Foreign Lawyers May Now Practice Law In Israel — Sort Of

Author:Mr Benjamin Leventhal
Profession:Gideon Fisher & Co.

In a move designed to increase the ability of foreign lawyers to practice law in Israel, the Minister of Finance has recently signed an order implementing an amendment which was made eight months ago to the 1961 Israeli Bar statute which governs Israel's legal practice. Under the new rules, in a matter of weeks, foreign lawyers will be able to work in Israel and to provide advice on issues concerning foreign law. However, the foreign lawyers will still be restricted from making any court appearances in Israel.

Whereas some Israeli practitioners consider it a threat, we view the decision as a blessing.

Having represented numerous clients in cross-border transactions and international arbitration, we believe this represents an important development which will be beneficial to both Israeli players on the international stage and international players in the Israeli arena.

Whenever foreign law is deemed applicable within the context of arbitration proceedings (whether conducted in Israel or overseas), we often engage a foreign lawyer with specialized expertise from a law firm which is based abroad to advise upon the application of the relevant jurisdiction's law to the facts of the case. However, until now, this foreign lawyer was precluded from directly dealing with and representing the Israeli client together with us in Israel, even if the arbitration had aspects which were of a decidedly international character.

Now, an avenue has been opened for true professional collaboration such as to allow an Israeli attorney to bring in a foreign lawyer to become an inherent part of the legal team tasked with counseling the client in an arbitration matter and also in an international transaction. This allows for the pragmatic combination of different lawyers with different areas of expertise in different systems of law to jointly provide...

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