The Spanish government is pushing for Spanish lawyers to train beyond law school before they are able to practise.
Spain is the only country in the EU that does not require lawyers to take an intermediate step between completing law school and becoming fully qualified. After law school, those who pass simply pay for entry into the Colegios de Abogados, the Spanish equivalent of the Law Society, and are then free to advise clients. But the government now wants access to the profession to be more regulated. It has created a working party within the ministry of justice to explore ways of making this possible. The government has tried similar initiatives before, but they were abandoned in the face of huge opposition from law students. A spokesperson for the Spanish Ministry of Justice explained the current situation. "At the moment, you go to college for five years, and then you can open your own law firm. The government now wants to change this, but students think they will not have the time for any further study," he said. Latham & Watkins Spanish counsel Juan Manuel de Remedios predicts resistance from the Colegios de Abogados, because it will provide it with less perceived power. "In Spain, law school is seen as a good general training for business," he said. "Many people pass law school, register as lawyers, but don't practise. Because of the current situation, the Colegios de Abogados can count all these people as lawyers. Regulating entry into the profession may mean that only practising lawyers can be counted as members of the Colegios. This would cause numbers to drop, meaning that the Colegios would have less perceived power."