Lawyers have a wide range of possibilities for professional cooperation. The institute of the professional practice company enables lawyers to join forces with each other, but also with members of other professions. For example, an association with patent attorneys, tax advisors, tax agents, auditors and certified accountants is possible. An association with members of the liberal professions is also permissible under the conditions of Section 59c (1) sentence 1 number 4 of the Federal Lawyers' Act (BRAO). Members of the legal profession from other states may also be included in professional practice companies if they would be entitled to establish themselves in Germany under the Act on the Activities of European Lawyers in Germany or under Section 206 BRAO.
Professional practice companies are free to choose their legal form: they can organize themselves in all legal forms that are permissible under German law. Commercial companies are also possible. In addition, European companies are permitted, as are companies that are permitted under the law of a member state of the European Union or a state party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area.
Professional practice companies in which lawyers have the majority of the voting rights and in which the majority of the members of the management body are lawyers may call themselves "Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaften".
In principle, professional practice companies must be licensed by the locally competent bar associations.
A prerequisite for admission is that the partners and members of the management and supervisory bodies belong to the professional groups specified in Sections 59b and 59c BRAO. The professional practice company must have chosen a permissible legal form and must not be in financial collapse. It must also provide evidence that it has taken out professional liability insurance or submit a provisional confirmation of cover. The professional liability insurance must be taken out with an insurance company authorized to do business in Germany and must cover the liability risks for financial losses arising from the provision of advice and representation in legal matters. It must be maintained for the duration of the practice.
After their admission, professional practice companies become members of the admitting chambers.
No admission is required for partnerships in which, firstly, there is no limitation of the liability of the natural persons and, secondly, to which, as partners and as members of the management and supervisory bodies, only attorneys-at-law, patent attorneys, tax advisors, tax agents, auditors or certified public accountants belong. However, these may voluntarily apply for admission. After admission, they also become members of the admitting bar association.
The regulations on professional practice companies have come into force with effect from August 1, 2022. They have replaced the previously applicable regulations on law societies and have significantly expanded the possibilities of professional association of lawyers.