Legal Ethics Education in Germany
Keywords: Professional Ethics, Comparative Law, Legal Education.
“In a culture where income has become a crucial measure of status,
the market for morality is bound to suer.” Deborah L. Rohde1
In the last twenty years, the number of attorneys (Rechtsanwälte2) in
Germany has risen dramatically.3 Recent legislation has even opened the
eld of legal services to other actors.4 An increase in competition can
lead to improvements in the overall provision of legal services through an
increase in specialization and a resulting increase in the quality of legal
services, but it can also provide an incentive to engage in less than ethical
behavior for attorneys. e deregulation of the legal profession, requires
that greater attention is paid to legal ethics. While legal ethics are of
utmost importance to the everyday work of attorneys, formal professional
responsibility education is often limited. is text aims at describing the
role of legal ethics (as opposed to legal rules regulating legal professions5)
in the regulatory framework applicable to German attorneys6 from the
perspective of legal education. It is written under the assumption that
1. Deborah L. Rohde, Personal integrity and professional ethics, in R L
E: T S N I 28, 32 (Kieran Tranter et al. eds., 2010).
2. Singular: Rechtsanwalt (male form), Rechtsanwältin (female form). In order to
increase the readability of this text, if the female and the male form is used the
other form is meant to be included as well as there are no discriminations between
between men and women in this regard.
3. See B, S “E Z
A ” (2014), available at http://
(last visited May 2, 2014).
4. Michael Kleine-Cosack, Verschärfter Wettbewerb auf dem Rechtsberatungsmarkt:
Inkrafttreten des Rechtsdienstleistungsgesetzes, 7 N J 289 (2008).
5. On the role of such rules in German legal education see the forthcoming text
“Professional Rules for Attorneys as a Subject of Legal Education in Germany” by
6. On ethics for judges and prosecutors see Kirsten Stand, Berufsethik für Richter
und Staatsanwälte, NRB M 45 (Jan. 2013), available at http://