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Law Graduation in Brazil

While it is not necessarily common knowledge for people who do not study law, Brazil is well known around the world for its national level of training for lawyers. Unlike in the United States of America, Brazil trains all lawyers at the national level so that, once they complete their studies, they can practice the law in any part of the country at any level. The United States only regulates lawyers at the state or provincial level. Lawyers in Brazil go through a rigorous process before starting their professional career, and it all begins right after high school is completed.

After high school, people interested in becoming lawyers must first be admitted into law school. To do so, they need to complete an exam called “Vestibular”. However, in 2009, this rule was amended so that students can now be admitted after a national exam called the Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio, or ENEM. Once they are admitted, their University education begins.

Course Structure

Law school in Brazil is a five-year program and is considered an undergraduate degree. These degrees can be offered either by public or private schools, as long as they are accredited and authorized by the National Commission of Legal Education of the OAB Federal Council. While curriculums may differ between different schools, there is a set of subjects, called compulsory subjects, which must be passed for certification as a lawyer. These subjects consist of three axes:

  • Basic Education Axis – Under this axis, students must learn about anthropology, ethics, history, psychology, sociology and philosophy. These subjects are general but can be directly related to law.
  • Professional Education Axis – This axis is meant to teach students specifically about laws, such as constitutional law, tax law and labor law.
  • Practical Education Axis – This axis is much like the internship portion of a degree. Students must complete approximately 250 hours of community service and 300 hours of vocational training related to law. While this is similar to an internship, all students are also expected to complete internships with real law firms during their schooling.

Bar Examination

While schooling is intense, it is not the only thing an individual needs to become a lawyer in Brazil. After obtaining a degree, candidates must complete a Brazilian Bar Examination. It consists of two parts, and in the second, people must choose to focus on either administrative law, civil law, constitutional law, corporate law, labor law, tax law or criminal law. Once the Bar exam has been passed, Brazilian lawyers are allowed to practice any area of law they choose.

Since the law system in Brazil is statutory and complex, the training required for people who want to become lawyers is aptly difficult. It means, however, that when you need a lawyer in Brazil, they will be well trained and highly professional. Practicing law is common in Brazil because the country demands good lawyers to navigate the complicated Brazilian Constitution. Since so many do exist, it can be difficult to choose one. If you need a lawyer, do sufficient research and always get referrals from friends and colleagues.

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