French lawyers work under two main titles, Avocat and Notaire, which are French for Lawyer and Notary/Solicitor.
Avocats are the laywers filing claims, tend to the needs of clients (both people or corporations) and handle matters of litigation.
Notaries provide help and advice with paperwork-related law, like wills or property transfers.
Despite having just two main titles, French lawyers work in various different legal fields, specializing in particular branches of law, but always keeping their main title of Lawyer or Notary intact.
There are of course, many fields of law in France. Let’s take quick look of the most important ones.
- Buying or selling a French company: Business law is one of the most frequent reasons why people use lawyers in France. Whenever buying a business in France, you can choose to buy either the shares or the goodwill of a company. However, whenever acquiring a company in France, you should always consider that you will also acquire both its assets and its liabilities. And when selling a company in France, several guaranties will be requested from you, and they all will be inspected and subject to French law. In short, no matter your nationality, if selling a French company, you will have to abide by French law.
- Hiring and firing employees: Employment law is one of the main aspects covered by French law, and it can be especially delicate when dealing with foreign employees. In these cases, there must always be a contract of employment, and while a translation can be issued to the employee, the original French copy will always prevail. Whenever firing an employee, according to the law in France, it must always be done for a specific reason, and it must be one recognized by the French Statute.
- Litigation: Litigation in France can be either criminal or civil, but the later is far more common. Litigation is also one of the aspects where French law differs vastly from this practice in the U.S. In France (and in the vast majority of countries in the world), each party files a claim in written form through their lawyers, instead of addressing the judge directly.
- Trial decisions and judgments are not always dictated immediately, being instead reserved until weeks or even months after the hearing. Once a decision has been reached, it is communicated in written form to both parts.
- Immigration and visas: While the French Government has always been quite open to receive people from other countries, in the last decade the country has experienced a dramatic increase of its foreign labor force, most of which is unqualified. This has led France to somewhat tighten its immigration laws, making it especially difficult for unqualified labor workers to enter the country. The French Government has also made it more difficult to acquire the French nationality via marriage. The French Government has made the procedures for the entrance of professionals and other qualified workers easier.
- Taxes: Tax laws can be quite cumbersome to handle in France due to the many different kinds of taxes that people deals with in different scenarios. The most common are the TVA (equivalent to the VAT), the IRPP, a tax paid by everyone who occupies a property, who owns a business and many others.
- Trademarks: France is home to some of the best and most renowned brands in the world, which include almost every product from perfumes to designer clothes. This has fostered an extremely safe environment, where all registered brands are very well protected. And one of the most positive aspects of trademark laws in France is that it allows anyone to register his/her own trademark for protection by complying with just a few steps.