If you need a legal advice, what is better: the office of the advocates or the law firm?

The legal services are diverse and there are lots of law firms and colleges offering legal services to people and businesses. In the fullness of proposals easy to get confused, especially when it is about the market of services in Moscow.

The everyman who can`t see the difference between the lawyer and the advocate also will not understand the difference between the law firm and advocate`s office.

For most of people it seems that no matter who provides the service: a lawyer or an attorney. For lot of people is important whose service is cheaper, who will provide cheap or even free legal consultation. Anyway the answer for the question: “Whom to entrust the resolving of the legal problem?” has the essential meaning, including, incidentally, for the purse of the client.

So what is the difference?

The first. The diverse law firms and offices are the commercial organizations (usually Ltd.) the purpose of which is getting the profit for providing the legal assistance. Using such firm the client in majority of cases should pay additionally the VAT (excluding the firms who have a simplified system of taxation.

The second. Any person may found a law firm. For this you don`t need the juridical education and the license for providing the legal services.

What about the advocate`s structures…

At first, these organizations are non-commercial that is why the VAT from the cost of the legal assistance that was rendered by the attorneys to the citizens and businesses is not levied.  

At second, the aim of formation of the advocate`s structures is providing qualified legal assistance to the people and organizations and only advocates have the right to form them. Not all the lawyers are able to get the status of advocate even those who have the juridical education: for this they need to have the experience of work by the legal specialty at least two years and successfully passed qualification exams. This gives a warranty of high professional level of the attorney.

At third, any claim of the client about the actions (or inaction) of the attorney to the Bar Association of Russian Federation that joins all the attorneys who are engaged into the advocate`s practice carefully considered by the Qualification Commission. Incidentally, the members of this commission, except the representatives of the Chamber, composed of judges, prosecutors, representatives of the legislative body of state power of the Russian Federation and the territorial authority of Justice. If the complaint is justified, the attorney may lose his status.

At forth, only attorney may implement the defense in the criminal cases. The lawyers of the law firms are not allowed to perform this kind of service.  

Hope that now, choosing where and from whom to get the qualified legal services you will be able to understand the difference between the suppliers of these services.

It remains to add that briefly outlining the differences between lawyers from lawyers, I do not have the intention to belittle the merits and achievements of the latter. Many of them are decent people and great professionals. As well as I did not put the task to elevate the role of lawyers, among which there are also different, good and bad, professionals and not really...

P.S. On the  site of Moscow Chamber of Advocates, you can check whether the advocate you choose in Moscow is an advocate. There you can read the official list of legal practices in Moscow that will let you know whether the chosen provider of legal services advocate's formation.

With sincere respect to you,
Honorary Lawyer of the Russian Federation, Yury Scheglov