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The revolution of the profession is in motion

A very fast ticket to allow you to follow the evolution of the profession live.

I explained several articles, including the one on The gratification of students trainee lawyers: the perverse effect that in the not too distant past, young lawyers, sworn in, were automatically included on the list of their Home Bar and did not have the opportunity to settle individually to practice the profession. It was therefore imperative that they look for a law firm that would agree to employ them as a collaborating lawyer. Thus, most of the activity of the young lawyer is to take care of the files of the firm for which he works.

After two years (or more if the practice of the profession was part-time) and the fulfillment of training obligations, the young lawyer lost his trainee status and was registered in the Grand Tableau of the Order.

Until then, no problem.

The worry is that this practice, which has been going on for many years, was in breach of the rules of Community law which recalls the absolute principle of the lawyer's independence from his clients, even when they have other lawyers. However, I remind you what I said in my other article, we must not forget that, legally, for the collaborating lawyer, the lawyer "boss" is primarily a client of his, certainly a special status but customer all the same.

Thus, to comply with the rules of Community law, French law had to abandon the notion of internship, trainee lawyer and therefore mandatory collaboration.

This is the subject of one of the last laws on the profession, the law n ° 2004-130 of February 11, 2004  which puts an end to any reference to the Stage in the previous texts. I'll give you the details.

The important point was transitional measures. Indeed, what about lawyers who had started to practice under the old statute when the law came into force? This article of the UJA of Paris detailed at the time how things would unfold.

In any event, as of 1 st September 2007 and whatever the position of the lawyer before that date, the list of internship disappeared, causing the automatic passage of many lawyers at the Grand Table their respective Order and the possibility for everyone to settle immediately.

However, to settle when you are a young lawyer and especially in major cities of France and in particular Paris, you need a certain starting capital or / and a network of significant influence, to develop quickly its customers.

This is obviously not the case for everyone. Thus, even if it is no longer mandatory to go through the status of collaborator, for financial reasons and / or training, a number of young confreres are and will still be forced to get there.

Some feel however able to throw themselves immediately in the bath, even if to ask for a bank loan important to start in this profession. Indeed, even if during the first two years, flat-rate social charges remain affordable, structural expenses can represent significant expenses.

This is why the new President of Paris, Christian Charrière-Bournazel had proposed, some time ago in the bulletin of the CNB to set up a "nursery" of lawyers. He talks about it again today in the latest Bulletin of the Paris Bar  in which he explains that the "nursery" in question will probably be installed in the building which currently houses the  Bar School , the latter being transferred to a new building to be built in the 5 th arrondissement.

Le transfert de l'EFB est une bonne chose. Pour ceux qui ont eu à s'y rendre, l'immeuble qui fait cinq à six étages, si je me rappelle bien, est quasiment désertique. Il contient plus d'une centaine de salles, dont la plupart restent désespérement vides. Ce n'est pas qu'il n'y a pas assez d'élèves avocats puisque ce nombre augmente d'année en année, c'est juste que l'immeuble n'avait définitivement pas une superficie appropriée à ses fonctions.

This will now be more the case since it is planned to develop each "classroom" office to accommodate a lawyer. Thus, ninety individual offices of 10 to 12 m² will be created with meeting rooms on each floor, relaxation areas and a cafeteria in the basement, the rents are obviously set at preferential rates.

We spoke, some time ago, with other lawyers of the Blogosphere of the reform of the Legal Aid with the possibility of setting up a dedicated body of private lawyers who would treat only this type of files in premises specially reserved for this purpose and whose fees would be paid by the State.

Even if the "nursery" has not, for the moment, vocation to serve as a crucible of lawyers to the AJ, I feel well left for that, anyway, in the near future.

This seems to me a natural evolution of the profession towards a more Anglo-Saxon model that will at least have the merit of transparency, which is not always the case at present.

The first appointment with the lawyer: paid or free?

An article in the form of questions and answers adapted from a discussion that I had a while ago with a surfer and who shows a little how to correctly apprehend the first appointment with a lawyer.

In italics, the questions of the user:

I am entitled to legal aid and following my dismissal, I wish to meet a lawyer to know if I must put my employer before the prudhommes and what I can ask. Will the lawyer's consultation be billed to me and if so how many? Otherwise, who can I consult to obtain information on the opportunity to go before the prudhommes and what I could ask?

Let's be clear to avoid disappointment.

All consultations with a lawyer are, in principle, paid, which is normal (with the exception of consultations that are only intended to inform the client about the cost of the intervention of the lawyer). Each lawyer does as he wishes regarding the invoicing or not of the first consultation but few work for free.

We spend time on a file to assess whether our client is in his right or not: examine his pieces, listen to what he has to tell us about his situation, what he wants to do in the future, the advise on this and consider with him the opportunity to initiate a procedure or rather to try to amicably settle his dispute.

A lawyer may well refuse to take a person to legal aid. In fact, the lawyer, like any other person, has to support himself and the AJ allows him to collect on average a fee three to five times less than his usual fee.

To avoid paying for the consultation, you must already file your AJ file and a lawyer must be appointed. The latter can not then ask you for any fee, provided that it is designated to the total legal aid. Unfortunately, it will only be paid at the end of the journey if there is legal proceedings. Thus, even if initiating a procedure is not the best option, it will be much more likely to proceed as if it had not been designated under the AJ.

You can also go to a lawyer, pay for the consultation, see with him if your case is solid and then agree that he will assist you to start the procedure at the AJ if he accepts. It is a good solution.

Regarding the cost of consulting outside AJ, the lawyer's fees are free and depend on several criteria such as the difficulty of the case, the reputation and specialization of the lawyer. Competence has a price, in any case.

In addition, we can not compare a quick consultation to give "basic" information with a close consultation of nearly three hours that require prior research.

Thus, few lawyers do not charge the first consultation.

I totally agree with you that a lawyer should be paid for his work but in fact my main concern is that my financial means are weak and I hesitate to spend money if it's for nothing and I I do not have the slightest idea of ​​a simple consultation with a lawyer. I also think that with the legal aid, the lawyer should be paid from the beginning of the case that he must defend and in proportion to the complexity of it, you make a difficult job that must be recognized.

The state is unfortunately not of your opinion. To give you an idea, we receive less than 800 euros for a labor tribunal file at AJ, which corresponds to about six hours of work on the file.

Imagine, therefore, already a first meeting of two hours. As a rule, on labor court files, it is more like 15 to 20 hours of processing on small files and sometimes more than 100 hours on very large files.

A starting idea would be to go to the free legal consultations organized by the Orders in the Courthouses or also in some town halls. The consultation will last about twenty minutes but it can already give you a starting idea for free. Be careful to try to find a lawyer practicing labor law, this is not always the case.

If the file seems interesting, you can try a paid appointment with a lawyer practicing the subject (ask for the directory of the Order and look for lawyers specialized in social law or those whose labor law is the area of ​​activity ). The appointment will be billed generally between 60 euros minimum (for a short period of time) up to 300 euros (long appointment and study of the file).

It should be kept in mind that the lawyer is an investment in the future: his intervention relieves you of some of the stress due to the dispute and greatly increases your chances of success and especially your chances of obtaining a much more satisfactory for you.

Rights and duties of the lawyer Part 2

In the relationship with his client, the lawyer must maintain his moral and intellectual independence as well as his dignity. He remains master of the argument he will develop in court. If the behavior of the client jeopardizes these principles, for example by attempting to impose on the lawyer a line of defense that the lawyer considers inappropriate or by questioning his work or his competence, the lawyer may with impunity discharge the fulfillment of his mission and return the file to his client while collecting fees for the diligences already accomplished.

Indeed, it is worth remembering (but I will come back to it in a future article) that the lawyer perceives above all fees according to the time spent on a file. Thus, the simple fact that a person uses a lawyer to obtain advice on the advisability of a procedure makes him become a client of this lawyer and, de facto, a debtor against him, and this, whatever the results of this consultation ( judgment of 26 June 2008 , No. 06-11.227).

Some smart guys are also trying, without luck, to question the responsibility of their lawyer when the judicial outcome displeases them even though the lawyer was not yet or was no longer in charge of their case.

This is the case, for example, in a judgment of the Paris Court of Appeal which held that: "Only when the convocation was received before the Conseil de Prud'hommes, the lawyer could not, beforehand, warn his client … No fault in the conduct of the trial can be blamed on the lawyer who correctly defended his client … "(in this case, the client was sentenced to pay a sum of 2000 euros to the lawyer for improper procedure).

This is also the case in  a judgment delivered on October 4, 2000 (n ° 97-18.743) by the Court of Cassation which indicated that: "the lawyer, after having discharged his mission, had made the necessary preserve the interests of his former client at the hearing and that he was therefore no longer required to advise the subsequent judgment ".

The lawyer's mission ends with the return of the file to the client. He is therefore from this moment exempt from all diligence.

Anecdotal but it is a criticism often put forward also by the customers: the fact that sometimes, it is not the lawyer whom they charged of the file which pleads it with the audience but another lawyer (most often a collaborater).

If, at first, the Court of Cassation seemed to prohibit the replacement of a lawyer by another, its position has evolved and it now admits that, unless the lawyer has assured his client that he would plead personally his file, he may be replaced by a colleague from the same firm, provided that the customer is aware of this possibility.

Of course, the lawyer to whom the client has entrusted the file remains responsible to him, in case of difficulty. Thus, the importance of the intuiti personae link which binds the lawyer to his client is maintained, while taking into account the material contingencies of practice of the profession.

In any event, the Court of Cassation recalled in  a judgment of 8 July 2003 (No. 99-21.504) .that to see the responsibility of the lawyer engaged because of a fault he could have committed, he It is up to the client to show that this fault was the decisive cause of the loss of his trial and that, therefore, without this fault, he would have had a serious chance of winning his case, the mere loss of chance of having a fair trial is not enough.

It is the whole debate on the judicial risk that the lawyer can never guarantee in a certain way the judicial result and justifies the fact that it is invested with a simple obligation of means in this respect: to put all in to try to obtain the result expected by the client.

Of course, and conversely, the lawyer has an obligation of result when performing services that are not subject to any hazard. This is the case in his role of drafter of legal act, if he does not usefully advise clients on the scope of an act or if the act is poorly drafted, which cancels or diminishes the scope. This is also the case for all kinds of diligences, which must be part of a specific deadline.

It is often on this ground that the lawyer's responsibility is engaged, for example:

  • allowing a case to lapse
  • by letting a delay of appeal
  • by not informing his client in good time or sufficiently precisely about the remedies available to him
  • by losing parts of a folder

A denier point on the prescription of actions in liability against lawyers.

The law n ° 2008-561 of 17 June 2008 on the reform of the prescription that has this type of action is now prescribed five years in all its components, against ten for assistance before court and thirty advice, delay in the loss or destruction of parts remaining unchanged. No contractual arrangement is possible.

In conclusion, before brandishing the threat of engaging the professional liability of your lawyer because you have lost your case, think ahead and ask yourself whether your lawyer really did or did not commit a fault. In the vast majority of cases, you will find that you are reacting out of spite and going astray.