Why are there still notaries?

Interview with the President of the Federal Chamber of Notaries: Notaries are looking for new recruits


The notary's job is considered indispensable - but also boring. The profession suffers from its image, and worries about the next generation plague it. Jens Bormann explains in an interview what defines his work and why it can be exciting.

LTO: Prof. Bormann, the history is due to the fact that there are areas in Germany with full-time notaries, i.e. so-called notaries-only, and those with lawyer notaries. The approximately 1,700 notaries only work in Bavaria, Hamburg, the Rhineland and the new federal states, among others. Around 5,500 lawyer notaries - i.e. notaries who also work as lawyers - can be found e.g. in Berlin, the Westphalian part of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse or Schleswig-Holstein. The relationship to one another was not always harmonious. Did this change?

Prof. Jens Bormann: After the fall of the Wall, there actually were certain inconsistencies between the full-time notary and the legal notary in connection with the question of which form of notary should be introduced in the new federal states. However, these have long since been overcome. The notary's office today follows a completely uniform policy. This is the only way to develop the profession in a meaningful way. In the Presidium and the Representative Assembly of the Federal Chamber of Notaries, the representatives of the full-time notary's office and the legal notary's office therefore pull together.

Keyword further development: The number of lawyer notaries is falling steadily, especially in rural areas there are in some cases no suitable applicants. Why is that?

On the one hand, the falling numbers are of course due to the fact that we have a corresponding decline in population in rural areas and thus the volume of documents is also falling. As a result, fewer jobs are advertised. While we seldom have problems filling vacancies in the full-time notary's office, on the other hand, in certain regions it is not always easy when it comes to legal notaries. We are faced with similar problems here as in the judiciary: there are fewer graduates of the state law examinations and therefore fewer suitable applicants.

But one thing has to be made clear: there can be no question of undersupply here. Even in rural areas, the population is still provided with all notarial activities across the board. This sometimes also happens because lawyer notaries concentrate more on their notary work.

"We are not allowed to put our hands on our laps"

Nevertheless, you have to do something: A not inconsiderable number of professionals are already of an advanced age. How do you intend to make legal notaries attractive to young lawyers? A profession that after the second state examination requires not only five years of practice as a lawyer but also a kind of third state examination?

Of course, we shouldn't put our hands on our laps and we have to promote our interesting profession. But already now the chambers of the legal notary's office are doing a lot, holding information events, visiting the trainee working groups and informing the prospective fully qualified lawyers there.

Because you are addressing the supposedly high hurdles for the job: We definitely do not want to compromise on the quality of the applicants. It is therefore unanimous that the notarial specialist examination in particular must be retained in its current form.

The training to become a notary is long, it obviously discourages women: only every seventh lawyer notary's position is held by a woman, among the full-time public officials the proportion of women-only notaries is 24 percent.

Notaries generally work independently, which on the one hand allows considerable freedom in the organization of everyday work, but on the other hand also requires a high level of personal presence. Women who want to start a family can be put off in individual cases. If you take a look at our "offspring", there is already a clearly positive trend: In the full-time notarial sector, there are already around 37 percent female notary assessors and the proportion of female graduates of the notarial specialist examination has now risen to around 35 percent.

When it comes to the compatibility of family and work, a lot has already happened in our profession: In the area of ​​the Rhineland Chamber of Notaries, for example, you can be represented as a notary for up to 100 days if you are looking after a child and the other chambers of notaries also have one developed quite generous representation regulations. In addition, a further relief is looming: According to the current legal situation, a notary can resign from the office of caring for a child for one year and is guaranteed to be reappointed at the same place. According to current reform considerations, this period should be extended to three years.

Profession with freedom of design

You are promoting an "interesting" profession. However, many imagine a notary to be a kind of qualified clerk whose job seems rather monotonous.

That is a big mistake. Notaries advise the parties involved neutrally and at the same time comprehensively. This offers enormous freedom of design. Drafting property purchase agreements, partnership agreements, marriage and inheritance agreements and trying to implement the various ideas of those involved in a legally flawless manner is a creative process that demands a lot, but is also a lot of fun. In addition, as a notary you are constantly dealing with very different people: The purchase of a company with the participation of large lawyers can, for example, be followed by the purchase of real estate by young parents or the inheritance contract of an elderly couple.

The economic component of the notarial profession is also likely to be decisive for the choice of profession. Is it true that, in particular in the new federal states, some notaries no longer cover their costs and are dependent on support services from so-called notary funds?

Such a general income supplement is only available in the area of ​​the notary's office in Bavaria and the Palatinate and in the area of ​​the state notary's office in the new federal states. In contrast to 15 years ago, when the new federal states still received around 10 percent additional income, today we are only talking about very low case numbers. This is based on the fact that the reform of the notarial cost law has ensured an appropriate improvement and that the notaries also benefit from the economic upswing of recent years, even in structurally weaker areas.

In other countries where such a cash register system does not exist, full-time notaries are only granted an income supplement in special cases, for example when a so-called "zero position" is taken over which has been completely rewritten and was not previously occupied by another notary. In the case of lawyer notaries, economic security must ultimately be provided through their second mainstay of legal activity.

Keyword digitization: In the future, all new notarial documents are to be archived in digital form. What are the benefits for citizens?

Since electronic legal communication with the commercial registers was introduced in 2007, notaries have been exchanging electronic documents with the courts in a legally secure and evidential manner. This has meant that entries in the commercial register can be made much faster. In the federal states that have set up electronic legal communication with the land registry, this also applies to real estate transactions.

From 2022, notaries will also store their documents electronically. For this purpose, the Federal Chamber of Notaries will set up an "electronic document archive" which will enable the documents to be stored securely. It follows that all notary deeds can in future be used in digital form without media discontinuity. Courts, offices and banks in particular will benefit from this as they no longer have to archive paper documents and can process notarial documents in electronic file systems without first having to scan them. This will also result in advantages for citizens, since processes can be designed faster and more efficiently.

Thank you for the interview.

Hasso Suliak, Interview with the President of the Federal Chamber of Notaries: Notaries are looking for new talent. In: Legal Tribune Online, July 23, 2018, https://www.lto.de/persistent/a_id/29881/ (accessed on: 24.05.2021)

Information on the suggested citation
  • It is no secret that no other profession is paid so princely for the service it provides. So it can't be because of the payment.

    • Before this unbelievable income (which, according to legend, there is and depends very much on the location), there is the time as a notary assessor, which is remunerated with the ridiculous starvation wage of R1, lasts three years and after that you don't know where you will end up . If you are unlucky, you end up in a bastard in Hinterpfuiteufel, where property prices are low and business attacks are rare. Who does that with 12+ points in the exam when he can alternatively do 140k / year from the exam?

    • Indeed, I am thinking of the land prices in metropolitan areas and the insane notary fees charged for reading out standard contracts.

      It is correct and understandable if you point out these differences.

    • The fees are not that horrendous. You must also see the long training that will enable you to produce such contracts in the first place. You should - for example when buying a property - question the much higher brokerage fee

    • To speak of a "ridiculous starvation wage of R1" is of course ridiculous itself ...

    • This is how the gentlemen and ladies notaries think about the salaries of judges. Good to know.

    • Which notaries do you mean, Max?

    • "@Mazi" or "@@ Mazi" are different people to "Mazi".

    • Sorry, but R1 IS ridiculous for qualifications. Anyone who sees it differently obviously does not have two fully satisfactory exams and does not know the tariffs that are paid elsewhere. R1 may be a lot - compared to a bricklayer. But compared to another top legal job, it's more of a joke. There aren't even 2,700 left at the beginning. A decent electrical engineer doesn't even get up in the morning for that.

    • Nobody prevents anyone from earning more work as an electrical engineer if they think so. Or master craftsmen. suum cuique. However, intellectual, flat-boarding, sufficient lawyers have blocked some of the way.

    • But not everyone passes a master's examination either!

    • Nazi sayings in Latin still remain Nazi sayings. Forge a pretty archway instead of giving your brown comments here ...

    • I don't know who the cowardly anonymous @ -ler is here. Education seems far from him if he does not pretend to know that the wisdom suum cuique was represented and formulated by Plato, Aristotle, Cicero and in Justinian's code of law. Since we are actually legally oriented here.

  • And the things that do not bring in much, such as notarizations regarding paternity, are cast off with flimsy arguments. From "we won't do it" to "appointment only in three months" ... but I would have wanted to certify a house purchase ...
    Coal doesn't seem to be everything. Social reputation also counts. Luckily.

  • Solution: Reintroduce the legal situation from before 2010, i.e. abolish the NotFV. Like magic, there are enough notaries again, just as there were no problems with young talent for 100 years before. It can be that simple, but for some, nothing can be difficult enough. These are the people who create problems.

  • No notaries, no doctors, no soldiers - people think too much about money here.

    mountain lion.
  • Heartwarming is the memory of how a BNotK president, probably in the legislative process on the UG, darted intensely to the minutes of the legal committee with warming advertising words that founding a small company would only cost € 20 notary fee. Yes that was good! One knew: if you have friends like that, you no longer need enemies.

    Dr. A.Peus
  • The young colleagues have to get the impression that you can only earn a decent income in a large law firm. Why doesn't the representative of the association say that you can earn fantastic money as a notary?

    • The world as well as the notary's office are colorful and diverse. In the NOtar course around 1986/87 we heard the humorous saying: Being appointed to the notary at the notary's office in Cologne 1 is like the official permission to print money. Like so many jagged sayings, they do not apply across the board. The work of the notary is diverse, exciting, qualitatively demanding, demanding, and also demands backbone and character. I think most of my colleagues have them. Recently, also on lro, the question of an advertisement or an alleged quality ranking for notaries, probably instigated by Juve activities. Yes, there are quality differences depending on the specialist area. By the way - I would not have liked to have missed my clients from legal practice. Reputation? Well, generally good. In the population and among entrepreneurs there is cheap home greed - preferably without a notary. That is also being spurred on by UK and US fired law firms. Well, to put it bluntly: the lawyer notary is less bothered by it. People who wanted to save themselves the notary, often have very gratifying, massive and generous trouble, which is subject to legal fees and generating problems.

    • This popular opinion is based on the erroneous assumption that all notaries earn equally. In fact, there are considerable differences in income within the notaries - both in the area of ​​notarial-only and lawyer-notaries. In Hamburg as well as in Berlin, there are notaries who achieve 7-digit incomes, and some who are far from it in view of the high running costs that a notary's office requires.

    • If you complain about worries about the next generation, you shouldn't talk about supplementary income. It is absolutely clear that the world of notaries is colorful. But according to stat. Federal Office, after all, it is the highest-earning group of freelancers.

    • AS: Please reference. I can't find anything about it.

    • https://www.daserste.de/information/ratgeber-service/geldcheck/wer-verdient-was-er-verdient-interview-statistisches-bundesamt-100.html

      272k on average isn't that bad, right?

    • Thanks. The reference in the article could be implemented as follows: https://www.destatis.de/DE/Publikationen/Themati/FinanzenSteuern/Steuern/LohnEinkommensteuer/LohnEinkommensteuer2140710137004.pdf?__blob=publicationFile That is neither very fresh nor exactly the number 272,000 , but the order of magnitude as well as the relation are correct. So, free land - everyone there. One can try. According to the table, the only notaries are meant. Since income is also discussed by judges in the debate here - in the case of joint stock companies, the expenses for retirement are of course also shown as expenses for board members. The same actually always applies to various professions in comparison. Notaries have to pay into pension funds themselves - and by no means get retirement payments like judges, let alone such widow and child insurance from it. With destatis it is also somewhat unclear what "income" means. Probably non-taxable income (that would be after deduction of deductible pension expenses, e.g. for pension funds). What about health / curative care? Costs?

  • You have probably all written in the ground ...
    It's a shame that we won't be able to discuss any more here in the future. I always had fun with me.

  • A notary laughs at 140k, even in Hintertupfingen.
    I am a notary assessor and with R1 (federal government, level 2) I have about 3.7k net per month.No social security contributions, eligible for subsidies and step up every 2 years (even taking former activities into account, such as my previous 2 years as a lawyer in a large law firm).
    It was absolutely the best decision to quit the GK and become an NotAss.

  • If a notary position were not lucrative, it would be withdrawn / cut away after the current notary left.

  • Dear plenary,
    I would like to know specifically how much an independent notary, for example in Nuremberg, can earn (income)?
    Are we talking about 200,000 a year or 1,000,000.00
    That is a serious, straightforward question.
    Thanks for the honest info.

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