Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2013
There are two similar free legal professions in Poland – advocate (adwokat), which is comparable to a certain extent to the English barrister, and legal adviser (radca prawny), somewhat analogous to the English solicitor – whose members belong to two separate and independent bars, and therefore the rules concerning the lawyer's obligation to maintain the confidentiality of information entrusted to the lawyer in connection with his or her practice are codified in separate statutes and internal bar regulations. The rules for the functioning of the two legal professions are set forth in separate legal acts: the Law on Advocates and the Act on Legal Advisers.
Whereas advocates work only as independent practitioners, a legal adviser may also practise the profession as an employee (in-house lawyer). The division into these two professions and a lawyer's membership of one of the corresponding bar associations is not of merely formal significance, but has some bearing on the scope of protection of professional secrecy (discussed below).