When is a sales contract legally effective? What rights and obligations do employees have? Which type of company pays which taxes? Germany in particular is known for the fact that there seems to be a paragraph for every area of living together. That may sound exaggerated. The fact is: there are several thousand laws and regulations and the number of individual regulations is in the hundreds of thousands. But since not every single possible dispute can be recorded, these legal texts have to be reinterpreted again and again in cases of doubt. This is where the lawyers come in. They are familiar with the jungle of paragraphs and apply the applicable law as lawyers or judges. They are never just dealing with dry legal texts, but always with human fates.
The law subject
The legal profession enjoys a high reputation in Germany and promises a good salary. This entices countless high school graduates to decide to study law. Law is one of the most popular fields of study. What most people do not consider: The training as a fully qualified lawyer takes years. The course is not only lengthy, but also demanding. For some it is worthwhile to find out about alternatives. There are now a large number of Bachelor and Master courses that are also related to the law. The course of study here is not only a lot faster, but under certain circumstances they may also be more likely to do justice to their own career aspirations.
The classic law degree: state examination
If you want to work as a “fully qualified lawyer” later and take up the profession of lawyer, notary public, public prosecutor or judge, you must complete a classic law degree. This consists of two parts :
- An at least eight-semester course of study, which ends with the first legal examination (1st state examination)
- A two-year practical preparatory service, the so-called legal clerkship, at the end of which is the second legal state examination (2nd state examination).
The classic law course is divided into a four-semester basic course and an equally long main course. During their undergraduate studies, students attend events in three main areas of law: public law, criminal law and civil law. At the beginning, they mainly learn simple legal issues. They discuss ethical and philosophical questions and deal with the history of law. The basic course concludes with an intermediate examination. Depending on the federal state, the students either have to pass a written exam or only have to achieve a sufficient total score from the written exams.
During the main course, the students continue to deal with the three main areas of jurisprudence. The case reviews are now much trickier than in the basic course. There are also new areas of law. Students can choose their own areas of specialization, such as canon law, European law or environmental law. Foreign language courses and seminars in rhetoric and negotiation complement legal training. At the end of the main course, students have to take the first state law exam.This consists of at least six exams and an oral exam. Because the diarrhea rates are very high, many students take a year or more to prepare and visit paid repeaters where they repeat what they have learned.
Once they have passed the exam, most students go to the two-year legal clerkship. They get to know different professional fields and work among others at courts, law firms and public prosecutors. Most stations are predefined. However, there is also an elective area that can be completed, for example, in the diplomatic service. The legal clerkship ends with the second legal state examination.
Bachelor and master’s degree in law
In the meantime, legal Bachelor and Master courses have also been introduced. These courses are often very specialized, for example in business law or IT law. They do not train as fully qualified lawyers, but are quite suitable, for example, to work in the legal departments of large commercial companies.
Bachelor of Law
The law degree can be completed in Germany at state and private universities. At private universities in particular, it is often possible to obtain a double degree. After three years, for example, students then receive the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) and after four years they can take the first state law exam.
Master of Law
Many lawyers use the new master’s courses to further enhance their qualifications. The master programs conclude with the title Master of Law (LL.M.). They put scientific work in the foreground and are partly comparable to a doctorate. Courses abroad are particularly popular, especially in the USA or other English-speaking countries. An increasing number of master’s programs are also being offered in Germany.
Those who want to study law should not only be interested in the prevailing law. A lot of discipline is required to cope with the high level of learning and the extensive exams. In order to be able to apply the laws correctly, however, not only a good memory, but also a confident use of the German language and the ability to think logically are required.
Anyone who has completed training as a fully qualified lawyer will most likely work as a lawyer, prosecutor, judge or notary later.
Jobs in large commercial law firms are also in demand. Other employers for lawyers are banks, insurance companies, business enterprises and parties. After a few years, many graduates set up their own law firm. They can specialize in various areas of law, and can also work as an editor or lecturer for legal publishers.
Those who want to go abroad can work for non-governmental organizations, the EU or the International Criminal Court. In any case, the final grade is important for your professional career. Only those who have passed both legal examinations with at least “fully satisfactory” will receive a “certificate exam “. This is a prerequisite for working as a public prosecutor or judge and is also required by many other employers.
Another important career factor is experience abroad. In the course of the Europeanization of law, more and more international contracts are being concluded, and international law enforcement is also increasing as globalization progresses. Large law firms, international organizations and supranational institutions such as the EU therefore pay very close attention to whether their applicants have knowledge of international law and sufficient foreign language skills. Studying abroad offers the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the jurisprudence of other countries and to train foreign language skills and intercultural skills.