Dec 08, 2022

Written By Tom Hale

How can a UK lawyer work in Spain?

Dec 08, 2022

Written By Tom Hale

A UK lawyer can work in Spain, however, there are a number of steps that you need to go through in order to achieve this. The process is specific; however, it is not overly confusing and can be broken down fairly simplistically.


Once you are a fully qualified lawyer in the UK the first step you need to take, if you wish to become a lawyer in Spain, is converting your degree into a Grado en Derecho. The process is called homologation.

If you haven’t already started your degree , a number of universities offer a joint LLB and Grado en Derecho. This will allow you to practise law in Spain without going through the homologation process.

To convert an LLB you must send a request to the Spanish Ministry of Universities. Documents you’ll need to submit include: a completed application form, your academic transcript, the courses you studied, your degree certificate and evidence of significant Spanish proficiency.

Evidence of your Spanish language skills will typically come in the form of a B2 Spanish language certificate. This will prove that you have the ability to interact with native speakers with a sufficient degree of fluency. All of these documents will need to be translated into Spanish by an official translator (you can’t translate them yourself!)

Upon being approved you’ll be told which modules you need to take in order to integrate and obtain your statement of comparability. The number of modules is usually around ten.

Legal Course

Once you have achieved your statement of comparability from the University it is time to enrol yourself in the Master en el Ejercicio Profesional de la Abogacía (Master’s degree in Legal Practice). This is a professional legal practice course, lasting one year. It is made up of various modules and work experience.

This course is mandatory if you wish to become a lawyer in Spain as a UK national and will open the door for the final step, the bar exam, known as the Examen de Estado.

The Bar

The final step to qualify as a lawyer in Spain is the Bar Exam, the Examen de Estado.

This exam is compulsory for the entire national territory of Spain, it is run annually by the Government of Spain.

The exam is made up of two written parts to be taken on the same day. The first consists of an objective test of multiple answers. The second part consists of solving a practical case. This State Test is graded as pass or fail.

International Secondment

If you’d rather not go through the qualification process, but would still like to work in Spain, it’s worth exploring which law firms offer international secondments in Spain (typically Madrid) as part of the training contract.

An international secondment is a period of your training contract, typically lasting six months, which allows you to work in one of the firm’s overseas offices. Firms with an office in Madrid include: White & Case, Dentons and Pinsent Masons.


Becoming an Abogado

So now you know that it is possible to qualify as a lawyer in Spain if you are from the UK. There are a number of steps, not overly confusing, which one has to go through in order to qualify as an Abogado (Spanish lawyer). These steps however, allow for a simple, albeit not easy, transition into the Spanish legal profession for any UK national. 

If you’d rather not complete this process, you can also complete an international secondment in Spain.

So if you are a lover of the summer sun, paella, and sangria then why not do an international secondment or qualify as an Abogado? 


Working in Law Abroad