The profession of an attorney-at law is a profession of public trust and is organised within the professional bar according to the Act of the Polish Parliament with the aim to protect public interest. The profession is recognised in Directive 249/77/EEC on temporary provision of legal services in another EU Member State and Directive 98/5/EC on permanent provision of legal services in another EU Member State. The aim of the activities of attorneys-at-law is to provide legal services and legal assistance to individuals and legal entities, in particular by providing legal advice, preparing legal opinions, drafting legislative proposals and representing clients before courts and public bodies as legal representatives or a defence counsel, including before the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Tribunal, the Supreme Administrative Court, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights. Attorneys-at-law can practise their profession on a freelance basis or they can combine it with other forms of employment, for example on the basis of an employment contract.
The bar of attorneys-at-law is independent in carrying out its tasks and is subject only to the provisions of the statute that established it – the Act of 6 July 1982 on Attorneys-at-law. Supervision of its activities is undertaken by the Minister of Justice. The bar is made of 19 regional chambers of attorneys-at-law (regional bar associations) and the National Council of Attorneys-at-law. Membership in the bar is obligatory for those willing to practise the profession of an attorney-at law. Any person holding valid master’s degree in law, who has completed the attorney-at-law training and passed an exam, can be registered in the register of attorneys-at-law. Foreign lawyers wishing to practise law in Poland can register with one of the regional chambers of attorneys-at-law. EU rules, including European Directives on the provision of legal services, apply to all lawyers practicing in Poland, including the European lawyers who have a place of establishment or provide legal services in Poland.
Regional Bar Association is the fundamental entity within the bar, being responsible for initial training, continuous legal education, keeping the roll of attorneys-at-law and foreign lawyers, providing disciplinary proceedings of the first instance as well as carrying out other duties foreseen by the law.