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"The Delevoye report on pensions does not take into account the peculiarities of the legal profession"
"The lawyers will not be able to support an annual charge of 540 million euros without adapting their economic model to this new environment" (Photo: Jean-Paul Delevoye, in 2017, at the Elysà © e). Benoit Tessier / REUTERS

tribune. The proposals contained in the Delevoye report on the pension reform project constitute a questioning of the economic conditions of the exercise of the profession of lawyer. Today, the pension system of this profession is an autonomous system, totally different from that of other liberal professions. The basic and complementary regimes of lawyers are managed by their caisse, the Caisse Nationale des Barreaux Franais (CNBF) which, subject to their validation by the supervisory authorities, freely sets the fees paid by the lawyers and the benefits they receive.

This scheme has the particularity of being profitable, of counting 70,000 contributors for 15,000 benefit recipients and to pay more than 90 million euros to the other plans, more than 1,200 euros per lawyer.

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Created in 1948 and autonomous since 1954, it is the product of the evolution of the profession of lawyers, whose number has steadily increased, from 7,500 in 1970 to 70 000 so far. A not so high workforce: in 2011, Germany had 155,000 lawyers, Spain 130,000 and Italy 162,000.

A cheap labor force

This situation allowed in any case to levy moderate contributions, to reduce them for new lawyers, and to pay retirement pensions that do not penalize the time of real activity. pick. In any case, they are superior to those projected by the proposed reform, which will therefore be an important step for the lawyers.

The state has also benefited greatly from this economic situation of the profession by finding in the newcomers a cheap labor to ensure at low cost. the defense of the most disadvantaged through the missions of legal aid, poorly paid for most.

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To this economic particularity is added a legal peculiarity, which amplifies the effect of the reform. Indeed, many lawyers work for their colleagues, not through a contract of employment, but under a "collaborative" contract (40% of the workforce in Paris) .

540 million euros annually withdrawn

Many people thus derive the majority of their income from the re-contracting of fees. Liberal professionals, they are subject to the same pension plan as other lawyers. The increase in contributions will lead them to ask their employer to offset the increase in these expenses.