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A syndic (from ancient Greek σύνδικος, administrator of a matter) is a lawyer who is employed as part of an employment relationship with a non- lawyer employer such as a company , association , professional body or foundation . The legislator has been using the term in-house lawyer since 2016 (see Section 46 of the Federal Lawyers' Act ).


While the term legal advisor characterizes all forms of legal processing in a company without separate approval from the bar association and does not require state examinations, the in-house counsel in German law is subject to the professional law of lawyers, i.e. requires passing the second state examination in law . Once he has been admitted, he is a member of the legal profession and is entitled to all legal professional rights and obligations.

job profile

The so-called dual occupation or second occupation theory initiated by the Federal Constitutional Court , according to which the syndicate activity and the legal activity represent two different forms of professional practice, has in the meantime been softened more and more and as a result almost eliminated. The jurisprudence also saw the activity of the syndic as a uniform form of the legal profession. However, the ECJ in case C-550/07 P Akzo / Nobel and in 2011 the BGH actively opposed this case law and adhered to the strict theory of dual occupations. Critics accuse the BGH of turning a blind eye to reality and the actual circumstances.

In-house lawyers advise their employer on all company-related issues relating to employees, customers and third parties. Classic fields of law are labor law, contract law, liability or insurance issues. Depending on the type and size of the company, the breadth and depth of the legal tasks of Syndizi vary.


Middle Ages and Early Modern Times

In the Middle Ages and in the early modern period , a syndic was responsible for the legal transactions of a city or a local authority. He advised the mayor and council on legal matters and drafted legal reports on their behalf. Often these were jurists who had studied common law ( ius commune ) - mostly Roman law ( corpus iuris civilis ), but occasionally also canon law - at a university . If a city had a city ​​clerk (head of the chancellery) with a corresponding legal education, he was responsible for the duties of the Syndicus. In addition to the urban syndici, there were also the landscape syndici. These were employed by the estates as legal advisors.

Syndicus in the Hanseatic cities

The Syndicus (formerly also Stadtsyndicus ) in Bremen and Rostock or the Senate Syndicus in Hamburg held a state office in the Free Cities of Bremen and Hamburg based on the Lübeck model as legal scholars and later lawyers. Today the position is also comparable to that of a State Councilor and representative of a Senator in his office and, in Bremen, also in the Senate.
See also:

executive Director

The managing director of a professional agency , a cooperative and also the legal expert of a commercial enterprise called himself in the 1920s and also in the post-war years after 1945 the legal counsel for chambers of commerce, business associations and foundations Syndikus; Plural "Syndici".

German lawyer law

With the law to reorganize the law of in-house lawyers, the law of in-house lawyers was reorganized on January 1, 2016. As in-house lawyers, you are Section 46 of the Federal Lawyers' Act if they are professionally independent and responsible for their work for the employer .

Upon request, they can be exempted from statutory pension insurance . Your retirement provision is then to be ensured through a professional pension fund .

Because of the obvious conflict of interests between the integration in the company and the obligation to follow instructions on the one hand and the free exercise of the profession on the other hand, German in-house lawyers are largely not allowed to act as lawyers for their employers in court, cf. Section 46c Federal Lawyers' Act .


  • Peter Hamacher: The in-house lawyer. In: DAV counselor for young lawyers. 12th edition, Deutscher Anwaltverlag, 2009, ISBN 978-3-8240-0838-4 , pp. 105–111 ( ( Memento from April 28th 2017 in the Internet Archive ) ).
  • Friedrich Bruns: The Lübeck syndicists and council secretaries up to the constitutional amendment of 1851. In: Journal of the association for Lübeck history and antiquity . Lübeck 29.1938, ISSN  0083-5609 , pp. 91-168.
  • Christoph Hommerich, Hanns Prütting: The job description of the in-house lawyer. Deutscher Anwaltverlag, Bonn 1998, ISBN 3-8240-5190-7 .
  • Siegfried Schwung: Think Global - What requirements are placed on in-house lawyers in the age of globalization? In: Betriebs -beratung (BB). Heidelberg 62.2007, ISSN  0340-7918 , pp. 2419-2423.
  • Melanie Haack: In- house lawyer job profile - legal manager. In: Legal Tribune Online , January 11, 2011.
  • Susanne Offermann-Burckart, The law to reorganize the law of in-house lawyers , NJW 2016, 113
  • Michael Kleine-Cosack, The legislator reorganizes: Breakthrough for the in-house lawyers, Anwaltsblatt 2016, 101
  • Martin Schafhausen, The SGB VI amendment in the law to reorganize the law of in-house lawyers, Anwaltsblatt 2016, 116
  • Doris-Maria Schuster, In-house lawyers: Consequences of the new law for the employment relationship, Anwaltsblatt 2016, 121
  • Susanne Offermann-Burckart, The new admission as in-house lawyer and its legal consequences, Anwaltsblatt 2016, 125

Web links

Wiktionary: Syndikus  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Judgment of the Court of Justice (Grand Chamber) of September 14, 2010
  2. ^ BGH decision of February 7, 2011 - AnwZ (B) 20/10, p. 473
  3. PDF at
  4. ^ Knauers Lexikon AZ, Munich a. Zurich, [1954], column 1691
  5. Brockhaus . [Handbook of knowledge in four volumes]. Leipzig 1924, Vol. 4, p. 319
  6. Federal Law Gazette I 2015, p. 2517