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What is Required to Practice Law in Europe?

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Joined: 19 Apr 2009
Posts: 14
What is Required to Practice Law in Europe?
Wed May 13, 2009 12:29 AM
I'm trying again on this post - I posted it in the Europe forum but didn't receive any responses.

How, if at all, does an American lawyer become licensed to practice law in Europe? I have a J.D., am licensed in the U.S., and am thinking about doing a LLM in Austria. I read somewhere that a person licensed in one EU country may practice in all EU countries -- is that correct? Does anyone know what I'd have to do to become licensed, or a resource for this information? Also, what is necessary to work for an international organization? UN job postings seem to only require an advanced degree in law regardless of where the job is located. Is that right? No particular license is required?

Also, being an American lawyer without any international experience, my thought is that obtaining an LLM in international law abroad where a number of international organizations are located would be a good way to break into international work while at the same time (hopefully), learning a foreign language. Thoughts on this? Anyone agree or disagree? I thought I might be able to obtain an internship at an international organization, which I hear are very helpful to getting a job after graduation.
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Joined: 29 Apr 2009
Posts: 30
What is Required to Practice Law in Europe?
Wed May 13, 2009 02:36 PM
Hi Intlwannabe :)

First, there are numerous questions, I would advise to split your big topic in several small ones, so that you could have a greater chance to get answers. I would just provide some thoughts about the idea that "a person licensed in one EU country may practice in all EU countries".

The well and short-named directive 98/5/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 1998 to facilitate practice of the profession of lawyer on a permanent basis in a Member State other than that in which the qualification was obtained may be of some help:

But, having lawyers able to *practice* in another country does not mean that they are qualified in the same way. For example, a French advocate may practise in the UK or in Germany, but his title would only be "Avocat" (Article 4) and he or she would have to be registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and he or would be authorised to "inter alia, give advice on the law of his home Member State, on Community law, on international law *and on the law of the host Member State*." (Article 5). But that is only the principle and there are exceptions, different in each country, and most of the time, the *registered lawyer* would (logically) not be authorized to practice to the full extent of what a *qualified lawyer* would do.

To obtain a full qualification (in my -personal ?- example, being both advocate in France and solicitor in the UK), you will have to evidence your knowledge and experience in the host member state's law for the last three years to be admitted. That's a bit slower that the automatic recognition you put forward. :)

I would advise you to qualify first in the UK, and you may be asked to pass the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/qltt.page). This procedure is different than what explained above, because you cannot get the benefit of the EC law regarding your US qualifications.

But, generally, the admission as a solicitor in the UK would depend of the agreements between your state's bar and the SRA.

Good luck in any case !
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