Gold Mine for Young Lawyers: NIS 4,000 for a Mere Five Hours of Work

Anat Roeh
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Anat Roeh

Millions of shekels that flowed into state coffers will soon be paid to 200 young lawyers who will take over the job of signing affidavits, until now handled by secretaries, at courts in Tel Aviv, and will be earning thousands of shekels a day.

The 200 lawyers who signed up early for one of the most tempting projects ever initiated by the Israel Bar Association (IBA) will be counting their wages all the way to court. From this coming Sunday, these young attorneys (with up to five years' experience) will replace the registrars and secretaries at all the Magistrate's, Family and Traffic courts in Tel Aviv and will provide affidavit verification services to anyone who comes to the courts. This new arrangement is the result of an agreement between the IBA and Edna Bekenstein, president of Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court.

The service will be provided every day from 9:00-14:00, and in future there will an afternoon shift, too. Just one lawyer will be on duty for each shift, and will charge a fee of NIS 41 for each affidavit, as determined by law.

Data gathered by the IBA indicates that between 30 and 100 affidavits are signed each day in the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, and between 20 and 30 in the Traffic Court. This means that a lawyer can expect to earn NIS 1,200-NIS 4,100 per shift at the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court (the average is 70 affidavits per day, or NIS 2,800) and NIS 1,000 for a five-hour shift at the Family or Traffic Court. The lawyers who registered for this project will be assigned shifts randomly, by lottery.

On Monday afternoon the Kiryat Ono Academic College held a training session for the 200 attorneys who will soon be starting work in Tel Aviv. IBA representative attorney Yuri Guy-Ron told participants that it is important to extend this project to the periphery, and that lawyers in places such as Be'er Sheva and Nazareth can expect incomes no lower than those of their Tel Aviv counterparts.

Law firms, on the other hand, are unlikely to be pleased with this new arrangement. The firms' salaried lawyers will certainly find it worthwhile to take half a day off work once a month and nip over to the courthouse for some supplementary income.

Tax consultant Gideon Shapira, who also participated in the training session, says that it is better for junior lawyers to join this project, for example, than to ask their employers for a raise, as their net earnings from affidavit fees would be greater than if the same gross sum were added to their salaries.

The festive mood at Monday's training session was dampened only by attorney Eli Houminer, of the IBA's ethics committee, who reminded participants that they are not allowed to exploit their day at the court to recruit clients from among those requiring the affidavit verification service. Houminer said that the young lawyers must not give out their business cards, even if specifically asked.

The audience commented that since the lawyer's signature includes his full name and license number, a court client could locate the lawyer without the lawyer's violating the ethics code, which prohibits them from recruiting private clients while working at the courthouse.

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