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The procurator
from Jost Amman's book of estates (1568)
Lawyers from Honoré Daumier's perspective

Lawyer ( listen ? / I ) ( in Switzerland also called advocate , advocate and advocate , depending on the canton ; from German rehta , Old High German reht : "to judge", anawalt : "violence") is a professional title for legal counsel. Together with patent attorneys , tax consultants and auditors and (in some cases ) notaries, he is one of the liberal professions providing legal and economic advice . With all matters relating to the profession of lawyer is concerned - since 1988 in Germany and institutionally - the Legal Profession . One speaks of a “titular attorney” when it comes to licensed attorneys who do not take on mandates . They often use the job title for image reasons or in order to be able to become a member of a lawyers' pension fund and to acquire pension entitlements there. In addition, Section 17 (2) of the Federal Lawyers' Act (BRAO) allows the competent bar association to grant a lawyer who has waived his / her license due to old age or infirmity to continue to call himself a lawyer. Audio file / audio sample


Lysias (approx. * 445 - † 380 BC), well-known Greek logographer

In ancient Athens , a litigant had to represent its case in court with two pleadings . A friend or relative was allowed to support one of these parties as an “advocate” or synegor ( ancient Greek συνήγορος synēgoros ). Anyone looking for professional help could describe the case to a logographer . The logographer then wrote a speech that the litigant memorized and delivered to the court. The logographers differed from the synegors in that their task was limited to drafting the pleading and they were active for a fee, which the synegors were forbidden. There were no lawyers in today's sense. The rhetoric came in democratic Athens of the fourth century BC. Was of outstanding importance, especially in the popular assembly and in the courts, which were occupied by lay judges determined by lot . There were numerous rhetoric teachers and rhetoric manuals emerged. The Greek philosopher Aristotle distinguished rhetoric into three types:

  1. Court speech (gr.γένος δικανικόν (génos dikanikón) , lat.genus iudiciale )
  2. Advisory speech; political decision-making speech ( gr.γένος συμβουλευτικόν (génos symbouleutikón) , Latin genus deliberativum )
  3. Praise and celebratory speech ( gr.γ .νος ἐπιδεικτικόν (génos epideiktikón) , Latin genus demonstrativum or genus laudativum )

He defined rhetoric as "the ability to look at what is possibly convincing (pithanon) in anything". Aristotle already criticized contemporary rhetoric teachers for neglecting the argument and aimed exclusively at arousal of emotions , for example through behavior such as whining or bringing the family to the court hearing, which prevents the judges from making a relevant judgment. An impressive testimony of how rhetoric and legal arguments could also interact can be found in the speeches of Demosthenes and Aeschines in the trial report on About the Wreath of Honor .

Since it wasn't everyone's mind to find the right words in court, there were later professional speakers who were also allowed to speak in court, but whose knowledge of the law was of secondary importance. Rather, they only had to master the art of rhetoric in general to influence the judge's decision.

The Roman emperor Augustus granted individual jurists the right to issue legal opinions or responses . It can be assumed that these highly consecrated reports were of the nature of judgment and that the lawyers in question therefore had a very large, almost legislative competence. For the first time lawyers became a recognized and protected, state-controlled, socially uniformly organized professional group. Previously as a pure private person free of this, the Princeps could now intervene and regulate. In jury courts, before which any citizen could indict with the popular lawsuit , the defendant was allowed to have advocates (similar to lawyers but not lawyers ) appear on their behalf. In addition to the assessors in court ( assessors ) and the activity of the respondent lawyer , the activity of the speaker in court came into consideration. These advocates were probably of a different quality than the pure respondent lawyers. While the latter were certainly theorists and specialists, the advocati were often very pragmatic defenders of their clients. Often they were only trained speakers who, in turn, had legal advice or a rather low legal education. These were called not only advocati, but also togati (who were clad in the toga) because they had to wear the ancient garment of the toga in the late Roman period . Whether they were speakers or had a specialist training can only be speculated. A decree of the Emperor Leo from AD 460 stipulated training as a lawyer as a prerequisite for such activities, but apparently only referred to the highest court.

Little is known about the historical beginnings of the legal profession in Germany.

Sachsenspiegel, Schwabenspiegel

A lot can be found in the Sachsenspiegel . This was written around 1220–1233 by Eike von Repgow . Eike von Repgow emphasizes that the Saxons were able to enforce some regulations against Charlemagne's occupation law. Therefore, many of the regulations of the Saxon mirror did not only apply since 800, but also in the centuries before Christianity. Scattered in the land law of the Sachsenspiegel are some regulations that reveal the Germanic roots of legal activity. It is the Vorspreke . In some Swiss cantons, the professional title of advocate has been retained. Originally, however, it was less about advocating for someone than about auditioning for him. Process-related formalities had a similar, if not greater, significance than they do today. Every free man had the right to represent his case in court himself. If he made a mistake, the mistake could no longer be healed. Therefore there was the possibility of having someone else speak instead of himself. The advocate had to be male. He was not allowed to be a clergyman, legally or legally incapable of litigation or be under imperial ban. The judge was obliged to ask the party whether they would accept the words of their advocate against them. This could confirm, deny or ask for time to think about it. If a party did not confirm the words of its advocate, they could not be taken into account. Every man capable of justice was obliged to assume the office of advocate if the judge appointed him to do so. Exceptions apply to named cases of a conflict of interests. In the case of sexual offenses, the judge had to provide a guardian for the injured party as a legal representative if no member of their clan was available.

The Sachsenspiegel does not expressly state that there were people at the time who regularly worked as advocates and received money for it. But there are two indications for this. If both parties wanted the same man as their advocate, the decision was up to the judge. Either the advocate had to be well-known or wealthy, or to provide the judge with guarantors for the fines that could be imposed on him personally before he was allowed to act. Even in the case of family ties, it seems doubtful whether one wanted to be liable for someone else's trial. The advocate will have paid for this liability risk appropriately.

In Art. 87 of the Schwabenspiegel , essential points of professional law were regulated as early as the late Middle Ages. The advocate should only represent those who were believed to be right. If he helped his party in a fraud trial, he personally had to pay high fines to the judge and the injured party. The judge could appoint the advocate to represent a poor party free of charge. After all, the attorney's duty of confidentiality and the prohibition against representing conflicting interests were also known.

Modern times

English barrister in robe (around 1900)
French lawyer in Robe (around 1910)

With the reception of Roman law in Europe since the High Middle Ages , court proceedings were professionalized and functions were created that were occupied by trained lawyers . Here, a profession of professional lawyers emerged who represented one party in the trial before the court, the so-called procurators . In addition, there were other lawyers who maintained contact with the person seeking justice, advised clients and also provided legal support for them in extrajudicial transactions, the so-called advocates . The lawyers prepared the legal dispute and provided the procurator with the written preparation. However, in some countries this separation between lawyers and procurators only existed before the highest courts.

In Germany this dichotomy was known in the southern German regions, which had originally been under Roman administration. In the land law of the Schwabenspiegel, which was first recorded around 1275, a distinction was made between the advocate, who represented in court, and the counselor. Both could ask for money for their work. Similar to today, the advocate was prohibited from agreeing a contingency fee. However, he could request reimbursement of his travel expenses separately. In contrast, it was regulated for the counselor that he received no wages for bad advice and, if necessary, was liable for any resulting damage. This is where the saying good advice is dear developed. Since the regulations of the Sachsenspiegel and the related Schwabenspiegel applied to legal proceedings held by the king himself or under the spell of a king, the division of the legal duties was later limited to the proceedings before the Reichshofrat or the Reichskammergericht .

Since the end of the 16th century, the division of the legal profession in continental Europe has been increasingly relaxed and largely eliminated with the legal reforms of the Napoleonic era, so that the professional profile of a uniformly active lawyer emerged in the course of the 19th century. At first in Prussia during the time of King Frederick II, the advocates became state officials as "court and assistant councilors". From 1780 "judicial commissioners" were introduced for the area of ​​voluntary jurisdiction, foreclosure and bankruptcy and for the notarial system. In 1793 Prussia abolished the assistant councils and made the judicial commissioners linguistically "lawyers" in 1849, but initially they remained state officials until the Lawyers' Act of 1878 made the legal profession a free, state-independent profession. The 20th century was characterized by an increasing specialization of the legal profession, which continued with the introduction of further specialist lawyers in the 21st century.

The two-part system is available today in Spain , where the traditional names "lawyer" ( abogado ) and "procurator" ( procurador persist), and in through the legal tradition of the common law influenced legal systems in England , Wales and other countries of the Commonwealth , where the litigation attorney's procurators are called “ Barrister ” and the out-of-court lawyers are called “ Solicitor ”.


Lawyers have the task of helping their clients to obtain their rights through the rule of law. For this purpose they can advise or represent anyone, unless they have previously advised or represented the other side in the same matter or other representation bans - e.g. B. a previous activity as a notary or mediator , which is required to be neutral . The partisan advocacy is the profession characteristic feature of lawyers.

As part of the consultation, the client is informed about the legal situation, his chances of success, the possibilities of securing evidence and the costs incurred as well as the cost risk.

Anyone can be represented by a lawyer in any proceeding before authorities or courts. The lawyer acts as defense counsel in criminal proceedings or administrative fines . In civil proceedings , the regional courts , higher regional courts and the Federal Court of Justice are obliged to be represented by a lawyer. The same applies to other types of proceedings for the higher authorities. The purpose of this so-called compulsory lawyer is to relieve the higher levels of jurisdiction, since factual clarification work and legal preliminary assessments are to be carried out by the lawyers before the action is brought and during the process.

The Legal Services Act , which came into force on July 1, 2008 , replaced the Legal Advice Act that had previously been in force . Out-of-court legal advice has been opened to a greater extent to non-lawyers. For the core area of ​​legal services, i. H. Especially the representation in court, the lawyer monopoly still applies.

The Federal Lawyers' Act (BRAO) does not exhaustively list the general duties of lawyers. Section 1 of the BRAO defines the lawyer as an “independent body responsible for the administration of justice”. Section 3 BRAO states: “The lawyer is the independent advisor and representative in all legal matters.” Sections 48, 49 and 49a BRAO specify the duties of legal representation in civil proceedings under certain conditions, for compulsory defense and for advisory assistance . The professional code of conduct for lawyers (BORA) states in § 1 paragraph 3 the following tasks of the lawyer: "... to protect his clients against loss of rights, to provide legal support, to avoid conflicts and to resolve disputes, to protect them from wrong decisions by the courts and authorities and against unconstitutional interference and to secure state transgression of power. ”The independence of lawyers and the protection against unjustified persecution because of their lawful professional practice is also secured by international standards, such as B. the recommendation of the Council of Europe on the free exercise of the legal profession or the UN basic principles regarding the role of lawyers.

In the abstract, the meaning and tasks of the legal work can be broken down as follows:

  • Legal drafting (More complicated legal transactions that are important for the economy would often be omitted without legal help in drafting contracts. However, the involvement of lawyers by ministries for drafting bills is controversial)
  • To inform those seeking legal advice about claims and counterclaims and to secure evidence
  • out-of-court enforcement of claims (through letters of formal notice, contractual penalties ). Contractual penalties and the counterparty's obligation to bear the costs also help to prevent future legal violations
  • Relief of the judiciary by advising against filing a lawsuit if there is no chance of success (filter function for the courts), out-of-court dispute resolution by concluding out-of-court settlements (thus also contributing to legal peace ), mediation (in these cases the lawyer acts as a mediator and not as a representative of a party )
  • To provide procedural assistance for the processes before the courts (clarification of the facts and arrangement of the statements, legal statements)
  • Control of jurisprudence lower courts on legality, possibly with the consequence appeal appeal
  • Carry out procedural acts (for example: raise objections, conclude settlements, lodge appeals)
  • to contribute to the development of legal interpretation , in particular case law , and to legislation through participation in professional organizations, articles in specialist journals or comments .

According to rough estimates, 80% of the legal work on mandates consists of clarifying the facts and 20% of the subsequent application of the law.


In 2012, there were 51,585 female lawyers in the German legal profession. They make up 32.56% of the legal profession. Women were first allowed in Germany by the law on the admission of women to the offices and professions of the administration of justice of 11 July 1922 (RGBl. 1922, 573) to acquire the qualification for judicial office and thus the prerequisite for admission to the legal profession. On December 7, 1922, the Bavarian State Ministry of Justice was the first woman in Germany to have the assessor Miss Dr. Maria Otto to the legal profession.

In Austria , women were only allowed to study law with the enforcement instructions on the admission of women to legal and political studies, to the theoretical state examinations and to doctorates in law and political science at the German-Austrian universities of April 22, 1919. Accordingly, it took a while before the first female lawyers were able to take up legal practice. The first female lawyer to work in Vorarlberg , Anna Jahn, opened a law firm in Feldkirch in 1958.

Before that, women had been banned from appearing in court on their own behalf or as advocates for others for well over 1,000 years. The ban can be found in the Roman Digest, the Sachsen- and the Schwabenspiegel. It is justified by the fact that a Roman woman Calpurnia / Calefornia behaved very improperly in court, namely presented her bare bottom to the emperor with hearty words. Since Calpurnius was a Roman noble family and Calpurnia u. a. the third wife of Gaius Julius Caesar was called, the ban on representation seems to date back to the early days of the Roman Empire.

By judgment of January 29, 1887, the Swiss Federal Court rejected Emilie Kempin's (née Spyri) request to allow her to represent parties before the Zurich courts. Emilie Kempin-Spyri was the first Swiss woman to study law and the first woman in the entire German-speaking region to complete her habilitation (at the University of Zurich). She invoked the general article of equality in the federal constitution before the federal court. The Federal Supreme Court describes their interpretation of the constitutional article and their demand for equality as “just as new as bold”.

After various cantons (including Zurich, St. Gallen, Basel-Stadt, Geneva and Neuchâtel) had admitted women as lawyers, the Federal Court changed its mind in the judgment of February 24, 1923. Dora Roeder was barred from practicing law in the canton of Friborg because she was not an active citizen as a woman (ie because, like all women at the time, she was neither entitled to vote nor to vote). The Federal Supreme Court described it as an inadmissible restriction of the economic freedom guaranteed by the constitution not to admit women to the legal profession. It stated that the canton of Friborg had only put forward prejudices and outdated ideas about the exclusion of women from the legal profession. In the meantime, women could no longer be denied the intellectual and moral freedoms they need for the profession of lawyer.

In 2017, the Swiss Bar Association had 10,165 members, 2,956 of whom are women (29.08%).

Admission, starting salaries and member statistics

The prerequisite for admission as a lawyer (in Germany) is the qualification for judicial office , i.e. training as a fully qualified lawyer. An exception is made for the unification treaty for such lawyers in the GDR as " graduate lawyer who worked as a lawyer." They were allowed to continue working as lawyers, even without being fully qualified lawyers. In Switzerland , after completing their university studies, lawyers have to pass a bar exam, which is regulated differently from canton to canton.

Lawyers are admitted by the bar association in whose district they want to settle and are entered in the register of lawyers there . Admitted attorneys must provide evidence that they have taken out professional liability insurance for attorneys (financial loss liability insurance ) for advisory errors and that there are offices at the location of the attorney's approval. In the oath of service before the bar association, lawyers must undertake to uphold the constitutional order and to conscientiously fulfill the obligations of a lawyer ( § 12a BRAO). The approval can be withdrawn by the competent bar association, especially in the case of overindebtedness (financial collapse) and gross violations of professional law .

For lawyers from other EU countries, from a contracting state of the European Agreement on the European Economic Area and Switzerland, admission can be granted after three years of work in Germany and under German law. In the case of shorter work in German law, it is based on a special aptitude test. The details can be found in the Law on the Activities of European Lawyers in Germany (EuRAG).

Lawyers from third countries can settle in Germany in accordance with ( § 206 BRAO), but only advise on legal issues in their home country or international law.

Ratio of licensed attorneys / residents in Germany from 1991 to 2008

There has been a long-term trend in the number of lawyers towards a doubling of the number of legal admission figures over a period of 12 years, which has also been referred to as the “lawyer glut”. In 2011 there were only 525 residents for each licensed attorney, which statistically led to a corresponding drop in sales. For comparison, based on the year 2006: USA: 270, Italy: 454, England: 490, Switzerland: 1,032, Austria: 1,751, Russia and CIS: 7,520, Vietnam: 24,824. Since there are no admission restrictions for lawyers in Germany - in contrast to notaries - the career prospects for young lawyers without additional qualifications or professional experience gained during training in law firms were sometimes unfavorable, depending on the exam grade. However, highly qualified young professionals (e.g. two distinctive exams, doctorate, additional degree in foreign law) can achieve starting annual salaries of € 100,000 to € 140,000 in large law firms.

Since the turn of the millennium there has been a decline in growth rates and also in absolute growth in Germany. In 2016 there was for the first time a - very small - decrease (0.2%) to 164,406 lawyers.

Professional law

The lawyer is a professional , not a trade . Legal professional law applies to him , which is legally regulated by the Federal Lawyers ' Act (BRAO) and the Lawyers' Remuneration Act (RVG). The lawyer profession is a classic chamber profession in Germany ; all lawyers are compulsory members of the local bar association responsible for them . The bar associations are u. a. responsible for compliance with professional law. The Federal Bar Association is the umbrella organization and is responsible for the constitutional assembly. This further elaborates the professional law by way of self-administration through the professional code (BORA) and the specialist lawyer code (FAO).

The German legal system sees the lawyer as an "independent body responsible for the administration of justice " (§ 1 BRAO ). This “organ formula” was first used by the Court of Honor for Lawyers in a decision of May 25, 1883. In terms of content, this means that the lawyer is not only obliged to his client , but also to the legal system ; however, the interests of the client take precedence within the framework of the law. It is an organ of the administration of justice on an equal footing with the judge and public prosecutor . The lawyer must therefore not deliberately present the untruth in court. He is also not allowed to act if he is already representing or has represented the other party on the same subject in dispute. The relationship between lawyer and client is constitutionally protected: the lawyer and his employees are not only subject to confidentiality , there is also a right to refuse to testify to all courts, public prosecutors and the police about what the client has entrusted to his lawyer. The reference files of the lawyer may be seized neither seen nor.

Specialist attorney

A lawyer who has particular theoretical and practical experience in a certain area of ​​law can obtain permission from the bar association responsible for him to use the title “ Specialist for ...”. The details of admission as a specialist lawyer are regulated by the Specialist Lawyers Act (FAO). There are currently specialist lawyers for: agricultural law , labor law , banking and capital market law , building and architectural law , inheritance law , family law , commercial legal protection , commercial and company law , information technology law , insolvency law , international business law , medical law , tenancy and residential property law , migration law , social law , tax law , criminal law , transport law , copyright and media law , public procurement law , traffic law , insurance law and administrative law .

Most recently, in November 2015, the Articles of Association decided to introduce the title of specialist lawyer for migration law.

Each specialist lawyer has to provide proof to his competent bar association that he has received further training in his area of ​​expertise or has published scientifically.

The number of specialist lawyers rose to 53,866 as of January 1, 2017.

Attorney notary

By government order, a lawyer in Berlin, Bremen, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and - with exceptions - in North Rhine-Westphalia a license as a notary in addition to professional ( lawyer notary ) (§ 3 para. 2 BNotO ) were obtained. If he acts as a notary in a matter, he notarizes z. B. a sales contract or a will, he must neutrally represent the interests of all parties involved and may not act as a lawyer in this matter before or afterwards. He then does not receive any fees as a lawyer, but the mostly lower fees as a notary.

In other federal states, notaries are appointed by the state in their main occupation, who are then not allowed to work as lawyers at the same time (so-called “only notaries”).

The application process for lawyer notaries according to the Federal Notary Act was reorganized in 2009. This was preceded, among other things, by the Tired Theses .

Lawyer mediator

The appropriately trained lawyer (Section 5 of the Mediation Act and Section 7a of the Code of Conduct for Lawyers ) may also mediate as a lawyer mediator . In these cases he leads independently, neutrally and impartially through a confidential and structured procedure for the out-of-court settlement of a conflict (§ 1 and 2 paragraph 3, sentence 1 Mediation Act). The legal mediator may not act in cases if he has previously worked for a party in the same matter (Section 3 (2) of the Mediation Act). He is also not allowed to act for a party in the same matter during or after the mediation.

Lawyers can also act as party representatives to accompany their clients in mediation proceedings. In these cases the lawyer does not act as a mediator. Training as a mediator is very helpful for party lawyers in mediation. Party attorneys are particularly helpful in phases 4 to 6 (collection of possible solutions, assessment and specification, final agreement), as the mediator has to avoid legal advice because of his impartiality .

The mediator's fees are usually agreed at hourly rates of 125 to 400 euros (depending on the importance of the matter and the number of parties involved). It is also possible to provide an additional settlement fee in accordance with the Lawyers' Remuneration Act if the mediation leads to a final agreement .


A syndic (also: in-house lawyer) is a lawyer who is employed by a company. Because he is bound by instructions from his employer, he is not allowed to represent him like a lawyer in court ( Section 46 of the Federal Lawyers' Act ).


The remuneration of lawyers is regulated by law in the Lawyers' Remuneration Act (RVG), which replaced the Federal Fee Regulations for Lawyers (BRAGO) on July 1, 2004 . The amount of the remuneration is determined in accordance with the remuneration list (Appendix 1 to the RVG). In addition, an individual fee agreement between lawyer and client is possible and has even been the rule for out-of-court activities since July 1, 2006 ( Section 34 RVG). This is to be distinguished from the remuneration agreement according to § 3a RVG, which may be agreed instead of the statutory fee facts and amounts of the RVG, e.g. billing for legal work on an hourly basis.

A success fee in the form of a share fee ( quota litis ) was - unlike in the USA - fundamentally inadmissible in Germany. After a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court, the legislature had to allow exceptions to this. According to the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court, performance-based remuneration must be permissible if it takes account of special circumstances in the person of the client that would otherwise prevent him from pursuing his rights. The law on the new regulation of the prohibition of agreeing contingency fees of June 12, 2008 came into force on July 1, 2008. It has created a new § 4a RVG, which declares a success fee to be permissible under very strict conditions.

Clients who are not financially able to raise attorney's fees can apply for state advisory assistance and legal aid . This includes the standard remuneration and cannot be exceeded by agreement ( Section 44 , Section 50 (2), Section 3a (3) RVG).



According to the Federal Bar Association, the average gross income of employed full-time lawyers in Germany deviates significantly from the average personal annual surplus of self-employed full-time lawyers (as of 2016).

Employed full-time lawyers

The average gross income of employed full-time lawyers differs according to the form of the law firm. While the average gross income of employed full-time lawyers in Germany in individual law firms is 45,000 euros, this figure in law firms is 71,000 euros. West German gross incomes are on average higher than the corresponding gross incomes in eastern Germany (as of 2016).

Independent full-time lawyers

The average personal annual surplus for self-employed full-time lawyers nationwide is 94,000 euros (as of 2016). At 103,000 euros, the value in western Germany is significantly higher than the east German value of 70,000 euros. Self-employed full-time lawyers with notaries (attorney's notaries) who only work in parts of western Germany achieved an average personal annual surplus of EUR 183,000 (as of 2016).

Full-time independent lawyers without specialization earned a personal surplus of 57,000 euros nationwide in Germany in 2016. On the other hand, full-time lawyers who were specialized but did not have a specialist lawyer title achieved a personal surplus of 95,000 euros. In contrast, the personal annual surplus for specialist lawyers was 106,000 euros.

The average values ​​of the personal annual surplus per partner (according to the form of the law firm) in Germany in 2016 can be read from the following table:

Law firm form Average annual profit
per partner (as of 2016)
Sole lawyer (federal territory) 071,000 euros
Sole Attorney (West Germany) 078,000 euros
Sole Attorney (East Germany) 055,000 euros
Local law firm (federal territory) 125,000 euros
Local law firm (West Germany) 133,000 euros
Local law firm (East Germany) 091,000 euros
Supra-local partnership (federal territory) 165,000 euros
Supra-local law firm (West Germany) 188,000 euros
Supra-local partnership (East Germany) 130,000 euros

In the last decades of the 20th century, parallel to the increasing number of active lawyers ( lawyer glut ), the economic situation of independent lawyers has steadily deteriorated. While in the 1970s and early 1980s lawyers, along with doctors and dentists, were among the highest-earning professions in West Germany, the real value of the average gross income fell sharply in the period that followed. The average gross income of these lawyers was around 79,000 DM in 1971 (real value 2020: around 134,000 euros), in 1977 it was 111,000 DM (real value 2020: around 137,000 euros) and in 1983 around 136,000 DM (real value 2020: around 129,000 euros). In contrast, the average annual surplus of West German lawyers in 2002 was only around 65,000 euros (real value in 2020: around 84,000 euros). Only since the 2010s has a slightly positive development been seen again.

Law firms and other professional associations

Lawyers can work alone or together with other lawyers.

In the so-called office communities, each of the lawyers remains independent and only shares the office with his colleagues.

More common, however, is the association of lawyers to form professional associations, commonly known as societies . Lawyers of a partnership, the sozien, appear under a common name. In the vast majority of cases, these law firms are legally organized as a society under civil law . Partnerships, which in addition to the partners listed on the letterhead, can also have other lawyers working as employees, are usually organized in the form of a partnership or (less often) a corporation . Often there are law firms that are represented in different places (supra-local law firms). There are also law firms in Germany that have several hundred partners. These are mostly international law firms whose German partners have joined forces with English or American law firms in a lawyer network . Globalization has resulted in the largest German law firms being dominated by either British or American law firms.

It is forbidden for a law firm for its part to participate in another law firm (cf. § 59c (2) BRAO).

German Lawyers Association

The German Lawyers Association was founded in Bamberg in 1871 to represent the interests of German lawyers. After the state-ordered formal dissolution of the association in 1934, the DAV was re-established after the Second World War .

Since then, the individual lawyers are no longer members of the DAV, but the local lawyers' associations. Around 250 local lawyers' associations are organized in the DAV, which together have over 67,000 lawyers as members. In contrast to the bar associations, membership in the bar associations is voluntary.

The DAV operates, among other things, a free legal information service, which those seeking advice can use to name lawyers in their local area for a variety of areas of law.

Legal liability

A distinction is made between attorney's liability towards the client in the event of breaches of duty arising from the lawyer's contract and liability towards non-clients, ie damage to third parties due to legal misconduct. In both cases the lawyer is obliged to pay damages. The claim for damages against the lawyer expires within the so-called regular limitation period of three years to the end of the year (§§ 195, 199 BGB). The period begins to run with knowledge or grossly negligent ignorance of the claim.

The lawyer is obliged to take out financial loss liability insurance with an insured sum of at least EUR 250,000 per insured event ( Section 51 BRAO).

Foreign lawyers in Germany

The law on the activity of European lawyers in Germany regulates the practice of the profession and admission to the legal profession in Germany for European lawyers in addition to the Federal Lawyers' Act (BRAO). In the case of cross-border activities, the professional rules for lawyers of the European Union of the Council of the Bar Association of the European Community (CCBE) must also be observed.

Lawyers from non-European countries can settle in Germany in accordance with Section 206 BRAO.

To make it easier to search for a lawyer in the European Union, a search function was opened on December 8, 2014 on the European Union's e-justice platform : “ How do I find a lawyer? "(English:" Find a lawyer "). This search function was developed jointly by the Council of European Bar Associations (CCBE) and the EU Commission . So far, lawyers from 17 EU member states can be searched for and found by city, zip code, name, as well as specialist lawyer titles (“additional professional title”) or language skills.

See also



  • Christian Booß: In a golden cage. Between SED, State Security, Ministry of Justice and client - the GDR lawyers in the political process . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2017, ISBN 978-3-525-35125-3 .
  • Gerhard Commichau , Thomas Fresemann: Lawyer Laws. DeutscherAnwaltVerlag, Bonn 1997, ISBN 3-87389-321-5 .
  • German Lawyers Association and Institute for Legal Training at the Distance University in Hagen (Ed.): DAV lawyer training. Volume 2: Theoretical training. Deutscher Anwaltverlag, Bonn 2005, ISBN 3-8240-0749-5 , p. 11 ff. (Chapters “The lawyer in society”, “A brief history of the German legal profession”, “The legal profession from a sociological point of view”)
  • Deutscher Juristinnenbund (Ed.): Jurists in Germany, A Documentation (1900–1989). 2nd Edition. J. Schweitzer Verlag, Frankfurt 1989.
  • Gerhard Hartstang: The German lawyer. Legal status and function in the past and present . CF Müller, Heidelberg 1986, ISBN 3-8114-1186-1 . (outdated)
  • Wolfgang Hartung, Volker Römermann: Legal professional law. 2nd Edition. Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57797-0 .
  • Kai von Lewinski: Outline of legal professional law. 3. Edition. Nomos-Verlag, Baden-Baden 2012, ISBN 978-3-8329-7833-4 .
  • Fritz Ostler : The German Lawyers 1871–1971 . Legal publishing house W. Ellinghaus & Co, Essen 1971.
  • Michael Streck : Profession: Lawyer . CH Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-47140-4 .
  • Dieter Trimborn von Landenberg (ed.): Starting successfully as a lawyer . Deutscher Anwaltverlag, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-8240-1240-4
  • Joachim Wagner (journalist) : Attention lawyer. A profession between mammon and morality . Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-406-66683-4 .
  • Karl Welker (ed.): From the origin of legal self-administration. Justus Möser and the lawyer . Göttingen 2007.
  • Uwe Wesel: Risk attorney . Blessing, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-89667-065-4 .


  • James C. Foster: The Ideology of Apolitical Politics: The Elite Lawyer's Response to the Legitimation Crisis in American Capitalism: 1870-1920. Associated Faculty Press, 1987.
  • Robert Granfield: Making Elite Lawyers: Visions of Law at Harvard and Beyond (Critical Social Thought), Routledge, 1992.
  • Duncan Kennedy: Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy. New York University Press, 2004.
  • Elizabeth Mertz: The Language of Law School: Learning to "Think Like a Lawyer". Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Jean Stefancic, Richard Delgado: How Lawyers Lose Their Way: A Profession Fails Its Creative Minds. Duke UP, 2005.

Web links

Wiktionary: Lawyer  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Lawyer  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

European Union





Individual evidence

  1. ^ Thietz-Bartram: The Socrates Trial: A miscarriage of justice?
  2. Aristotle: Rhetoric I 2, 1355b26 f.
  3. The 18th
  4. Aisch 3
  5. ^ Kunkel : Origin and social position of the Roman jurists. 2nd Edition. Vienna 1967, p. 41.
  6. Kunkel / Schermaier : Roman Legal History , 13th edition. Cologne 2001, p. 186.
  7. Kunkel / Schermaier: Roman legal history. P. 73.
  8. Kunkel / Schermaier, Roman legal history. P. 186.
  9. Kunkel / Schermaier, Roman legal history. P. 146.
  10. ^ Mirror of the Saxons. In: World Digital Library . Retrieved August 13, 2013 .
  11. Hanns Prütting, lawyer and court in interaction since 1850, Anwaltsblatt 12/2018, pages 662–664
  12. Kilian in: Anwaltsblatt 5/2015, p. 398.
  13. ^ BRAK announcements of the Federal Bar Association 3/2012 in June 2012.
  14. StGBl. 250/1919.
  15. ^ Alfons Dür: 150 years of the Vorarlberg Bar Association . Ed .: Vorarlberg Bar Association. Manz, Vienna 2019, p. 52 .
  16. BGE 13 I 1. In: Retrieved June 23, 2019 .
  17. See on Emilie Kempin-Spyri:
  18. BGE 49 I 14. In: Retrieved June 23, 2019 .
  19. Who we are. In: Accessed April 30, 2020 .
  20. Genesis-Online - database of the Federal Statistical Office Germany: Code 12411-0001 "Population: Germany, reference date" (enter code in search!) (Accessed on October 1, 2009)
  21. ^ Archive - statistics of the Federal Bar Association. Retrieved November 27, 2017 .
  22. Matthias Kilian, René Dreske (ed.): Statistical Yearbook of Lawyers 2015/2016 . Deutscher Anwaltverlag & Institut der Anwaltschaft, 2015, ISBN 978-3-8240-5432-9 , p. 24 ff .
  23. Development of the number of admitted lawyers from 1950 to 2010. (PDF) Accessed on November 27, 2017 .
  24. ^ Heussen, The density of lawyers in Switzerland, Austria and Germany in relation to other countries - An international comparison. In: law practice in 2006, 392, 396 .
  25. ↑ Starting salaries: The 100,000 euro bait ( Memento from December 8, 2006 in the Internet Archive )
  26. ↑ The number of lawyers is falling . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of May 30, 2017, p. 17.
  28. Federal Bar Association . Retrieved November 27, 2017 .
  29. Ekkehart Schäfer: Independent and free. Legal self-administration. Berlin, 2009
  30. ^ Gerhard Wolf: A New Historians' Dispute? - On the origin of the “organ formula” , in: JuS 1991, p. 976.
  31. ^ New specialist lawyer for migration law , press release of the Federal Bar Association of November 9, 2015, accessed on March 15, 2018.
  32. Federal Bar Association , statistics on the development of specialist lawyers since 1960 (PDF; 44.1 kB)
  33. Exception: Areas under Rhenish law (OLG district Cologne and OLG district Düsseldorf with the exception of the right bank area of ​​the LG district Duisburg and the AG district Emmerich).
  34. See Section 49 b (2) of the Federal Lawyers 'Act in the version of September 2, 1994 (Federal Law Gazette I, page 2278) and Section 49 b (2) sentence 1 of the Federal Lawyers' Act in the version of May 5, 2004 (Federal Law Gazette I, page 718)
  35. BVerfG decision of December 12, 2006, 1 BvR 2576/04
  36. Federal Law Gazette I, page 1000ff
  37. ^ Statistical reporting system for lawyers. In: , accessed on September 17, 2019.
  38. Average gross income of employed full-time lawyers. In: , accessed on September 17, 2019.
  39. Year-over-year average personal surplus. In: , accessed on September 17, 2019.
  40. Year-on-year average personal surplus with or without a notary's office. In: , accessed on September 17, 2019.
  41. Year-on-year average personal surplus by specialization. In: , accessed on September 17, 2019.
  42. Year-on-year average personal surplus in individual law firms. In: , accessed on September 17, 2019.
  43. Year-on-year average personal surplus in law firms. In: , accessed on September 17, 2019.
  44. Year-over-year average personal surplus. In: , accessed on July 7, 2019.
  45. German Lawyers 'Association: German Lawyers' Information
  46. EU-wide lawyer search .