Law is a fascinating field of study and profession. In Romania, the essential condition for practicing law is the completion of a four-year Bachelor program at an accredited law school. After graduation, students who want to become as lawyers must pass the Bar exam, which is a multiple-choice exam with 100 questions.
We can practice from quite a young age
In theory, a person can be a qualified lawyer in Romania at 22 years old. Unlike the US, students in Romania do not need to complete any college or post-high school education to enroll in a Law University and therefore, they can finish law school and be eligible to take the Bar exam at 22.
After getting a law degree and passing the Bar exam, you can become a trainee lawyer (avocat stagiar) and must practice, for two years, alongside a fully qualified lawyer (avocat definitiv). As a trainee lawyer, you can only plead before low courts. After two years of practice, trainee lawyers must pass an exam to become fully qualified lawyers, who can plead before any court, except for the High Court of Justice and Cassation.
We do not wear a wig in court, but we do wear a cape
One of the most memorable scenes in all legal-themed television series and movies history must be the scene of Ellen in Legally Blonde, when she shows up to court in her hot-pink suit.
However, in real life and especially, in Romania, this could not be done. It is not only because a hot-pink suit is not really the most appropriate outfit choice for a lawyer, but also because of the obligation to wear robes in court. You can wear a pink suit, but under the robe. In 2004, Law 255/2004 for the organization and exercise of the legal profession was adopted. Under this law, the Romanian lawyers are obliged to wear a robe in all court proceedings, regardless of whether it is a court of first instance, appeal or the Supreme court
However, unlike the UK barristers and the Queen’s Counsel, Romanian lawyers do not wear wigs!
There are no barristers and solicitors
In the UK, there are two types of practicing lawyers: solicitors and barristers. Solicitors generally handle office work, whereas barristers plead cases in court. Barristers depend on solicitors to provide them with trial work because they are not allowed to accept work on their own
In Romania, there is no difference between lawyers, like the barristers and solicitors. There is only one category of lawyer, the ‘avocat’ (attorney-at-law), who can draft legal paper, and also represents its clients in court.
We are a separate profession from prosecutors
In many countries, prosecutors are also lawyers who represent the state’s interests in criminal proceedings. And in order to become prosecutor, you must first pass the Bar exam and qualify as lawyer. However, under the Romanian legal system, a law graduate can directly opt to take the Magistrate exam, which is a special school for graduates who want to become judges or prosecutors. Therefore, a Romanian prosecutor does not need to be a lawyer first.
We are (sort of) a cult
Well, not really a cult, but Romanian lawyers do have a separate entity that is responsible for their taxes and retirement funds. This entity is called the Romanian National Union of Bar Associations (UNBR), and it is a legal person of public interest comprising all Bar Associations in Romania. Lawyers must pay monthly contributions to UNBR, which are used mostly for pensions or maternity leaves.
Legal Intern R&R Bucharest
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