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How to Become a Lawyer in Germany

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Becoming lawyer is a popular career choice in Germany. According to a survey, there are total 121,420 registered lawyers in the Germany (see Reference 3). The German Legal education system is based on the philosophy of selecting judges from the group of best students who passed the legal training successfully. This process starts right from the schools where students are examined for education aptitude. The final examination, called “Abitur”, provides students necessary qualification to enter into the university. The law education in Germany is administered by the Ministry of Justice. There are two standard law degrees in Germany: LL.B (Bachelor of Laws) and LL.M (Master of laws).

Look for a well-regarded law school; those that are part of the state university system are free. Among the popular schools are Hamburg Law School, University of Munich Law School, and Bucerius Law School. You'll study for nine semesters before taking the first state exam.Subjects focus on the core areas of German law such as civil, criminal, public, business, and labor Law. Grades obtained in during the nine semester do not count toward the degree examinations.

Appear for the first degree exam either after completing eight or nine semesters. The exam is held by the state board in collaboration with superior court. It consists of a five-hour test, a supervised written exam, a four-week take-home exam, and a one-day oral exam with a panel of professors, judges, civil servants, or lawyers. The oral section counts toward one-third of the total grade.

Start a two-year period of legal training. This phase is under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Justice, comprising both theoretical learning and practical work. The two-year training program is divided into following stages: (See Reference 1) Six Months: Civil Law Three Months: Period with Criminal Court or Prosecution Department Seven Months: Public Law Four Months: Period with Lawyer

Take the second-degree exam to qualify finally as a lawyer. This exam, both written and oral, is held by the State Ministry of Justice and based on the two years of study during the legal training period. The written exam consists of a total of 11 papers, five hours for each paper. The questions for the papers are set by the judges and civil servants.


A student can take this exam twice; however, upon failing in the second attempt will end his/her legal career. The failing ratio is 40%. (See reference 2)


Scoring well in this exam is critical to get good job in competitive German legal job market.