Procedure descriptions


Applying for approval for a law firm

A law firm is a company with limited liability whose company purpose is advice and representation in legal matters. Should you wish to form such a company, you must obtain permission from the bar association.

Please note: The term "law firm" must be contained in the name of the company.

Lawyers must be admitted by the bar association in order to practise professionally. More detailed information can be found in the procedural description "Applying for a law firm permit"

Responsible authority

the Bar Association in whose district you would like to get admission


  • The company may not be involved in mergers for the joint carrying out of professional activities.
  • The shareholders, as well as managing directors of the community of lawyers are
    • all lawyers or patent lawyers,
    • tax advisors,
    • tax representatives,
    • auditors or
    • certified bookkeepers.
      These must be employed by the law firm.
  • The majority of the managing directors, proxies or persons authorised to represent the whole business operation must be lawyers.
  • The majority of shares and voting rights must be held by the lawyers.
  • The independence of the lawyers who are active as managing directors, proxies or persons authorised to represent must be guaranteed. Influencing measures of the shareholders, namely by means of instructions or binding contracts, are not permitted.
  • The law firm may not issue shares to third parties. Third parties may not share in the profits.
  • The company must not enter financial collapse. As an example, no insolvency proceedings may be opened.
  • The company must maintain professional indemnity insurance with a minimum sum insured of 2.5 million euros per incidence of loss. The presentation of a provisional cover undertaking will suffice.


You must apply for the approval of the law firm at the competent body in good time. Your application must be signed by hand or contain a qualified electronic signature.

Note: The bar associations of Tübingen and Freiburg only accept the application for approval of a law firm in writing, not electronically.

The form "application for approval of a law firm" can be obtained from the competent body or can be downloaded from the Internet.

The bar association will check compliance with the requirements and in case of a positive result, will issue a certificate concerning the approval of the law firm.

Note: The competent body can temporarily suspend the decision concerning approval of the law firm if proceedings are opened against a shareholder or person entitled to represent

  • whose purpose is to withdraw or revoke their licence or appointment or
  • a temporary suspension of practice or representation has been issued.

Required documents

  • Copy or officially certified transcript of the articles of association and the list of shareholders.
  • Copies of the shareholder resolutions concerning the appointment of managing directors, proxies and persons entitled to represent (appointment).
  • Admission documents of shareholders, managing directors, proxies and persons entitled to represent as a certified copy.
  • Proof of professional indemnity insurance.

The competent body may request further documents.


The permit must be obtained before the law firm begins trading.


Licensed law firms must immediately notify the competent body of the following changes:

  • Any change to
    • the articles of association,
    • the shareholders,
    • the persons entitled to represent, as well
  • as the setting up or closing down of branch offices.

The proof of change must be demonstrated by means of an officially certified copy of the respective document.


The following administrative fees can be charged by the bar associations for the admission of the legal firm:

  • Freiburg Bar Assocation: EUR 520,00
  • Karlsruhe Bar Association: EUR 500,00
  • Stuttgart Bar Association: EUR 500,00
  • Tübingen Bar Assocation: EUR 511,00

As a member of the bar association, the law firm is obliged to pay the yearly association fee. The respective association general meeting sets the amount.


Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Rechtsanwaltskammern Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart and Tübingen released it on 28.04.2015. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.