Becoming a Rechtsanwalt as a Mexican Lawyer in Germany

The story of how Pedro Ernesto Vera Martinez went from an MLB student at Bucerius Law School to gaining admission to the German Bar.

Education & Study |

What were your first impressions of Bucerius Law School?

I joined the MLB program at Bucerius Law School in August 2012, almost a year after passing the Mexican bar exam. My first two weeks at Bucerius Law School served as an introduction to the program, the faculty, and my classmates. I was very impressed with the quality of the lectures and the international scope of the MLB program.

From day one, I was learning from top-notch professors together with very skilled (and friendly) young professionals from all over the world. After my first days as part of the MLB community, it was clear to me that my time at Bucerius Law School would be a very enriching experience, both on academic and personal levels.

 

How did you benefit from taking part in the MLB program?

In summary, the MLB program boosted my professional and personal development extensively. On the one hand, I had the opportunity to take part in insightful and challenging lectures, as well as to further develop my understanding of business-related topics and commercial sensitivity. On the other hand, I developed a very solid professional network and established long-lasting friendships.

 

What are some of the key learnings you experienced studying at Bucerius Law School?

From a professional perspective, the MLB program gave me the tools to advise on international corporate matters, as well as to better understand the underlying business implications of the legal profession. Subjects like corporate finance, negotiations, and strategic management conveyed a solid overview of the driving forces of business activities. This allowed me to develop a sensitive commercial approach when providing legal advice, as well as to identify and mitigate legal risks related to financial and organizational matters.

I also had the opportunity to develop important soft skills, particularly my negotiation, technical, and risk assessment abilities.

 

Which advice would you give students starting their MLB studies at Bucerius Law School?

I encourage students to establish short and mid-term professional and personal goals as early as possible. Having a clear and actionable development path will allow you to make the best out of both your time at BLS and the opportunities that you'll have during your studies.

 

What were your biggest challenges in passing the German state exam?

Since I originally come from Mexico, fulfilling the numerous requirements to sit the Bar Examination and preparing for it in less than a year were the biggest challenges. Especially because I did all of it while working full-time as a Corporate Counsel.

The German Act for European Lawyers (EuRAG) requires prospective candidates to meet strict professional and academic requirements to be admitted to sit the Transfer Bar Examination (Eignungsprüfung) according to Sec. 16 ff. EuRAG. This includes full command of the German language (C2), significant professional experience with matters related to German law, and European academic credentials.

Once admitted, candidates must prepare for the Eignungsprüfung, which is modeled after the 2. State Examination.

 

How different was your experience taking the exam from German students?

German students sit two State Examinations. The first one after completing their university education and the second one after completing their mandatory legal clerkship (Rechtsreferendariat). The candidates that approve both exams become qualified to hold judicial office (Befähigung zum Richteramt), which in turn allows them to gain admission to the German Bar as Rechtsanwalt/Rechtsanwältin.

Given my international professional credentials, I chose to sit the above mentioned Eignungprüfung on the basis of my admission to the Spanish Bar as Abogado. To this end, I studied for over six years after completing the MLB program, while simultaneously working full-time as a Corporate Counsel in order to meet the necessary professional requirements.

The first academic stage of the process started in 2015 and involved the accreditation of my Mexican LL.B. in Spain, as well as the completion of both a second master’s degree at a prestigious university in Madrid and the Spanish bar examination. The second stage consisted in preparing for the written and oral examinations that comprise the Eignungprüfung.

 

Which career do you pursue after passing the German state exam?

I will continue to practice law under my three professional bar admissions (Germany, Spain, and Mexico). In the upcoming years I will focus on advising German and international companies and private individuals seeking to establish and develop business activities in the European Union and Latin America.

I aim to become a certified specialist lawyer (Fachanwalt) in two disciplines and to obtain a doctoral degree in a few years’ time. My next long-term goal is to fulfill the requirements to practice as Notary Public in Germany.

 

Mr. Vera Martinez, thank you for the interview.

Hamburg