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Useful Information

Practicing as an Italian attorney at law

26 March 2012, Nicola Canestrini

Italian lawyers ("avvocati") have gained the necessary qualification in Italy, which requires completion of an undergraduate law degree (Laurea in Scienze Giuridiche, three years), a graduate law degree (Laurea Specialistica in Giurisprudenza, a two years program which confers the title of Dottore Magistrale in Giurisprudenza), a two year apprenticeship, and passing of the professional Italian bar exam. Once registered at the Bar Association, an Italian attorney can practise Italian law nationwide, not just in the geographical area where the Bar Exam was passed. to be admitted before High Courts certain experience or another exam is required.

They are given the prefix "Avv.", which means "Avvocato", the italian attorneyship title. The Italian title "Avvocato" has three equivalent terms in English,  lawyer, solicitor or attorney.

Competencies of Italian solicitors are wide-ranging (but an Italian qualified lawyer unlike a Solicitor or a Notary, does not have the authority to certify legal documents). They comprise civil, criminal, labour, bankruptcy, financial, administrative, inheritance and also succession cases and appeals in a court of law: even if Italian ethical rules state that "in order to assure the quality of his professional activities, a lawyer shall not accept assignment if he knows that he is not in a position to carry out the representation competently",  client should be aware that specialization is not requested under italian law.

Due to the European standardisation, European legal titles are internationally recognised across Europe.

Legislation allows European lawyers to practice their legal profession in Italy under their existing original titles. The European lawyer "established" in Italy has the chance (under certain conditions) to acquire the Italian title "avvocato": this condition was standardised from the Italian law (decreto legislativo 02/02/96 n.96) and is equivalent to the European guideline 98/5/EC.

In order to gain the Italian title ?avvocato? (attorney at law), foreign lawyers must either take an aptitude test or have worked consistently and wholly for at least three years as a resident lawyer in Italian.

In such cases, after the completion of the required time period or meeting the demands of the aptitude test, the applicant is considered to have met the requirements for their full integration.

Under such conditions lawyers can entitle themselves to both "avvocato" and their original legal title (e.g.. Advokaat if he gained his professional title in Holland, or Avocat for French lawyers).
Read more about the Italian criminal trialextradition proceedings, and the Italian legal system.