The European Lawyers Foundation has led the effort for the establishment of a comprehensive and provenly effective multilateral exchange scheme for lawyers in Europe. The Multilateral Exchange of Lawyers project, co-funded by the Justice Programme of the European Union, commenced with high hopes and ended with the necessary results to prove its feasibility and success. In the two years of the project (July 2017 – July 2019), 75 lawyers from 7 EU Member States have benefited from the possibility of working abroad in host institutions of the legal sector and have rated their experience with an average of 4.75 out of 5.
This is how the exchange mechanism roughly works: lawyers who have passed a national selection process are offered a placement in host institutions abroad (in bars or law firms) according to their preferences, profile, spoken languages and areas of expertise. During their placement, which lasts 10 working days, participants are supervised by a lawyer in the host institution, who is responsible for giving them assignments, providing information and insights on national legislation and accompanying them in day-to-day professional work. Further to this, participants may be able to attend court hearings, to participate in conferences and seminars, to visit national institutions based in the host country, or to attend networking events.
Alongside the excellent ratings, participating lawyers and host institutions stress the added value of the project in the following regards: a) greater mobility of lawyers in Europe b) increased knowledge of foreign legal systems c) consolidation of cross-border networks of lawyers and law firms and d) contribution to the development of a European judicial culture. But the effort cannot stop here. Based on the successful mechanism in place, the European Lawyers Foundation has been awarded by the European Commission a continuation project called LAWYEREX, so that more European lawyers can benefit from the knowledge and experience gained from the exchanges abroad.
Testimonials from participants in the project can be found below.