We create more sustainable solutions
All of our activities are founded on responsibility. The Finnish Bar Association is a public corporation regulated by the Advocates Act, which promotes the availability of independent, professional and ethically impeccable legal services for every Finnish citizen – regardless of income or place of residence.
To us, responsibility means not only improving the judicial conditions in Finland, but also setting an example for responsible operations. We also support certain permanent partners, such as Amnesty International, with free visibility and campaigns.
Keeping Finland just and equal is important to us. To this end, when the regular work days of our voluntary attorneys-at-law end, they start writing the long statements required by the thorough drafting of legislation. Legislation is busy work, and the expert teams of the Finnish Bar Association do their part to eliminate gaps from the legislative bills passed by Parliament and ensure that all perspectives have been taken into account in them.
Our attorneys-at-law do volunteer work in many projects related to social responsibility, participating actively in projects coordinated by the Finnish Bar Association in addition to the social responsibility projects of their own law offices.
The audience of Pori Suomi Areena was treated to an unforgettable experience in the summer of 2018, when the Finnish Bar Association’s celebrity volunteer attorneys teamed up with improvisation troupe Stella Polaris for the wildly popular “Exä vai nyxä” mock trial. The intent was to show the public a truthful, if somewhat light-hearted, depiction of what goes on in a trial.
Attorneys’ on-call service – free legal advice for consumers
Free legal advice organised by the Finnish Bar Association’s chapters is available in sixteen localities around Finland. The attorneys on call can tell you whether you should seek legal assistance in your case and can refer you to the correct authority or an attorney-at-law versed in the appropriate field.
The promotion of equality is of paramount importance to us: social justice is impossible if every individual is not treated equally in our society. Indeed, the promotion of equality is constantly on our to-do list. Our reaction to the widely publicised #metoo campaign is but one example of this. In June 2018, we published a manual for the prevention of and intervening in sexual harassment for all law offices. We use regular surveys to keep track of how the manual has been received and its guidelines implemented by the offices. And we have also widened our investigations in this area – follow our channels to learn how!
Our best experts at the disposal of society
The Finnish Bar Association contributes to the improvement of judicial conditions in Finland by issuing statements on the legislative and other projects of the Ministry of Justice, the European Union, Parliament and various authorities. As a rule, the Finnish Bar Association’s judicial policy statements are drawn up as volunteer work by the Association’s teams of experts. We have roughly 125 top experts working in our twenty or so expert teams to improve society.
Legal education for schoolchildren
Attorneys-at-law give volunteer legal education lectures in secondary schools and upper secondary schools everywhere in Finland. The lectures on the rights and obligations of young people are free of charge for the schools.
Financial responsibility means having your operations on a financially sustainable basis, paying your taxes appropriately and combating the grey economy.
The prevention and exposure of money laundering and terrorist financing are a part of corporate responsibility. It is our duty to inform and supervise all attorneys-at-law with regard to money laundering and terrorist financing. This important work is done by the Bar Association’s specialised audit lawyer, who regularly conducts office audits at law offices around Finland. Law offices are required to make risk assessments of their activities and draw up guidelines for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, know their customers and observe due diligence in all of their operations. More information on these activities is available here.
The Association’s own financial activities have developed immensely over its hundred-year history. Upon the entry into force of the Advocates Act in 1959, Suomen Asianajajaliitto ry was closed down and transferred the majority of its assets, accumulated over the course of four decades, to the Finnish Bar Association Foundation. The foundation is still active as a body corporate independent and separate from the Finnish Bar Association. Its purpose is to develop and promote the activities of the attorney institution.
The Bar Association’s own activities are almost entirely funded by the membership fees paid by its members. In 2019, the membership fee for private attorneys-at-law is EUR 812 and that of public legal aid attorneys EUR 425. In addition to the annual membership fee, a supervision fee of EUR 238 is collected from both attorneys-at-law and public legal aid attorneys. More information on membership fees.
For the planet to remain habitable for future generations, every organisation, company and citizen must do their part to halt climate change. In this regard, our work has only just begun, but we hope to be able to report more concrete results on our own efforts next year. We have already achieved something, however.
Even bees are holding us accountable for ruining the environment. And the Finnish Bar Association is no exception!
Since the autumn of 2018, we have
- switched the majority of our meetings to teleconferences in order to avoid travel emissions;
- replaced coffee and doughnuts with fruit baskets for shorter meetings at our office;
- preferred salads, vegetarian meals and sustainable fish for meeting lunches;
- preferred public transport, and railways in particular, for all business travel;
- initiated the process of updating our old, paper-intensive association register to provide paperless electronic services to our membership in the future; and
- recycled all IT equipment, favouring organisations of small means that will benefit the most from the equipment.
We aim to join the Green Office network in 2020 or 2021.