LexisNexis

Israel International Trade in Legal Services

Israel International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

BAR ASSOCIATION LAW, 5721 - 19611

Under what title do lawyers practise?

 'Orech Din  (Attorney)

How does an individual lawyer obtain a "licence" to practise law? How often must this be renewed?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A person is qualified to be an attorney if –

He has higher legal education  and is a graduate of a law faculty of an institution or of a college in Israel, recognized under the Council for Higher Education Law, 5718– 1958, as an institution of higher education; and (2) He has passed a qualifying period as a legal intern; and (3) He has passed the Bar examinations.  

The following may also be recognised:

A law graduate of an institution abroad recognized by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, as an institution of higher education; or a person who has studied at such an institution and has passed examinations to an extent that, in the opinion of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he may suitably be regarded as granting him a higher legal education. 

A law graduate of an institution in Israel that is recognised and licensed under Section 25D or section 25I of the Council of Higher Education Law, 5718– 1958.

A person qualified abroad as an attorney, and who has practised as an attorney or in a judicial function abroad, for at least two years, and a person who has served abroad, for at least two years, in a judicial function for which only a person with a legal education is qualified.

A person who completed his studies at a Law College that for these purposes was recognized as per section 25B

Does this entitle the holder to practise throughout the country? If the law license only permits one to practice on a sub-national level, please explain the jurisdictional limits

 

Yes, although a lawyer must be registered in the district either in which they live or in which their practice is based and can only be registered in one district. The Districts are: (1) Jerusalem district court jurisdiction;  (2) Tel Aviv district Court jurisdiction; (3) Haifa District Court jurisdiction; (4) Northern district, the area of jurisdiction of the Nazareth District Court; (5) Southern area, the area of jurisdiction of the Be'er Sheva District Court

 

Are there certain activities that are "reserved" to those who are licensed to practise law in the jurisdiction?

"According to section 20 of the Bar Act, the following acts are reserved to attorneys:  (1) The representation of another person, and any pleading or other act on behalf of another person, before the courts, tribunals or arbitrators or before any person or body having judicial or quasi-judicial authority;  (2)The execution of documents of a legal nature for another person, including but not limited to the representation of another person in legal negotiations leading to the execution of such a document; (3) Giving legal advice or a legal opinion; (4) Representation in front of various public offices or registration agencies."

Do you need to hold local nationality to be eligible to practise law?

Residency in Israel is required for membership of the Israel Bar

What legal forms can lawyers work in? (e.g. self employment, partnership, limited liability partnership, multi-disciplinary partnership, incorporation)

Under section 59A of the Bar Act (a) An attorney shall not practice his profession as a member of a company of attorneys unless the following are satisfied: (1) The company is registered in Israel under the Companies Ordinance and the liability of its members is not limited. (2) The purposes of the company, according to its memorandum of association, are the incorporation of attorneys; activities ancillary to advocacy; activities pertaining to the management of the company and its property or to the investment of its profits and the necessary associated activities. In addition, the memorandum of association provides that the company shall not have the powers specified in the second addendum to the Companies Ordinance; (3) All the company's members and managers are members of the Bar.  (b) An attorney shall not practice his profession as a member of more than one company of attorneys. Under section 58 an Israeli attorney may not practise in partnership with non-lawyers.

What other ethical or regulatory requirements must a licensed lawyer comply with? 

In addition to provisions in the Bar Act, the ethical requirements on Israeli lawyers may be found in the Bar Association Rules (Professional Ethics), 5746-1986 (http://www.israelbar.org.il/uploadFiles/Bar_Association_Rules_Professional_Ethics__nov_2008.pdf

Do law firms need to receive a "license" (or permission/approval) to practice law?

A law firm per se doesn't need a licence, however, most law firms in Israel operate as incorporated partnerships and therefore they are obliged to register as partnerships and to comply with the partnership ordinance of 1975. In addition, the law firm ensures that the lawyers will adhere to requirements under Article 59A of the Act:

(a) An attorney shall not practice his profession as a member of a company of attorneys unless the following are satisfied: (1) The company is registered in Israel under the Companies Ordinance and the liability of its members is not limited. (2) The purposes of the company, according to its memorandum of association, are the incorporation of attorneys; activities ancillary to advocacy; activities pertaining to the management of the company and its property or to the investment of its profits and the necessary associated activities. In addition, the memorandum of association provides that the company shall not have the powers specified in the second addendum to the Companies Ordinance; (3) All the company's members and managers are members of the Bar.

(b) An attorney shall not practice his profession as a member of more than one company of attorneys.

Which authority issues licences? Are there different authorities for individuals and firms? 

Unlike an individual lawyer, a law firm does not need a licence from the bar to operate. The Israeli Bar admits lawyers and may refuse to do so if the applicant has been convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude, or if certain facts are revealed while providing a basis to deem the candidate as an unfit lawyer. Such decision is also subject to scrutiny by the Supreme Court.

   

INDIVIDUAL FOREIGN LAWYERS

Are there any explicit rules or restrictions other than visas on fly in fly out practice of law? Ie. Do you need to obtain a licence for temporary practice?

 

 

 

 

In order to practise law in Israel a foreign lawyer must be registered with the Israeli Bar. However article 98D of the Bar Act provides that "an individual licensed to practice law overseas, is entitled, if he received permission to do so from the Central Committee or from whoever the Central Committee authorized to do so in this respect, to render a legal service pertaining to the foreign law in Israel despite the fact that he is not an attorney or foreign attorney, provided that the centre of his activities within the framework of his business practicing law is overseas and the legal service pertaining to the foreign law is rendered other than through his business".  The Central Committee is the Central Committee of the Bar Association.

(b) The Central Committee will inform the permit applicant of its decision within 30 days of the date the application was received; whereupon the said date has passed and the Central Committee’s decision has yet to be rendered, it will be deemed to have granted permission.

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a visa to visit clients or to market but not to practice?

Lawyers may visit under a B/2 visitor’s visa which allows the holder to enter for periods of up to three months and includes permission to hold business meetings etc.  He can't practise law in full range unless he address to the requirement of amendment to 33 specified here under.

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a licence to establish and practise as a foreign legal consultant and what is the scope of this limited licence?

Amendment No. 33 of the Bar Association Law, 5721- 1961 allows foreign lawyers and foreign law firms to Provide legal services concerning foreign law. "Legal services" under the law includes 1. Legal advice regarding the law applicable to the country in which the foreign lawyer accredited

 2. Preparation of legal documents under the foreign law. "Legal Service" under this law does not include representation in court

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled once a foreign lawyer has been granted a limited licence (e.g. residency requirement)

Foreign lawyers must register and pay a fee every year and every three years must submit documentation confirming that they are still registered as lawyers in their home jurisdictions. (See the Rules of the Bar Association (Registration and Supervision over Foreign Attorneys and Fees), 5772 – 2012)

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled for a foreign lawyer to qualify for a limited licence? (e.g. prior practice)

 

 

In order to register as a Foreign Lawyer one must meet the following basic requirements:

In order to register as a foreign lawyer in Israel, an individual must have: a) a valid license to practice law in a foreign country, b) Five years of professional experience as a lawyer in the same foreign country.

c) a passing grade on the Israeli Ethics Exam for Foreign Lawyers; d)Professional liability insurance in Israel compliant with the Israeli Bar Association Order (Securities for a Foreign Lawyer), 5772 – 2012. Or a deposit of $50,000.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? A foreign lawyer may participate in an arbitration proceeding involving foreign law. The parties have to agree that the arbitration will be conducted according to foreign law. Foreign lawyers are not permitted to advise or provide representation on issues relating to the Israeli Arbitration Law.
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

Under section 23 of the Bar Act a foreign lawyer may obtain special permission to appear in court to defend a non-Israeli citizen accused under the Genocide Law (1950) or the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators Law (1950)

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

Only citizens or residents of Israel may requalify as Israeli lawyers.

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

Can a foreign law firm obtain a licence to open an office?

A foreign law firm planning to open a branch in Israel is required to notify the Israel Bar Association within 30 days of opening. The branch must employ at least one lawyer who is already registered with the Israel Bar Association as an Israeli Lawyer or as a Foreign Lawyer.

Even if a foreign law firm does not require a legal licence must they register in some form in order to set up an office? (e.g. with a ministry of company affairs etc)

Foreign firms establishing will also need to comply with business, tax and employment registration requirements.
 
Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc)

Foreign law firms may establish in different forms, including as corporations, provided that this corporation was established outside Israel and its purpose is the provision of legal services.

Is there a quota on the number of licences available?

No

Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have?

No

Are there "scope of practice" rules that apply directly to foreign law firms (as opposed to lawyers themselves)? (e.g. home, host, international law), if so, what are they? The permitted practice for a foreign lawyer is limited to providing legal opinion and counselling regarding the foreign laws which apply in the foreign country in which the lawyer is certified, and the drafting of legal documents which the foreign law (non-Israeli) apply to them, including the representation of a client in a negotiation towards such drafting of legal documents. A foreign law firm may comprise Israeli qualified as well as foreign lawyers and the former are permitted to conduct a practice in Israeli law.
Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take? A “Foreign Attorneys Firm” must be: (1) A corporation incorporated overseas and all of the following must apply:  (a) Its purpose is to render legal services;  (b) All or some of the members or partners therein are licensed to practice law overseas;  (c) The centre of its activities is overseas.  In addition it must not take a corporate form, including limited liability forms and all the partners or members must be lawyers.
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? Article 98J of amendment 33 provides that "The name of an Israeli branch of a foreign attorney's office can be the same as the foreign attorneys firm provided that everywhere that mentions the branch’s name also states that it is a branch of a foreign attorneys firm and the name of the country in which its primary activities are executed."
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL

The Israel Bar Association www.israelbar.org.il

 

   

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

Are there restrictions on the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm?

There must be at least one foreign partner or member in the foreign firm and it must have its seat of operations overseas.

May a domestic lawyer be employed by a foreign lawyer or law firm?

Yes

Can a domestic lawyer enter into partnership with a foreign lawyer?

Yes although only in a foreign firm and an Israeli lawyer may only be a partner in one foreign firm

Can a domestic lawyer or domestic law firm employ a foreign lawyer?

Israel Bar Association: http://www.israelbar.org.il/english.asp?catid=372

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

Levitan, Sharon & Co, Advocates and Notaries www.levitansharon.co.il  (January 2014)