The Month in Retrospect: What Else Happend in May

Featured

Robert BoyleThe Future is Female

In 2017, for the first time, a majority (52%) of lawyers newly admitted to the German bar were women, data published at the Anwaltstag showed. One could see this coming, as female law students have outnumbered men for quite a while. Overall, 34.7% of lawyers are women, and their share has been constantly rising for years: In 1970, only 4.5% of all lawyers were women. Their share rose to 7.6% in 1980, on to 15.1% in 1990, 24.6% in 2000 and in 2010, the female part of the profession accounted for 31.6%.

 

Lawyers Stick to Their Robes

The rule-setting body (Satzungsversammlung) of the German Federal Bar (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer) convened in early May. One item on the agenda was a proposal to abolish the duty of lawyers to wear a robe in court. A majority one can oly describe as overwhelming rejected the proposal: 70 members voted against, only two memers were in favour of the reform. I personally quite like the ritual of putting on the robe before a hearing, and I would like to believe that it helps see you as of their kind, in our role of officers of the court (Organ der Rechtspflege).

The illustration is taken from  the front page of Robert Boyle’s collcetion of essays (2nd Edition, London 1669).

Share and Enjoy

Germany’s Most Exclusive Bar Remains Exclusive

Featured

I have written here before about Germany’s most exclusive bar, the fourty or so lawyers admitted to the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) in civil matters. Every now and then, attempts are being made to reform this part of the German legal system. Mainly, these attempts take the form of challenges in the courts against the way the members of the bar are selected and appointed – thus far, these challenges failed. The current system has been upheld time and again by the Federal Supreme Court and the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht).

When the presidents of the German bar associations (Rechtsanwaltskammern), the self-governing bodies of the German legal profession, met earlier this month, two reform proposals for the Supreme Court bar were on their agenda. A very bold proposal suggested to abolish the exclusivity altogether and to open up representation at the highest court in civil matters to every lawyer. The second one was less revolutionary; it proposed to grant admission to those who qualified in a procedure similar to that for lawyers seeking to qualify as certified specialists (Fachanwalt) for certain areas of the law.

Continue reading

Share and Enjoy

Case of the Week: Federal Constitutional Court Allows Search of Jones Day’s Offices in Volkswagen Case

BundesverfassungsgerichtA little under a year ago, we reported that the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) had issued an injunction that stopped the Munich Public Prosecution Office (Staatsanwaltschaft München) to look into and use the documents it seized at the Munich offices of law firm Jones Day. A quick recap of the facts:

Jones Day has acted as counsel to Volkswagen in the diesel emissions matter since September 2015. It carried out an internal investigation, interviewing more than 700 Volkswagen staff, primarily in the context of criminal proceedings against Volkswagen in the United States. In March 2017, the Public Prosecution Office obtained a seizure order for the Jones Day offices in Munich and secured extensive documentation that stemmed from the internal investigation.

In July 2017, the Federal Constitutional Court ordered the Public Prosecution Office (Staatsanwaltschaft) München not to make use of the documents it seized and to have the documents put in custody with the Local Court (Amtsgericht) München, while the Federal Constitutional Court was considering the constitutional complaints (Verfassungsbeschwerden) filed by Volkswagen, Jones Day, and individual Jones Day lawyers. Today, shortly before the expiry of the second extension period, the court has dismissed all constitutional complaints.

Continue reading

Share and Enjoy

Case of the Week: Federal Constitutional Court Issues Interim Order in Jones Day/Volkswagen Case

BundesverfassungsgerichtThis Case of the Week is hot off the press – the case originally scheduled for today will have to wait: Today, the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) announced that it had issued a rare interim order in support of a constitutional challenge (Verfassungsbeschwerde) of the law firm Jones Day against a court order that allowed the seizure of potentially privileged documents from Jones Day’s Munich Offices. Continue reading

Share and Enjoy