A regulated profession
The profession of a lawyer is regulated: only individuals satisfying the requirements of morality and qualification can join this profession.
It is currently organized by the law of 31 December 1971 and the decree of 27 November 1991 as amended. A decree 2005-790 dated 12 July 2005 concerning the rules of business ethics of lawyers has set up as a regulation the essential principles of the legal profession which resulted in internal regulations and jurisprudence.
Before practicing, all lawyers have to take the oath and make a solemn promise for their entire professional life to respect the essential principles of the profession of lawyer.
“As a lawyer, I swear to perform my duties with dignity, conscience, independence, integrity and humanity.”
This oath is the base of the business ethics of the job, built on the founding principles of courtesy, independence and confidentiality.
The lawyer must also show towards his/her clients skill, dedication, meticulousness and prudence.
Confidentiality is a fundamental rule of the profession.
The lawyer must keep confidential the contents of his/her discussions, correspondence with clients and the information he obtained during his discussions with his colleague of the adverse party.
Secrecy covers all the confidences received by the lawyer as a result of his condition or his profession in the area of advice or defense before the courts, whatever the media, tangible or intangible (paper, fax, email).
Correspondence between lawyers is by nature confidential.
This is an absolute obligation and public order.
Even the client may not free the lawyer from professional secrecy.
The breach of confidentiality is a criminal offence (article 226-13 and 226-14 of the penal code) and is a breach of the ethical rule which may lead simultaneously to criminal and disciplinary action (warning, reprimand, temporary ban and radiation).
In order to make the clause of responsibility effective, lawyers are obliged to take out liability insurance for client compensation and possibly third parties for negligence in the performance of their duties.
This insurance policy is taken out by the Bar association for the benefit of all members of the Paris Bar .
It offers clients a solid guarantee for all the services carried out by their lawyer.
The insurance policy taken out by lawyers also holds a guarantee for the refund of money entrusted to the lawyer by the client for a specific use.