There are about 2,000 advocates in Belarus. There is an assumption that by the end of the year about 300 advocates will stop their activity.
First of all, these are advocates of large and medium-sized law offices working with the foreign business and not dealing with litigation.
They are already setting up law firms to be licensed to provide legal services. In this way they are going to keep the brands known in the market and work with clients as a corporation, however, with no right to represent them in court.
There are advocates who will stop their practice. The economic downturn and other circumstances made many advocates think about changing their profession. This process has already started.
Advocates decided to continue dealing with litigation will switch to legal advice offices. They will have the right to handle any legal matter: corporate law, M&A, project financing, etc.
Will large foreign clients and international organizations work with advocates? For some clients the above complexities may be not of utmost importance. Though, in case of a dispute in a state court clients will have no choice.
As a consequence, the following is expected:
- A number of advocates will decrease.
- Recommendations will become more important for choosing a lawyer or advocate.
- The value of reputation will increase.
- Many brands existing in the legal market will survive, however, continue working as law firms, not law offices.
- The promotion and importance of personal brands will grow.
One of the clients noted: "We will observe the individuals, evaluate the experience and cases of lawyers and advocates. We understand that in our conditions a formal date of a law company establishment is not a criterion for assessment. And we will have to conclude contracts with advocates individually
It is also possible to predict the rise in popularity of arbitration since business lawyers saved the right to represent the clients in arbitration. Therefore, they will more actively offer clients to resolve disputes in alternative ways, rather than in state courts.