Law firm structures under Greek law
Article 49 L. 4194/2013 – Establishment of a Law Firm under Greek law
A Law Firm may be established among practicing lawyers with the sole purpose of providing legal services (anywhere, in Greece or abroad) and distributing exclusively between the partners (in the method to be agreed upon their autonomous discretion) the total profits resulting from the company’s activity. A document (Articles of Incorporation), which is signed by all founding Partners, is required for the establishment of the Law Firm. The Articles of Incorporation include at least: a) the purpose, name and registered office of the Company, b) the names and addresses of the Partners, c) the conditions for entry, exit and expulsion of the Partners, d) the number of shares of each partner and the method of distribution of net profits, e) the rights and obligations of the partners, f) the management of the Company, g) the way of representation of the Company judicially and extrajudicially, h) the required quorum and majority for decision-making by the Partners, i) the grounds for the dissolution of the Company and its liquidation of after the dissolution. The Law Firm acquires the legal personality from its registration in the Companies Register of the Bar Association of its registered office.
Presidential Decree 152/2000: Practicing Law in Greece with E.U. Members’ titles (288613)
Article 12 – Collective exercise of the legal profession
One or more lawyers who exercise the legal profession in Greece with their professional title of their country of origin and are members or partners of a team of lawyers in their country of origin may exercise their professional activities collectively with a branch or office of their team in Greece. For this purpose, they apply to their Bar Association in which they are registered together with a copy of the bylaws of their team, duly certified by the competent authority and signed by all members who wish to be established in Greece and which must contain:
- a) the purpose, the name and the seat of the team,
- b) the names and the addresses of its members,
- c) the terms of entry, withdrawal and expulsion of members,
- d) the contributions of the partners and their increase or decrease,
- e) the rights and obligations of the partners,
- f) the ways of the team’s management,
- g) the decision-making process,
- h) the distribution of profits and losses,
- i) the term and the reasons for the team’s dissolution, and
- j) the clearance after resolution.
Lawyers enrolled in the Bar Associations of Athens and Piraeus submit an application to either of the two Bars, which is chosen as the headquarters of the branch office or of their team’s office.
The application shall also be accompanied by a statement by the team appointing the managing director and alternate managing director of the branch or the office in Greece.
The approval of the operation of the branch or office of the team is granted by a resolution of the Board of the competent bar association, following a written opinion of one of its board members. The Board of the bar association verifies whether the provisions of the statutes are compatible with the provisions of this Code, the Code for advocates and other provisions relevant to the exercise of the legal profession and the code of conduct. No approval of the statutes shall be granted, in particular if the term of the team is less than three years, or if its capital is wholly or partly held or its name is used or the decision-making power of the team is exercised in fact or by law by individuals or corporations that do not possess the title of an advocate as defined in article 2 of P.D. 152/2000. The respective provisions for the establishment of Greek Law firms (P.D. 518/1989 as applied) apply for the disclosure formalities for the approval of the teams’ operation in Greece, its resolution and the commencement of its legal personality. The aforementioned provisions also apply in the event of an amendment in the team’s statutes. For the rules of operation of the team in Greece, regarding the obligations of the partners, the obligations of the team as a legal person, the administration – representation – management, the entry, withdrawal – expulsion of members, decision-making, distribution of profits and losses, relations with principals, resolution and liquidation, as well as the keeping of books of income and expenses, its provisions for Greek law firms apply as well.
Two or more lawyers coming from the same group or from the same EU Member State and practicing the profession with their professional title of origin in Greece, may set up a law firm with the terms and conditions applicable to Greek law firms. Under the same terms and conditions, it is possible to establish a law firm between lawyers practicing the profession with their professional title of origin and coming from different EU member states, as well as between them and lawyers with a Greek professional title. Any lawyer who is a member of a group in his / her country of origin, both at the stage of the adoption of the articles of incorporation of the law firm under establishment and during the time of the operation of the law firm, is required to provide all information to the Board of Directors of the Bar Association concerned about the group in its country of origin. To that end, he/she shall provide a copy of the group’s articles of incorporation, certified by the competent authority of the country of origin. Approval of the articles of incorporation for the establishment of a law firm is not granted and any issued approval is revoked, if it is found that the capital of the group of which a lawyer wishing to work collectively with his professional title of origin is a member, is wholly or partly owned or its name is being used, or the decision-making power is exercised de facto or by law by natural or legal persons who do not have the status of lawyer within the meaning of Article 2 of this decree.