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As lawyers (of Latin iura , the rights '; singular ius ) refers to academics that the study of jurisprudence have concluded with a successfully passed examination. In addition, there are also a variety of other legal academic degrees (e.g. LL.B., Mag.iur., Lic.iur., MLaw, LL.M., Diplom-Rechtspfleger (FH) or Diplom-Verwaltungswirt (FH )).


In Germany, university studies in law are completed with the first legal examination . In addition, there are university examination regulations that award academic degrees (e.g. Magister iuris , Diplom-Jurist ) after completing the regular legal course and successfully passing the first legal examination . "Fully qualified lawyers" are lawyers qualified to hold judicial office . This is acquired by passing the second legal exam to be taken after the legal clerkship . The qualifications for judicial office is a prerequisite to judge , prosecutor and lawyer to be. It also provides the career qualification for the career of the higher non-technical administrative service in the career group of the higher service . Lawyer is not a protected professional title in Germany .

Legal education

The classic legal training is two-stage: It comprises a study of law at a university and a two-year practical training in various legal fields of activity (legal traineeship or preparatory service ). Both training phases end with a state examination , the first legal examination and the second legal examination. The lawyer is broadly trained in the three major areas of law , criminal law , civil law and public law .

Since the end of the 20th century, there have also been new courses of study (e.g. business law , Bachelor of Laws [LL.B.], Master of Laws [LL.M.]), the content of which deviates from traditional legal training; however, their graduates are also referred to as lawyers. These courses are limited to certain areas of law and aim at a completely different qualification. LL.B. and LL.M. are independent degrees that are not comparable with the first and second state law exams. They end with university examinations which serve to acquire an academic degree (e.g. business law graduate , Bachelor of Science [B.Sc.] , Master of Science [M.Sc.] ). These degrees do not require a two-year practical training ( legal clerkship ) followed by an examination. Graduates of these new courses are not permitted to provide independent, commercial legal advice; this is reserved for licensed lawyers.

The content of German legal training is regulated in the DRiG and in the training laws and regulations of the federal states.

Study of law

Classic law studies in Germany are offered exclusively by universities . As a rule, it comprises nine semesters ( standard period of study ) in which the areas of civil law , criminal law and public law are treated in theory. The law student is referred to in academic usage as “stud. iur. ”(“ studiosus iuris ”, Latin learner of rights ). After registering for the first legal examination, sometimes even after obtaining the required academic performance records, law students occasionally use the designation cand. Iur. ("Candidatus iuris"). Today, however, this traditional title only has historical or formal significance.

In order to cope with the large amount of material, the majority of both students and trainees use the services of a private tutor ; Increasingly, universities are also starting to offer their own refresher courses for candidates taking the first exam. Because of the generalist training, job-specific knowledge and skills are largely only acquired when entering professional life.

Study requirement

The prerequisite for study is usually the (general) higher education entrance qualification ( Abitur ). Except in the federal state of Brandenburg, where the prerequisite for studying is the (general) technical college entrance qualification ( Section 9 (2) No. 3 BbgHG ).

In Lower Saxony , it is possible only with the technical college , law study (See. § 18 NHG comply), provided the students with the requirements for the study specialty "management and administration of justice" as a relevant focus.

First exam

Traditionally, the law degree serves as preparation for the “first examination” (or trainee examination), a state examination in which the candidate must prove extensive legal knowledge. This state examination is a prerequisite for further training as a fully qualified lawyer.

As part of the reform of legal education, university exams have been integrated into the exams since 2003, which are taken in the focus areas chosen by the students (comparable to the earlier “elective subject group” examination). The state compulsory subject examination is still not taken by the training provider itself, but by a state authority ( Judicial Examination Office (JPA) or similar). The complex of state compulsory subject examination and university specialization examination has since been referred to as the "first legal examination". The state examination part accounts for 70% and the university part with 30% of the overall grade.

The examinations to be taken in the state compulsory subject examination differ depending on the federal state ; As a rule, several extensive written exams and an oral examination with a lecture lasting several hours must be completed. In addition, some federal states also require the writing of a scientific term paper on a given topic. The universities are free to design the university focus area examination within the framework of certain requirements.

Since the first exam is usually an intermediate step on the way to becoming a fully qualified lawyer, it is traditionally not an academic degree . For graduates who enter the labor market immediately after the first exam, this can be a disadvantage, especially when applying abroad, where the peculiarities of German legal training are not familiar. Many law faculties have therefore switched to granting their students the degree of Diplom-Juristen (Dipl.-Jur.) Or Magister iuris (Mag. Iur.) Upon application after passing the first examination .

In addition, some law faculties offer their students the opportunity to complete an integrated bachelor's degree as part of the undergraduate degree in law (first legal examination). This offers e.g. B. the law faculty of the University of Potsdam since the winter semester 2013/2014. This general legal bachelor's degree is completed in Potsdam with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree.

At the Hamburg Bucerius Law School and at the Wiesbaden EBS Law School , the title Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) is awarded after ten so-called trimesters on the basis of the study achievements during the entire course. The academic degree of a Bachelor of Laws is not the same as that of a university graduate lawyer or Magister iuris, as these degrees require passing the first legal examination.

Preparatory service

After successfully taking the first examination, graduates have the right to take part in the second phase of the state legal training, the legal preparatory service ((legal) traineeship ). The aim of the legal traineeship is to provide an insight into the practical work of judges, public prosecutors, administrators and lawyers , in addition to further and in-depth theoretical training, especially in procedural law .

The legal traineeship lasts at least one and a half years and comprises several “stations” in which the trainee lawyer is assigned to a fully qualified lawyer who supervises the practical training and is supposed to learn how to work in the various legal professions. One station at a court , at an administrative authority and at a lawyer is mandatory; In addition, the three main areas of law must be covered with one station each: civil law , criminal law and public law . In each station, an experienced lawyer takes on the supervision of the trainee as an individual trainer; accompanying exercises and courses are also held.

In 15 federal states, the preparatory service is organized as a training relationship under public law ; in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, trainee lawyers are recruited into civil servants upon revocation ; the trainee teacher receives a monthly maintenance allowance.

Second state examination

The second state examination forms the conclusion of the legal traineeship (further designations: second state examination in law, assessor examination, major state examination in law). The trainee lawyer has to write several extensive exams, pass an oral exam and (except in Bavaria) give a presentation on files .

The second state examination is held by a state authority ( State Judicial Examination Office (LJPA) or similar).

By passing the second exam, you are qualified to hold the office of a judge ("fully qualified lawyer") and take up any of the classic legal professions such as lawyer , public prosecutor , judge and notary ("unitary lawyer "). Anyone who is qualified to hold the office of judge also has a career qualification for the higher non-technical administrative service ( Section 21 (2 ) FSVO ).

Graduates of the Second State Examination are entitled to use the designation “ Assessor of Law” (Latin assessor iuris , abbreviated to “ass. Iur.”). This term is not used outside of the academic milieu because laypeople often confuse it with the official title for probationers. In everyday life, a legal assessor is usually referred to as a fully qualified lawyer - this term, however, is neither an official title nor a protected professional title.


In law studies and in both state examinations, grading is based on an 18-point system. Individual performances (exams, term papers, seminar papers, etc.) are assessed as follows in accordance with Section 1 of the Ordinance on a scale of grades and points for the first and second legal examination (JurPrNotSkV):

  • 16–18 points = very good
  • 13–15 points = good
  • 10–12 points = completely satisfactory
  • 7–9 points = satisfactory
  • 4–6 points = sufficient
  • 1-3 points = unsatisfactory
  • 0 points = unsatisfactory.

In both state examinations, a total number of points is formed from the individual grades, from which the overall grade according to § 2 JurPrNotSkV is determined as follows: 18.00–14.00 points (very good); 13.99-11.50 points (good); 11.49–9.00 points (completely satisfactory ); 8.99–6.50 points (satisfactory); 6.49–4.00 points (sufficient), 3.99–0 points (failed).

One of the traditional peculiarities of German legal training is that grading is extremely economical. Most of the exams that have been passed are only rated “sufficient”. On a national average, less than 15% of the graduates achieve the grade “ fully satisfactory ” or better. In both state exams, the final grades “very good” of approx. 0.1% and “good” are only achieved by the best approx. 2–3% of a year. In some federal states, “very good” is only awarded every few years. An essential background for the economical grading - in addition to the now established tradition of a very cautious awarding of grades - is the verbal description of grades. A “satisfactory” is a “performance that corresponds to average requirements in every respect”. A “sufficient” is “a performance which, despite its deficiencies, still meets average requirements”, while a “performance that suffers from significant deficiencies and is generally no longer usable” is rated as “poor”. Since the qualification for judicial office is the aim of the training, the requirements for a judicial decision were (and are) used as a model. This is only sufficient "average requirements" if it is essentially complete, comprehensibly justified and justifiable in the argumentation. As a predicate exam , which noticeably increases the later chances on the job market, the grade “fully satisfactory” is already considered. The percentage of failed examinations in the first state examination is around 32% in the federal average, in the second state examination around 18% - however, there are considerable differences between the individual federal states (in the 1st examination in 2007, for example, from 22% in Hesse to 48% in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania ). The national average of the passed candidates is about 7 out of 18 possible points in the first exam (overall grade). For the civil service (judge, public prosecutor) in most federal states at least a “fully satisfactory” is required. Large international law firms also usually expect this grade. This is why these professions are not available to the vast majority of lawyers.

Reform efforts

Although it has been redesigned many times since the 1960s, legal training is still considered tedious, inflexible and impractical.

Many students find university studies inadequate as preparation for state exams and therefore prefer to acquire the exam knowledge they need by attending costly commercial refresher courses. The one-sided orientation of the state examinations and the preparatory service to the needs of the state judiciary is also criticized , although the vast majority of lawyers later work as lawyers. The state ministries of justice responsible for training lawyers have therefore practically continuously been working on reforms since the 1960s . In particular, attempts were made to replace the legal clerkship with a practical phase integrated into the course ( single-phase legal training ); however, this concept has not caught on.

In order to make it easier for trainees to start working as a lawyer, various institutions mostly offer advanced training courses that are subject to a fee, which can usually be completed parallel to the traineeship; The subject is mostly practical legal and economic aspects of working as a lawyer. These offers include, in particular, the "DAV lawyer training" offered by the German Lawyers' Association .

Because of the Europeanization of legal training, in particular because of the conversion of degrees to Bachelor and Master degrees in the course of the Bologna process , various reform efforts and corresponding discussions have been ongoing since 2000. The particular problem here is the fact that training as a lawyer in Germany does not involve a university diploma , but rather two state exams and preparatory service .

Business lawyers

For some time now, the term commercial lawyer is no longer just a professional title for lawyers who mainly deal with commercial law. In addition to the classic legal training, there have been newer training courses at technical colleges and universities for some years now that lead to the academic degree LL.B. ( Bachelor of Laws ) or LL.M. ( Master of Laws ).

With the standardization of degrees on an international level, the diploma course and degree of business lawyer and business lawyer (FH) have been abolished. Basically, the bachelor's degree should be at the same level as the diploma from a university of applied sciences, the master the same as a diploma from a university. In practice, however, there are still (sometimes severe) recognition problems in society .

This course of study closes the gap that exists in the classical legal training with the necessary knowledge of business administration. This course has created a helpful alternative for companies, especially for jobs in the private sector. In addition to classic in-house advice, business lawyers can also be employed in many other areas of the company. The specialization of business lawyers takes place in the second part of the course or main course. This is where the priorities such as personnel, media, real estate law are determined. The focal points available to choose from are very different depending on the university. The selection is mostly based on the local conditions. For example, the focus on media is offered at the Rheinische Fachhochschule Cologne, at the media location Cologne. At the Universities of Bayreuth and Osnabrück there is also the option of completing additional training in economics as part of the classic law course. In Bayreuth , this is the " additional training in economics ", which entitles you to use the title "Business Lawyer (Univ. Bayreuth)" after passing the first legal (state) examination. At the University of Cologne there is a further education course in “Business Law”, which leads to the award of the academic degree LL.M. oec. , Master of Business Law ends. A comparable postgraduate course also exists at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena .

Career choice

Typical occupations of qualified lawyers are a lawyer , judge , prosecutor , notary and official in the career of higher non-technical administrative service . A significant percentage of lawyers working in legal departments of medium and large companies in the function of General Counsel advocates. In addition, a significant number of lawyers are active in the operational business and in the management of companies. Even political functions are disproportionately often perceived by lawyers. The lawyers make up by far the largest professional group among the members of the German Bundestag in the 16th electoral period with 23.3%, with administrative officials again dominating among the lawyers in the Bundestag.

Legal advice

In most countries, legal advice is reserved for attorneys, patent attorneys in the field of industrial property protection, legal advisers and litigation agents. However, there is a demand to abolish the legal advisory monopoly. According to an expert opinion for the 58th German Lawyers' Conference in Munich 1990, pp. C68 ff., Ulrich Everling states, “that none of the member states of the EU examined by him reserve legal advice to lawyers. Not even the paid commercial legal agency is subject to restrictions comparable to those in the Federal Republic of Germany in other states. In some states there are no admission requirements at all for professional legal advice. Only the use of the professional title of lawyer is bound to the usual requirements. In all of these countries everyone is free to give legal advice even without appropriate professional training and exams. "(DFG-VK Journal 4/3)

Altruistic legal advice - that is, driven purely out of social commitment and not harboring commercial or professional intentions - is, however, permissible in Germany under certain conditions of suitability even without a license to practice law. This results from a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of February 16, 2006 (NJW 2006, 1502) and a decision of the 3rd Chamber of the 1st Senate of the BVerfG of July 29, 2004 (BVerfGK 3, 348, NJW 2004, 2662).

In addition to legal advice, representation in court is reserved exclusively for licensed lawyers, patent attorneys before certain courts, as well as legal advisers or litigation agents, insofar as a lawyer is required. Other persons who deal with legal matters on a business basis are generally prohibited from appearing in court (exception: pension advisors with permission in accordance with Section 10, Paragraph 1, Item 2 of the Legal Services Act (RDG)).


A lawyer is someone who has completed a university degree in law and holds the academic degree of Doctor iuris , Magister iuris (with the optional female form Magistra iuris ), Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) or Master of Laws (LL.M. ) has been awarded.

After the university education, the court practice (court year) can be completed, in which practical legal knowledge is imparted. To become a judge, you take exams during the judicial year and are accepted (according to a certain quota) as a trainee judge. The legal profession requires a total of five years of professional activity in legal professions (court internship, university assistant, trainee lawyer). At least three years must be completed as a trainee lawyer in any case, whereby it should be noted that the court year must be completed in any case. After (a total of) three years, you can take the bar exam for the first time. After completing the entire five-year training course, you can be entered on the list of lawyers.

Details of legal training

According to § 1 RAO , the following requirements must be met for entry in the list of lawyers:

  1. the completion of a degree in Austrian law (see also § 3 RAO; for lawyers from the EU there is - in the sense of the "Morgenbesser" judgment of the ECJ - the option of an equivalence test)
  2. the practical use in the legal manner and duration (note: according to § 2 para. 2 RAO a total of 5 years, of which since 2012 in Germany at least 5 months with a court or a public prosecutor and at least 3 years with a lawyer as a trainee lawyer.)
  3. Bar exam (the exam itself is regulated by the Bar Examination Act (RAPG). You can take the exam after 3 years of practical experience at the earliest - 2 years of which as a trainee lawyer and 5 months of legal practice 8 hours each in the areas of criminal, civil and constitutional / administrative law and, in accordance with Section 20 RAPG, an oral examination in which an examination panel consisting of 2 lawyers and 2 judges examines you for approx. 4 hours)
  4. participation in certain training events
  5. the conclusion of a liability insurance

Exceptions to the entry in the list of Austrian lawyers exist according to the ÖEiRAG for lawyers who are admitted in an EU country and either a) have worked as a lawyer for 3 years in Austria or b) pass an aptitude test. Before that, European lawyers can apply to be entered on the list of the same name and are allowed to offer their services under the professional title of their respective home country. However, in proceedings in which representation by a lawyer is required (absolute or relative lawyer compulsory) - as long as they are not entered on the list of Austrian lawyers - you need an Austrian consensus lawyer.


In Switzerland , a lawyer is understood to be an academic who has either completed a law degree at a university or a technical college. The standard university qualification is the licentiate (usually lic. Iur.) Or a new master’s degree (e.g. MLaw, Master of Law). The title after studying law at a university of applied sciences is federal. dipl. Business lawyer FH or new Bachelor (BLaw) or Master (MLaw). Since the Bologna Process , universities and technical colleges have offered the first Bachelor degree (BLaw), which is usually awarded after three years of study. “Jurist” is not a protected professional title and also not an academic degree. Since the European harmonization of the degree program, lawyers have been able to request a confirmation of equivalence. Accordingly, a certificate confirms that the term “lic.iur” is equivalent to the term “Master of Law”. However, it is only permitted to use one of the two terms.

Lawyers with a licentiate or master’s degree are admitted to the bar examination after an internship of different lengths in the legal field ( law firm , court , etc.), which consists of an oral and a written part. After passing the exam, you can call yourself a lawyer (RA for short) and act exclusively in the legal monopoly area before courts. Due to the federal system in Switzerland, the cantons require different basic training courses from universities. The length of the internship also varies: in the canton of Solothurn it takes 12 months for lawyers, in the canton of Bern it takes 18 months. The cantonal legitimation of lawyers, however, was revoked and the practice of the profession was made possible throughout Switzerland in accordance with the Internal Market Act. The monopoly to act in the courts has been relaxed in a few cantons; There, persons of age who are generally honorable and capable of judgment, subject to legal restrictions, can represent others in court.

The largest law faculty in Switzerland can be found at the University of Zurich . The Zurich University of Applied Sciences and the Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences are so far the only universities of applied sciences that offer a law degree.

Baltic states

Quite high school in Riga ( RGSL )

In the Baltic States , a lawyer is generally understood to mean an academic who has successfully completed a degree in law at a university with a Magister (usually MA) or an equivalent Master (e.g. MLaw, Master of Law, LL.M., postgraduate course). There are Bachelor, Master, Magister and LL.M. Courses. English-language studies are also possible (for example, at the Riga Graduate School of Law in Riga or at the Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius , sometimes also at the so-called Law School of the Vytautas Magnus University as part of the master’s degree in Kaunas ) .

Legal language

The need to express oneself precisely and as unambiguously as possible in legal matters has led to a very distinctive technical language among lawyers. It is colloquially often called legal German or legal Latin. Many terms used synonymously in everyday language - for example property / possession or loan / lending / rent - have their own, clearly separated terms in the language of lawyers that are not known to the general public. Some politicians try to counteract this by sifting through legal texts for their general intelligibility . In doing so, however, the precision that generally characterizes German law is often lost.

See also


Training and job description

Basic biographical works

Web links

Commons : Lawyers  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikiquote: Jurist  - Quotes
Wiktionary: Jurist  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. University entrance qualification
  2. ^ Leibniz Universität Hannover - University Entrance Qualifications . In: www.uni-hannover.de. Retrieved September 3, 2016 .
  3. Law course (first legal examination) with an integrated Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) at the University of Potsdam. (html) University of Potsdam Law Faculty, 2017, accessed on November 9, 2017 .
  4. ^ Education statistics from the Federal Ministry of Justice over the last few years
  5. Further education course in business law at the University of Cologne
  6. Archived copy ( Memento of July 14, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  7. Archived copy ( Memento of March 9, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Decision of the BVerfG of February 16, 2006 - 2 BvR 951/04
  9. Decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of July 29, 2004 - 1 BvR 737/00
  10. www.llm-guide.com, Mykolas Romeris University