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A Guide on Becoming a Lawyer in Spain as a Foreign Graduate

Updated: Apr 3


Author: Dora Szentkereszti

Pubblication: 21.03.2024


Opportunities for professional development and cross-border experiences become more accessible as the world economy continues to change. Becoming a lawyer as a foreign graduate in Spain takes diligence and planning. Here is a guide for you if you’re thinking of becoming a lawyer as a foreign graduate.


Assessing Eligibility and Requirements


Before starting your journey to become a lawyer in Spain, the first step for you to do is to determine whether you are eligible for it. The Spanish legal system requires you to hold a legal degree comparable to the Spanish law degree. This typically involves obtaining a degree of Bachelor or Master of Law or equivalent from a recognized institution in your home country.


Validation of foreign studies


Once you’ve met the requirements, the following step is to validate your credentials in Spain. This process involves seeking recognition of your degree's equivalence from the Spanish Ministry of Education and obtaining a Certificate of Recognition (Homologación) from the Ministry of Justice. This certification verifies that your qualifications meet the standards required to practice law in Spain. In order to apply, first you need to get your documents translated into Spanish by a certified translator. This can be found in Royal Decree 967 / 2014, which lays out the homologation and declaration of equivalency to the degree and level of official university degrees. If you started your degree in a foreign country, but intend to finish it in Spain, you can also resort to convalidación, a partial validation of your already finished school studies to avoid repeating them. However, if you are a graduated legal practitioner you will need a full homologation to continue your practice in Spain.


Complying with the access system


After obtaining the corresponding Spanish Law Degree, you have to apply the procedure of access outlined in Law 34/2006, to get an official admission to the law profession.

If you have your Bachelor’s degree and are planning to finish your studies in Spain the access system consists of four points:


  1. Accomplishment of a training program (to Master’s Degree in Access to the Legal Profession)

  2. Fulfillment of an external practice period

  3. Completion of a professional aptitude assessment

  4. Signing up for the Bar Association

If you already have your Master’s degree and you are already a practicing lawyer in your respective home country then you can legally work in any other EEU under your home professional title.


Obtaining a Master's Degree or completing a training course and practice period


In order to receive access to the practice of the profession of a lawyer you have to fulfill the prerequisites for additional training and practice (Master's Degree in Access to the Advocacy or training course of access to the legal profession in bar of legal practice created by a bar association). To proceed through to gather your Master’s Degree you can apply for an LLM in an eligible Spanish university and finish a study program consisting of theoretical learning and practical internship under a supervisor in a legal workplace.


Passing the Access Test


After the training period has ended, you have to request registration for the exam at the Ministry of Justice. This examination evaluates candidates' theoretical and practical knowledge of law. Depending on the selected legal expertise, there are questions on both general and specialized topics.


Signing up for the Bar Association


Once you pass the exam, the Ministry of Justice assigns the Lawyer's Professional Title. Remember, that once you have the relevant practicing certificate, you must become a member of a bar association in order to practice law in Spain.

After the procedure, you can refer to yourself professionally as an "abogado" (Spanish for lawyer) and you will be bound by the same administrative, legal, professional, and deontological regulations that define and organize the Spanish legal profession


Conclusion


In conclusion, entry requirements for the legal profession are strictly regulated in Spain. Becoming a lawyer as a foreign graduate requires you to homologate your Bachelor's degree, finish your Master’s and internship in an accredited Spanish university, pass the bar exam, and sign up for the Bar Association. While it requires a lot of dedication, perseverance, and commitment, in the end, if you fulfill all the requirements, you can start a rewarding career path in Spain's legal profession.


 

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