

      I would say that Japan is selectively lax about numerous things when it comes to foreigners. But you’re bringing in a reference to situations where foreign companies were running afoul of the law in the businesses they did. It’s pretty clear that you can be a former attorney and business consultant, and even call your company Something Esquire, and not be illegal at all. I would say it would be a bigger issue, if a K.K. was operating in Japan, and its sole representative director, a foreigner, say, were living down in Australia.

  4. Based on the services offered on Langley’s corporate homepage, they do not look like simple “gatekeeper” or business consulting services. Advisory on wills, trusts, inheritances (and quite possibly drafting agreements it would seem) as well as on restructuring (both from employer and employee POV) appear to my layman’s eye to be legal services. Whether it is the case of unlicensed CPAs, financial advisors, lawyers, or …physicians… I think the problem negatively affects both the public (clients) as well as legitimate licensed professionals.

    The proposed services agreement shown to me by a friend a few years ago also appeared to be a structured along any legal services agreement with a Y1,000,000 retainer (deductible) with hourly rates of between Y30,000 to Y50,000. I strongly advised my friend to seek other solutions – either a good bengoshi or a gaiben whose office also had bengoshi capabilities. Doing so, provided the option/threat of going to court although in truth neither parties really wants to end up there. However by more or less telecasting to the other side that you have no intention or capability of going to court, puts you in an immediate disadvantageous position from the start.

    • It sounds like we just disagree.

      Everything to me seems like Langley K.K. is on the up and up—and it’s not a one-man shop. It may very well be that different associate handle different matters. I think if you feel you have some hard evidence that I am wrong, you should do something about it rather than cast aspersions on this man’s business.

      An unlicensed CPA who is putting a fraud on a resume is a whole different category of fish. A physician who doesn’t have a license is probably committing a battery if they do surgery. As long as Mr. Langley does not represent clients before courts in Georgia or other stateside jurisdictions, he isn’t doing anything wrong. Sorry.

  5. I would like to respond here to “Hilger”, who had posted some weeks ago (I am just finding this site today).

    Rather than casting aspersions on me, my firm, and my work, and using innuendo, why not call or write me? I am not hiding and I am not pretending. I am good at what I do, and if that bothers you, tell it to me directly.

    At the risk of sounding immodest, it’s there for anyone to see. In my time in Japan, among other things worth mentioning I’ve been:

    …General Counsel to Apple Computer (requires a license to practice law and slouches need not apply last I heard),
    …General Counsel to General Motors (ditto),
    …Chief-of-Staff to George Bush on his ’95 Tokyo visit (requires a tad more than a license to practice),
    …Founder of the Rolls-Royce & Bentley Club of Japan (ditto),
    …Father of four kids (cajones),
    …Author of a book on Japanese politics written in Japanese (needs a bit more than fluency in hiragana),
    …Graduate of four separate and competitive graduate programs (as one of eight siblings, requires drive and maybe some fortitude?).

    If there is a bengoshi or a lawyer in Japan or elsewhere with these credentials, with a knack for bringing it all together for a service-offering, you are advising that people are better served to go to a licensed bengoshi (Japanese certified attorney)? Do you really believe this?

    Yes, I am not a bengoshi. That is true. Unfortunately, AFTER I completed graduate studies in law at Tohoku University, I was told that I could not sit for the Bar Exam (this was 1982). I have the education and training, just not the license. And so I do not represent my clients before a Japanese court.

    But since then, I have followed the machinations as other lawyers and legal firms have come into and left this marvelous country. After 25 years, I think I know better than most (and most likely better than you, Sir “Hilger”), what I am allowed to, and not allowed to do, in this country.

    While you are commenting to websites, I spend my time attempting to guide clients AWAY from the morass that is the contemporary Japanese legal system and, in particular, the unending kabuki that almost always emerges once bengoshi are interjected into a controversy here.

    If the fight exceeds my capabilities, my qualifications, my in-the-trenches experiences, I have a good-sized Rolodex of capable and competent area-specialists, even bengoshi, to guide even the most intractable issues to a successful resolution. In fact, I am almost always successful. Many of these area-specialist bengoshi have even been my adversaries in previous battles, so I know them and they know me. I might even venture that there is an air of respect between us and among us as well for, even in the United States, it would be a fairly neat trick for a Japanese national to pull-off what I have been able to achieve here… but that is not the point.

    You do not need to be a lawyer or a bengoshi to understand that going to court in Japan rarely produces a good result; the Goldman Sachs issue, talked about in the above blog post, is a good case-in-point.

    You may see it differently, but what I maintain is that people and companies are well-advised to come to me first, even if only for an initial consultation (¥10,000). By the way, I have never presented a retainer request for ¥1 million as you seem to suggest. It’s easy to put things that aren’t true out there when one can hide behind anonymity (that is, not be responsible for your own words). Let me just be clear that what you suggested is NOT my policy.

    My business here and my practices are wholly in keeping with the regulations of this jurisdiction. We are problem solvers and gate keepers, and have spent years building this expertise. We are a good firm, and look forward to serving our valued clients. If that bothers you, pick-up the telephone and tell me; face-to-face of course would obviously be asking too much.

    Timothy Langley
    Tokyo

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