Statement on the Position Paper of the Presidium of the Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer (BRAK)

Anger paper of the BRAK

In this week’s position paper, the German Federal Bar Association (BRAK) demonizes all loosening of lawyers’ professional law and condemns legal tech offerings outside of law firms (“maximizing profits at the expense of those seeking justice”). What specific proposals is this rage paper actually directed against? Are the ranks to be closed here? The demands for more freedom of organization are becoming louder and louder, especially within the legal profession. After all, lawyers are not allowed to offer contingency fees or litigation financing, nor are they allowed to take on non-lawyer partners. Unlike legal techs, which operate without a law firm. The imbalance is so absurd that there is now a broad debate about liberalizing the legal profession.

So the BRAK is trying to stop what can no longer be stopped. And even more. Because via the Bundesrat, an attempt was recently made to ban contingency fees for legal techs as well. That would be a trip down memory lane, after the Federal Court of Justice already clarified last year that these remuneration modalities are part of an open and developable advisory service in the legal tech sector (wenigermiete.de, November 2019).  

But the BGH also said: lawyers must take their fate into their own hands if they want to compete sensibly. And that means creating freedom for themselves. And to get rid of the glorified self-image of a judge-like profession, which is now being conjured up again by the BRAK (“The orderly democratic constitutional state urgently needs an independent profession”).

Where does the bizarre idea come from that only lawyers do not pursue “profit maximization” in their jobs, while legal techs turn the law “into a commodity”? Legal techs have made a massive contribution to improving consumer protection in recent years, particularly in the area of consumer claims, such as the enforcement of the rent brake, diesel complaints, protection against dismissal, the fight against incorrect Hartz IV notices, or flight delays. Because they relieve plaintiffs of the cost risks, build up knowledge and create negotiating power for the small players.

The Legal Tech Verband Deutschland, which was only founded in the summer of 2020, is transcending the professional perspective: we are bringing together law firms, legal tech companies, software houses, media companies and legal protection insurers to leverage the gigantic potential of technological innovation in the legal market and break the narrow confines of lawyers’ professional law. This fall, we will present a comprehensive reform proposal for the law governing legal advice in Germany – from out-of-court legal advice to lawyers’ professional law to lawyers’ corporate law. Come on board!