What is a German Rechtsanwalt?

German Lawyers: Professional Education and Regulatory Framework

German advocates are independent and work as self-employed professionals (Freiberufler). To be admitted to the German bar (Rechtsanwaltskammer) one must pass two state examinations: The first exam requires four years of studies at a University law school . The second exam takes place after additional two years of legal clerkship (Referendariat) during which the future lawyers have to successfully complete various stages: civil court, criminal court, municipal or rural administration and – of course – advocacy. Thus, every German lawyer has seen all aspects of the legal professional and is formally qualified to practice as advocate, judge, prosecutor or notary. A German Rechtsanwalt (there is no distinction between solicitors and barristers) is authorized to repesent clients throughout Germany and to appear before all German courts (with only very few exceptions). The legal fees are regulated by the German Lawyers Fee Act (Rechtsanwaltsvergütungsgesetz). An English version of the “Rules of Professional Practice” for German lawyers is available as pdf-download here. The difference between a Rechtsanwalt and a civil law Notary is explained here.