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A primer on the Legal Profession in Italy:  Avvocati italiani - Italian Lawyers, Solicitors and Attorneys

Author: Stigi & Stiefel
Date: April 21st 2013
Practice area: General

Foreign and international clientele often ask us about the legal profession in Italy. Here is some basic background information concerning our profession and our training, which we hope  may be helpful for anyone approaching the, sometimes confounding, Italian legal system.

First, a little terminology. An "Avvocato" is the roughly the equivalent of a "Lawyer" or "Attorney at Law" in the United States and "Barrister" or "Solicitor" in the United Kingdom. In Italy there is no comparable distinction between Barrister and Solicitor.

In Italy, in order to use the title "Avvocato", the Attorney must have passed the State Bar Exam and be licensed with the Local Bar care of the Court District where he/she practices.

To become a Lawyer in Italy, one must first obtain a Degree in Law (Juris Doctor) from an Italian University, which entails five years of Law Study. Upon obtaining the Degree in Law, the Law graduate must then carry out two years of legal training with a licensed Attorney. During the internship, the trainee attorney (praticante avvocato) must  to attend Court hearing regularly with his/her mentor and engage in the drafting of legal briefs and contracts under the supervision of his/her mentor.

Upon completion of the training internship, the trainee attorney may sit for the State Bar Exam, which is "challenging, to use a euphemism.  The Bar Exam is composed of two parts. The first part is written and lasts three eight-hour days, during which the candidate must draft respectively, a legal opinion on a civil law case, a legal opinion on a criminal case and a Court brief in a matter of civil law, criminal law or administrative law (the candidate is free to choose among the three options). Only those candidates that pass the written exam (Normally about 30%) are allowed to take the oral exam. The oral exam  covers six areas of Law chosen by the candidate, which must include either civil or criminal law and civil procedure or criminal procedure, as well as legal ethics.

Italian Attorneys and Solicitors may represent their clients nation-wide in litigation before all Courts (Civil, Criminal, Labour, Bankruptcy, Tax and  Administrative Courts, as well as Courts for Minors) both on the first instance and appellate levels.  Italian Lawyers may also act as Attorneys-in-fact on behalf  their  clients in contractual and transactional matters, on the basis of an appropriate power of attorney.  

If you have a legal issue requiring legal assistance, please check out our website and don't hesitate to contact us.

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