Just recently, the Israeli Code of the Bar of 1961, has been amended, enabling for the first time ever, and in a rather unique manner, foreign lawyers to practice law In Israel and provide legal counsel (excluding litigation) in any respect concerning foreign law, meaning, any law other than the Israeli law. The said amendment, completely changes the status of prohibiting foreign lawyers from providing any legal advice in Israel.
The change of policy reflected in the said amendment, provides enormous possible platforms for collaboration of lawyers from all over the world, with Israeli lawyers and law firms, in Israel, and essentially redefines the methods of practice in regards with any application or advice concerning foreign law in Israel. This dramatic change carries practical opportunities, to those that like our firm, seek to pursue the various options now available for such collaboration.
The possibilities of practice collaboration now extend from any matters concerning international transactions; through counsel during arbitration procedures, implementing or containing elements of foreign law; as well as possibilities to establish partnerships (including in regards with sharing revenue) and alliances, not possible before.
As an example, many transactions in different fields are established or governed under foreign law, and still previously could not represent the client in Israel in negotiations concerning the transactions, which led to a practice of limited indirect “second hand” counsel where the foreign lawyer could not be in the front. Similarly, many commercial arbitration cases, are governed by a certain foreign law rather than Israeli law, although held in Israel or involving Israeli parties, In such instances, until now one could only obtain a foreign legal opinion to present in the process but the foreign lawyer could not provide counsel in Israel as a part of the representing team of lawyers in the proceedings.
Now, the Israeli lawyer or firm, representing and providing legal counsel may inherently include in the advising team a foreign lawyer as an inseparable part, which may also provide active and pragmatic counsel with inherent collaboration, while handling the clients’ matters. Thus, just like clients receive counsel as to the Israeli law for each matter or decision they take, they can now obtain such counsel in regards with foreign law, directly and consecutively.
As an example of collaboration, we may point out, having a foreign lawyer, attend the Israeli law firm not only ad-hoc for a limited period but also permanently, in order to legally escort not only a specific transaction or arbitration from the foreign law point of view, as the matter is being negotiated or litigated, but also as an ongoing platform of legal advice inherent to the Israeli firms advice. The amendment also allows and provides that Israeli lawyers and firms may share legal fees income with colleagues from abroad, which was not possible before. Although the foreign lawyer would have to subject himself to Israeli code of ethics and comply with a few procedural matters involved, but this is obviously a relatively small investment in what could grow to be a most fruitful and prosperous collaboration in the legal field in Israel.
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Foreign lawyers may practice law in Israel:A dramatic change