Profession of company lawyers in Europe



There are various branches of the legal profession in the European Union such as judges, advocates, notaries, academics, bailiffs, etc. Moreover, there are several national variants throughout the Member States. Most of these professions have the following common characteristics:

charged with the duty of providing a public service. This  latter feature entails certain particularities such as the use of robes,  wigs or other attributes of authority, as well as the possibility of  the State becoming involved in the management of the body or council concerned in order to establish rules to safeguard the public interest. Therefore they are not governed by the common law applying to private associations.

capacity and thus acquire some degree of personal reputation  on this basis. The corporate forms in which members of some professions  are permitted to organise themselves (notably as a result of recent developments) enable the individuals concerned to enjoy the economic and commercial advantages of being part of a firm while maintaining their individual identities.

  • They are very ancient and as such, are organised as monopolistic  bodies which govern access to the profession, regulate use of the title ascribed to members of the profession, define the ethical rules which apply to members and also exercise disciplinary powers over them.
  • In Europe, these bodies are frequently private organisations  although
  • The members of these professions generally practice in an  individual

These traditional professions have a high degree of stability in that members tend to practice throughout an entire career within the same profession and, indeed, frequently do so within the same geographical area.

The profound industrial and economic changes of the post-World War II era, characterised on the one hand by the globalisation of trade with its accompanying deregulation and, on the other, by the complexity of new sets of regulations protecting citizens and consumers, have progressively lead corporations,' starting with the larger ones and followed by smaller sized companies, to recruit lawyers to work full time for them in-house.

More by Colm Manin, former President of ECLA


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