Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Legally Blogging, German Style!

The Legally Blogging idea was dreamed up by three ladies who all met in blog-land and instantly clicked.  You could say it was love at first sight.  The immediate connection stemmed from the one thing they had in common: Law.  Obviously, as time went on, they discovered they had much more in common than just law, but that was a great starting point.

Here they are!

They decided to join forces and start a blogging series, to show that lawyers aren't always what you'd expect.  The main goal of the series is to connect with other legal ladies out there and meet some great new people.  Every week, the hope is to showcase a new person in the series.

Series so far:

If you're interested in participating in the Legally Blogging Series, just send an email to Jackie: jjstoughton [AT] gmail [DOT] com. 

We'd love to have you on board!

Hello all!

My name is Bridget from Brid´s Journey. Today is certainly one of the two days in my life I can´t wait for the postman to come. As you read the following lines I´m waiting for “the letter” with the results of my second legal state examination. Please keep fingers crossed for me :)

So, how did I end up looking out of the window waiting for a yellow car to bring good or bad news for the next year of my life?

I´m from Germany and after leaving school I decided to study law in Munich. The Faculty of Law at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich is one of the oldest and with more than 5000 students one of the biggest law schools over here. And it´s located in a beautiful building which was built in the 1840s. Of course all students love the fact that the campus of the university is no less than one of the largest and most beautiful parks in the world – the English Garden. 

After my first two years at university I decided to change to the University of Ratisbon. The reason was quite simple – life in Munich is deadly expensive. The rent for my tiny 18m² student´s apartment was over 500€. So I spent my nights working as a bartender and waitress to afford it. But as studying law in Germany starts very slow it gets demanding in the second half. You finish studies with the first state examination, which consists of six five-hour exams in all of the three branches of law (civil law, penal law and public law) and an oral examination. This was the first time in my life to wait for “the letter” and as failure rates are quite high I was so happy and relieved that I passed. From this day on you´re not a student anymore and leave university with a law degree called diploma. 

However, if you want to get admission to the German Bar as a lawyer you have to do a two-year legal clerkship. You have to take classes and go through some internships at court, the public prosecutor´s office, public authorities and a lawyer´s office. After the two years you take the second state examination which consists of eleven five-hour exams and an oral examination. If you pass you will be admitted to the German Bar. 

During the six months to wait for the results I started working at a small lawyer´s office in my town. We mostly do all cases, which guarantees that our working days are never monotonous. Although I´m specialized in tax law (just doing my Master´s degree in tax law extra occupational) and labor law I love the variety of cases and I´m happy that I´ve chosen a job I really like.

Enough said about law – let´s get to the Q&A!

1. Why did you start blogging?
 I had a private blog years ago to stay in contact with friends I met during my time abroad in London, Edinburgh and Dublin. It faded into oblivion as I was quite busy with learning for my examination, so I decided to start a new public blog a few weeks ago. It´s a bit like my scrapbook without needing any printed pics, scissors or glue. I´m not very patient in handicrafts :)

2. What do you like to do when you´re not blogging?
 I´m a proud dog owner, so I spend lots of time walking across the fields and keep my dog from hunting hares and pheasants. Besides I´m devouring almost every book that comes into my hands, I love to meet friends, travel through the world and do some photography with my DSLR (unfortunately I never have enough time to really learn how to do it a bit more professional).

3.  What do you find is the biggest misconception about lawyers?

I´ve gone through some rough discussions when people heard that I´m a lawyer and some big case received a great deal of attention in the media those days. Most people who have nothing to do with law just read the lurid headlines in the newspaper and start to blame the next lawyer they meet for that  - how they think - scandalous injustice. In these situations I found myself trying to defend myself and my profession, because when you take a deeper look everything was just as it has to be. But you just can´t explain certain legal procedures. They don´t understand that we are defending a client, even if he is a murderer or a child abuser, because we see ourselves as a independent body of the administration of justice. As long as there is no judgement our client is presumed innocent. We don´t identify with our clients and personally of course we don´t endorse any criminal offences. But how to explain our professional ethics to some upset townspeople?

4. What´s your favourite vacation you´ve been on?
 For a longer time abroad – Dublin and Edinburgh. For having lots of fun – Las Vegas. For a European city trip – Prague, Paris and Barcelona. For beautiful scenery – Isle of Skye, Loch Morlich (Scotland). I´ve lost my heart in so many places – but the one I love took it to Arizona, so this is my favorite vacation in my imagination till I can - hopefully - go there in May :)


5. What´s your best and worst home reno project?

Well, I don´t have a own house, so I´m just suffering under my parent´s home reno projects. As my dad´s mostly doing everything on his own it happens that we´re living 6 months without a kitchen, a living room or a guest toilet. But if I´ll ever have too much money or time (or preferably both) I dream of restoring an old house with a huge garden and a library :)

Thanks to Allison, Catherine and Jackie from Legally Blogging for this wonderful idea and giving me the chance to join in theor series. To all lawyers out there, I´m curious to read your stories next Tuesday at Legally blogging!

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