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The lawyer compared to the notary


In France, the legal system relies on the expertise of lawyers and notaries, who play crucial roles in facilitating legal transactions and protecting the rights of individuals and businesses. While lawyers are primarily responsible for providing legal advice and representation in court, notaries are responsible for ensuring the legality and validity of various legal documents, such as wills, contracts, and property deeds. Although there is some overlap in their duties, these two professions have distinct roles and responsibilities. Understanding the differences between lawyers and notaries is essential for ensuring that you choose the right professional for your specific legal needs. Whether you need legal representation in court or assistance with a property transaction, knowing when to consult a lawyer or a notary can make all the difference in the outcome of your legal matter.

The lawyer’s profession

The lawyer is a legal professional whose mission is to advise, represent, and defend his clients in all legal matters. He is registered with the bar and subject to strict legal rules. The lawyer’s profession is governed by the National Internal Regulations of the profession (RIN).

The lawyer intervenes in various fields such as civil law, criminal law, labor law, business law, etc. In civil law, for example, the lawyer can help his client in drafting a contract, resolving a dispute, negotiating an agreement, etc. In labor law, the lawyer can advise his client on the procedures to follow to settle a conflict with his employer or to conclude an employment contract. In business law, the lawyer can advise his client on the creation of a company, drafting a commercial contract, resolving disputes between companies, etc.

The lawyer can also intervene in more specific areas such as real estate law, tax law, family law, etc.


The missions of the notary

The notary is also a legal professional, but his role is different from that of the lawyer. The notary is a public officer appointed by the State whose mission is to receive legal acts and authenticate them.

The notary is responsible for drafting and authenticating legal acts such as sales contracts, wills, donation acts, marriage acts, etc. He is also responsible for ensuring the legal security of real estate transactions by verifying the validity of property titles.

The notary is also competent to advise his clients on legal and tax issues, particularly in matters of succession or business transfer.


The differences between lawyer and notary

The missions of the lawyer and those of the notary are therefore different. While the lawyer is competent to advise, represent, and defend his clients in all legal matters, the notary is competent to receive and authenticate legal acts.

The notary therefore has a more administrative mission than the lawyer. His mission is to ensure the legal security of real estate transactions and to advise his clients on specific legal and tax issues.

On the other hand, the lawyer has a broader and more diversified mission. He can intervene in various fields of law and provide solid legal advice to his clients.

The lawyer and the notary are two complementary professionals who can intervene in the same legal transaction. The choice of whether to call on one or the other will depend on the needs of each party and the nature of the transaction.

If the transaction involves negotiation or litigation, it may be advisable to call on a lawyer. Indeed, the lawyer is an expert in law and can represent and defend the interests of his client before the courts. He can also advise his client in negotiating and drafting a contract.

If the transaction involves the drafting of a legal act, such as the purchase or sale of real estate, it is necessary to call on a notary. The notary is a public officer responsible for authenticating legal acts and ensuring their legal security. He can also advise and assist the parties in drafting the notarial deed.

Finally, it should be noted that the lawyer and the notary are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to call on these two professionals to ensure a quality and safe legal transaction. It is then recommended to choose one’s service providers carefully by inquiring about their skills and experience in the field of law.



The lawyer and the notary are two legal professionals with different missions and skills. The lawyer is a legal expert who can advise, represent, and defend the interests of his client in all legal matters. The notary is a public officer responsible for authenticating legal acts and guaranteeing their legal security.


About the Author :

Business lawyers, bilingual, specialized in acquisition law; Benoit Lafourcade is co-founder of Delcade lawyers & solicitors and founder of FRELA; registered as agents in personal and professional real estate transactions. Member of AAMTI (main association of French lawyers and agents).

FRELA : French Real Estate Lawyer Agency, specializing in acquisition law to secure real estate and business transactions in France.

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