What is AGI ?

AGI (the Italian Employment Lawyers’ Association) was founded in March 2002 on the initiative of a group of Employment lawyers, based on a simple insight that they all shared. Employment lawyers have a very unique specialisation: Employment and Labour Relations Law is multi-faceted in its many and complex aspects. All you have to do is look at some topics such as individual dismissals, collective redundancies, TUPE, welfare support measures, social security contributions and more generally employee’s rights and free enterprise. These are issues that involve the daily lives of the majority of the population.

Up until now these particular skills have not been recognised either professionally, because specialisations as such are not recognised by our system, or politically because while the opinion of lawyers is sought after and taken into account in making reforms (be they big or small) to procedural law as well as civil and criminal law, in the field of Employment law only University Academics are consulted. Thus the experience of practicing lawyers who deal daily with the problems of the workers and of the companies is lost.

It was as a panacea to these issues that AGI was founded, with two specific goals: ask for and obtain professional recognition of the specialisation and the right to be called a «specialist»; ask for and obtain recognition of their role in society as the interlocutors with Parliament in the field of Employment Law. As a first step AGI, in November 2008 at the 29th Lawyers’ Annual conference, was admitted as one of the most highly represented association of lawyers at national level.

Along the road, which started out with a striking comparison between the position of lawyers in other EU countries (where specialisations are widely recognised), AGI found itself with allies in other lawyers’ associations: from the Criminal lawyers of the UCPI (Unione Camere Penali Italiane), Tax lawyers in UNCAT(Unione Nazionale Camere Avvocati Tributaristi), Family lawyers of AIAF (Associazione Italiana degli Avvocati per la Famiglia e per minori) to Regulatory and Administrative lawyers who have similar issues and for whom the specific problem was posed well before it became compulsory for lawyers nationwide to have permanent professional development training to guarantee the specialisation of its members.

AGI has identified objective criteria required to become a member of the Association. It also runs training courses for its members on specific employment law topics, both substantive and procedural and has set up - in association with the Law Society of Milan and the patronage of the Italian Bar Association – a School for specialists in Employment Law, reserved exclusively for lawyers. The School runs two-yearly courses for a total of 360 hours – attendance compulsory - with a final exam before an Employment Law Judge, a University Professor in Employment law and four Employment lawyers. The School opened in 2004 and is now well into its third two-yearly course (2008/2010).

AGI has been well-equipped for some time to face the changing needs of a profession for which evolution towards recognised and guaranteed forms of specialisation cannot be side-stepped, if it wants to keep pace with the other countries in the EU.