Germany tends to be among the more employee-friendly countries, for instance, when it comes to firing employees. However, you still can get fired in Germany, and sometimes even for rather mundane reasons. Anyone who receives a termination notice in Germany must act rather quickly (read more here) – and will need to find a good labor lawyer. Even if there is “only” a small dispute with the employer, e.g. about the amount of variable pay earned, a good lawyer will come in handy. One may be a bit uncertain about what to look for when choosing a “good” lawyer. In this blog article, we will provide some tips that can help you make the right choice:
Why does it even matter?
Having a good employment lawyer by your side in an employment dispute is not only of psychological importance. You also want to be sure that nothing “goes wrong” when a lot of money (or your job) is at stake. In unfair dismissal cases, for example, you want to be sure that you or your lawyer maximize your severance payment. A competent and experienced lawyer for labor law can provide optimal support
So what actually makes a “good” lawyer?
There is no simple answer, but professional competence and personal fit (aka the “chemistry”) play an important role. You can judge the latter best. The former – in most cases – less. That’s why we want to share a few thoughts with you, especially on professional competence. You can find a labor law attorney by searching for specialized labor law attorneys, by using your network, or by researching online:
Search specifically for specialist lawyers for employment law
How to find a labor lawyer in Germany? First, you can look for specialized employment law lawyers. For example, trained specialist lawyers for labor law (“Fachanwälte für Arbeitsrecht”). Such specialist lawyers undergo further training and gain further qualifications in their respective specialist area.
You could therefore start your search with specialist lawyers for labor law, for example. However, there are also extremely competent lawyers who do not publicly “have” a specialist lawyer title – or refrain from acquiring such titles on principle. So the lack of such a title cannot be understood as a negative feature.
Access your network
You may of course be able to find an employment law attorney in your network. Do you perhaps already know a lawyer who works in employment law or in another specialist area? Ask them for advice. You might get a tip from a commercial lawyer who has been working with a talented labor lawyer for years. Also, ask friends and acquaintances for advice. You are probably not the first person in your social circle to want to find an employment lawyer.
Google is always a good starting point for finding something. Employment lawyers are no exception. But how do you find in the mass of lawyers on Google exactly the lawyers who advise your clients competently and goal-oriented and help you further?
Don’t just rely on Google rankings. There are better ways to find competent specialist lawyers. Have a look at the website of the Federal Bar Association or take a look at the nationwide official directory of lawyers (link). You can search for lawyers in your area here. Does this research seem complicated and time-consuming to you? Of course, you can also use the AbfindungsHero service:
Factors that are less relevant
Rankings are becoming increasingly popular on the Internet, also for classifying lawyers and the quality of their work. But we would rather not rely on that. These rankings often do not differentiate between whether the lawyers primarily represent the side of the employer or employee. In addition, there are lawyers who work primarily in the area of collective labor law, i.e. primarily with trade unions or employers’ associations. However, if you would like to negotiate a termination agreement, look for an expert in the field of protection against dismissal and termination agreements who specializes primarily on the employee side.
Expensive and especially large law firms can often show what is known as ISO 9001 certification. However, these mainly show structural and few content-related characteristics of the law firm, e.g. how quickly the law firm reacts to inquiries from clients and not how competently you are advised in individual cases.
Remuneration – what does legal advise actually cost in Germany?
What will legal advise actually cost? In Germany, the Lawyers’ Compensation Act (RVG) regulates the earnings of lawyers. In this respect, the so-called dispute value is central to the remuneration of lawyers (e.g., based on your salary in an unfair dismissal case).
Many lawyers today also work on an hourly fee basis; the amount of hourlies vary greatly. For example, the hourly rate for a large law firm can be well over 500 euros. Hourly rates in labor law are often lower than in other areas of law.
The “chemistry” should also be right
If you want to find an employment lawyer, pay attention to what impression you have of the lawyer. Competent lawyers pay attention to the interests of their clients and first of all listen. If you feel that your lawyer understands you, that’s a big plus.
Conclusion: How to find a labor lawyer in Germany
It is important to have a good employment lawyer by your side when dealing with employment disputes. After all, it’s about a lot of money (or your job). At this point, however, I would like to point out that even the best lawyer does not guarantee that the case will be won. Your employment lawyer does not owe you – unlike, for example, a plumber with a bathroom renovation – any success. Therefore, you cannot read from the result whether you have chosen a good employment lawyer – but you may still have a feeling after the outcome of the process. Namely, whether your lawyer has campaigned extensively for you without leaving a complete mess in the relationships with the other party in court.
And of course, you can also start your search for a competent labor lawyer right here on AbfindungsHero: