Joining the bar
Who can become a member?
Not every lawyer is accepted into the bar. The Board of the Finnish Bar Association approves new members according to statutory criteria. Only lawyers employed in an attorney’s office or working as a public legal aid attorney are eligible for membership.
Those seeking to take the bar must
- be at least 25 years of age;
- have obtained a Finnish law degree other than Master of International and Comparative Law; or
- have completed a law degree outside Finland and received a final decision by the Finnish National Board of Education on the equivalence of their degree to the Finnish Master of Laws degree in accordance with the Act on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications (1385/2015). Further information is available on the website of the Finnish National Board of Education.
- must have at least four years of work experience in law, two of them in advocacy;
- must have passed the bar examination;
- cannot be bankrupt and must have full legal capacity;
- is known to be honest and suitable for the profession of attorney-at-law with regard to his/her lifestyle and other characteristics;
- must be independent; and
- must work full-time as an attorney-at-law.
Reconciling work with family life is possible for attorneys too!
- If you have taken the bar in another EU Member State, you can apply to be included on the EU list maintained by the Finnish Bar Association. After working for three years as an EU-list attorney, you will be eligible to apply for membership of the Finnish Bar Association.
- If you have obtained a law degree abroad, you must obtain a decision from the Finnish National Board of Education on the equivalence of your degree with the Finnish Master of Laws degree before taking the bar examination and being awarded the title of attorney-at-law.