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Why choose an attorney-at-law?

Why choose an attorney-at-law?

The titles of attorney-at-law and attorney’s office are protected by law and can only be used by lawyers accepted into the Finnish Bar Association.

Unlike American TV series would lead you to believe, in Finland, the synonyms “lawyer” and ”jurist” are not at all interchangeable with ”attorney”. An attorney-at-law is a lawyer specialising in defending the rights of his or her client: they are subject to stricter requirements and are more closely supervised than their colleagues who have not taken the bar. Not just any lawyer can serve as an attorney in Finland: only one in seven working lawyers is an attorney-at-law.

In other words, only experienced lawyers accepted into the Finnish Bar Association who have passed the exacting bar examination are permitted to use the title of attorney-at-law. (See the qualification criteria for attorneys-at-law).

What is an attorney-at-law?

  1. All lawyers in Finland hold the degree of Master of Laws and are referred to as “juristi” (formerly “lakimies”).
  2. But the professional title of attorney-at-law is protected by law.
  3. In order to qualify as an attorney-at-law, a lawyer needs several years of work experience and must pass a demanding three-part professional qualification test known as the bar examination.
  4. The services provided by attorneys-at-law are subject to more stringent quality criteria than those of other lawyers, and they are under much closer supervision than other legal practitioners.
  5. Attorneys-at-law are a small minority in Finland: only one in seven working lawyers is an attorney-at-law!

Work subject to high quality criteria

The services provided by attorneys-at-law are subject to stricter quality criteria than those of other lawyers.

  1. Attorneys-at-law have an obligation to maintain their professional competence: they are obligated to obtain continuing education for 18 hours each year. (see Continuing education for attorneys-at-law).
  2. Attorneys-at-law are also required to hold valid liability insurance with a minimum coverage of EUR 200,000. To ensure the legal protection of both attorneys-at-law and their clients, the Finnish Bar Association also recommends that its members draw up written contracts (mandate) for their commissions, indicating details such as the contents of the commission and basis for invoicing.
  3. Lawyers are subject to more stringent 24/7 supervision than any other profession. Read more about our supervision activities.

When you choose an attorney-at-law, you can rely on high-quality professional service. Legal assistance can be provided by other lawyers as well, but please keep in mind that they are not subject to the same criteria or client’s right to file a complaint as lawyers who work in an attorney’s office.

The quality of an attorney-at-law’s services is guaranteed by:

  • A university law degree (OTM/OTK)
  • The demanding bar examination
  • Minimum 4 years of professional experience in law
  • Suitability to serve as an attorney-at-law as defined in the Advocates Act and the Finnish Bar Association by-laws
  • At least 18 h/year of continuing education
  • Supervised 24/7, in their private lives as well as professional activities