Lawyer (m/f)

This section contains specific information on procedures and on the relevant legal basis for this occupational group. Also relevant for European lawyers.

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Professional Recognition


The selected profession is regulated in Germany. This means that state regulations require possession of specific qualifications to practice the profession.

If you obtained your law degree in the EU, EEA or Switzerland you may

  • pursue practical legal training at courts or in public administration (Referendariat). Upon completion of training and passing the second state examination in law you are entitled to practice the profession of lawyer
  • or of European lawyer. If you are granted a licence you practice your profession as it is designated in the country of origin. If you meet certain requirements, you may also be licensed as a German lawyer.

In both instances the competent authorities must establish the equivalence of your foreign qualifications with the corresponding German qualifications.

You can use the Recognition Finder to identify the correct competent authority for your occupation.

Information on the procedure


The procedure is only applicable to people who have earned a law degree in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland.

Possession of a qualification to hold German judicial office is a precondition for pursuing employment as a lawyer (Article 5 German Judiciary Act - DRiG). This means that you must pass two state examinations in law. Law studies in Germany conclude with sitting a first state examination in law. The second state examination is taken at the end of the subsequent period of practical training (Referendariat). In addition, the Chamber of Lawyers must issue approval to practice law.

You must be registered as a European lawyer with the competent body in your country of origin and be admitted to practice as a lawyer by the German Chamber of Lawyers to pursue the profession of European lawyer. If these conditions are met, you can practice your profession in Germany and hold the title bestowed in your country of origin. After three years, you may then be admitted to practice as a German lawyer if you provide sufficient proof of knowledge of German law or proof of work on a sufficient number of cases.


If you were licensed to practice the profession on a self-employed basis in your country of origin, you may submit an application for admission to pursue the profession of European lawyer

  • if you obtained your law degree in the EU, EEA or Switzerland or
  • already hold the title of European lawyer.

If you do not yet have admission to practice as a lawyer, you may submit an application to take up practical training (Referendariat) if

  • you hold a law degree from a university within the EU, EEA or Switzerland which entitles you to pursue post-graduate training as an attorney at law in that state and
  • your knowledge of German law is equal to that of a German university graduate. The equivalency review will verify whether or not these requirements are met. Firstly, your certificates, examination certificates and other documents (e.g. proof of relevant work experience) will be reviewed to determine if you have adequate knowledge of German law.
  • If no equivalence or only partial equivalence of your qualification is determined, you can apply to take an aptitude test. The aptitude test is a written test to determine if you can demonstrate knowledge in the areas for which you could not provide sufficient proof in your application documents.
  • If the outcome of the review is positive, you are entitled to pursue practical legal training at courts or in public administration anywhere in Germany.

Applications are accepted independent of your citizenship or residence status.

Ethnic German resettler
If you are an ethnic German resettler (Spätaussiedler) on the legal basis of the Federal Expellees Act, ask the competent authorities about any peculiarities in the procedure which may affect you.

Legal Basis

Coronavirus: Fewer recognition services

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some services for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications in Germany are currently not available.

You can learn more about recognition from us whenever you like. Take some time to read our information, available in 11 languages! Then you will be well informed for the next steps.

Via the Recognition Finder you can find out everything about the recognition procedure for your occupation, which documents you need and where you should send your application: › To the Recognition Finder

Our FAQ provide answers to the most common questions about recognition:  › To the FAQs

You can find out which services are not available or only available to a limited extent by checking our information page on the current situation: › To the information page