Lawyers begin protest of Justice Ministry plan

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Lawyers begin protest of Justice Ministry plan

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Lawyers protest in front of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul yesterday, after the Ministry of Justice said it will hire law school students as prosecutors. [NEWSIS]


About 30 lawyers, most of them in their 30s, held a rally yesterday in front of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in Seoul, opposing a plan by the Ministry of Justice to hire law school students as prosecutors based on recommendations from their deans.

“If the ministry hires law school students based on [deans’] recommendations, fairness wouldn’t be guaranteed,” said a lawyer who did not want to be named. “We urge the ministry to reconsider the plan and hire law school students on the basis of fair procedures.”

Na Seung-cheol, a 34-year-old lawyer who led the rally with Kim Byeong-cheol, a 36-year-old lawyer, said, “We held this rally to show that the ministry is wrong. We will hold a rally twice a week on this spot until an appropriate measure is taken by the ministry.”

There are two tracks to become a lawyer in Korea - passing the national bar exam before taking two years of training at the Judicial Research and Training Institute or attending three years of law school then passing a lawyer certification test designed only for law school students. Since law schools were formed in 2008, there have not been any graduates.

The feud between lawyers and the ministry started on Feb.18, when the ministry said it will hire law school students based on recommendations from their deans only. Angered by the ministry’s plan, about 520 lawyers who passed the bar in 2010 did not attend their first day of training at the judicial institute last Wednesday in protest. Those lawyers believe law school graduates should be forced to take two years of training. They are also concerned that the ministry would preferentially hire students whose fathers are high-ranking lawyers in government offices.

With the debate intensifying, the ministry announced last Wednesday that it would select law school students after they passed the lawyer certification test, not only based on recommendations. Nevertheless, the protests will go on, Na said.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]


Related Korean Article[경향신문]

“로스쿨 원장 추천 검사 임용은 불공정”

현직 변호사들이 법무부의 ‘법학전문대학원(로스쿨) 출신 검사 사전 선발’ 방안 철회를 요구하는 시위를 벌였다.

서울지역의 30대 청년 변호사 20여명은 7일 오전 서초동 대검찰청 앞에서 집회를 열고 “법무부는 로스쿨 원장의 추천으로 로스쿨 재학생을 검사로 임용하는 방안을 철회하라”고 촉구했다.

이들은 청년 변호사 575명이 참여한 성명서를 통해 “까다로운 시험을 치러야 하는 사법연수생들과 달리 면접 위주로 로스쿨 재학생에게 검사 자격을 주는 것은 부당하며, 로스쿨 원장이 검사 추천권을 가질 만한 합리적인 이유가 없다”고 주장했다.

집회를 주도한 나승철(34·사법연수원 35기), 김병철(36·연수원 39기) 변호사는 “로스쿨 원장의 추천으로 재학생을 검사로 임용할 경우 현행 사법시험과 같은 객관성·공정성을 확보할 수 없다”며 “로스쿨이 특권 세습의 통로로 전락해버리고 말 것”이라고 말했다. 이들은 “우리는 검사 임용과는 직접 관련이 없지만, 법무부 방안이 얼마나 잘못된 것인지 알리기 위해 나왔다”며 “맹목적인 밥그릇싸움이 아니라 대한민국 사법계를 걱정하는 행동”이라고 덧붙였다.


변호사들은 이날 집회를 마친 뒤 법무부에 항의성명서를 전달했으며 법무부가 방침을 철회할 때까지 매주 두 차례 출근 전 집회를 열 계획이라고 밝혔다.

앞서 42기 신입 사법연수생들은 법무부 안에 반발해 지난 2일 열린 연수원 입소식에 집단 불참했다. 연수원은 입소식 도중 플래카드를 들고, 법무부 안에 대해 반대 의사를 표시한 연수생들에게 경위서를 제출받는 등 징계 절차에 착수했다.

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