The steps involved in an Italian legal career
The Italian word, Avvocato, has three equivalent terms in English: lawyer, solicitor or attorney.
The path to becoming an Avvocato in Italy involves several years of study and internships. Future lawyers first need to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in law, (Laurea in Scienze Giuridiche), which takes three years. To proceed along the path towards practising law, students require a two-year post-graduate degree (Laurea Specialistica in Giurisprudenza) or, a further five-year Master’s Degree (Laurea a ciclo unico Magistrale in Giurisprudenza).
Once the aforementioned qualifications have been attained, an Italian attorney then needs to complete a two-year internship at an established law firm and must pass the Italian Bar Exam before being able to practice.
After passing the Bar Exam and registering with the Italian Law Society (Consiglio dell’Ordine degli Avvocati), an Italian attorney can legally practice Italian law nationwide, not just in the geographical area where the Bar Exam was passed.
What is an Italian attorney’s scope of legal practice?
The legal competencies of qualified Italian solicitors are wide-ranging. They comprise civil, criminal, labour, bankruptcy, financial, administrative, inheritance and succession cases as well as courtroom trials and appeals.
Are Italian lawyers subject to a code of conduct?
Yes. A strict ethical conduct code governs the Italian attorney’s performance of their duties. First of all, Italian attorneys must base their conduct on respect for integrity, dignity and decorum. Failure to comply with the ethical code of conduct leads to disciplinary proceedings.
The legal profession must be carried out with honesty and integrity. It is not permissible for an Italian attorney to start legal action or take part in a proceeding, which may be construed as a lawyer acting in bad faith.
The Italian legal code of conduct safeguards the client; an Italian attorney has a duty of care and loyalty towards a client. An Italian attorney behaving contrary to clients’ interests, or taking on a case that they are not competent to conduct, would be a breach of the code of conduct.
Another fundamental duty for an Italian attorney is confidentiality. This refers to services provided to a client and information given to a lawyer by the client, or known to the lawyer through other circumstances. Confidentiality remains valid for information about former clients, or where the attorney, despite knowing the details of a case, does not agree to take on a case.
The relationship between an Italian attorney and a client is fundamentally based on trust; an attorney must defend a client’s interests as well as possible within the framework of legal representation and in compliance with the law and the ethical principles of the legal code of conduct.
At De Tullio Law Firm, we have extensive knowledge and experience of Italian and international law. For over 55 years, we have been providing expert legal services throughout Italy. Whatever your legal need in Italy, get in touch with us for a free consultation.
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