Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2013
In Romania, lawyers are organised in bar associations which are further organised within the Romanian National Bars Association. Law school graduates become lawyers based on a bar exam and admittance to one of the bar associations. With a few exceptions, only lawyers are entitled to appear in court. There are forty-two bar associations (one for each county and one for Bucharest), each of which is presided over by a dean (decan). Lawyers who are admitted to the Bar are subject to a duty of professional secrecy. Lawyers can exercise their profession in the specific forms regulated by Law 51/1995 regarding the organisation and exercise of the profession of lawyer, including individual cabinets and law firms. In addition to Law 51/1995, the profession of lawyer is further regulated by the Romanian Statute of the lawyer's profession and the Code of Conduct for European lawyers.
Lawyers organised as individual cabinets may also act exclusively for one company under the title of ‘in-house counsel’ or ‘in-house lawyer’ but based on legal assistance agreements, not on employment agreements. Generally, law school graduates who work for a company, the state or a public organisation are not members of the Bar and are contracted based on employment agreements. Such law school graduates join the Colleges of Judicial Counsellors in Romania (Uniunea Colegiilor Consilierilor Juridici din Romania), in which case they are authorised to use the title ‘judicial counsellor’ (consilier juridic). Such judicial counsellors are also subject to a duty of professional secrecy.