Lawyers in Germany win home title rights

NON-EU lawyers practising in Germany can now use their home title thanks to legislation passed by the German Parliament.

The change, which has been effective since last month, was welcomed by foreign lawyers who have waged a long battle with the German government and bar authorities to have the situation changed.

“We are now allowed to describe ourselves as attorneys and don't have to use the title 'rechtskundiger' which means legal consultant and is something less than a fully fledged lawyer,” says Frederick Bartelsmeyer, Frankfurt partner at US firm Bryan Cave McPheeters & McRoberts.

Prior to the new rules, only EU lawyers in Germany could use their home titles, with those outside the EU having to demonstrate that their country offered reciprocal arrangements to German lawyers.

This was particularly difficult for US lawyers, as most US states do not have any such provisions.

US lawyers' voices were the loudest among those looking to have the previous position changed.

The situation was finally resolved by GATS, which laid down worldwide trading rules for services, including the legal profession, last year.