New attorney bill could provide special benefits to Rogán’s aid

April 5, 2017

A new attorney bill still under development could legally except conflicts of interest between owning a legal praxis and occupying a CEO position, a legal change that would help a friend and longtime aid of propaganda minister Antal Rogán (pictured) to reclaim his position as managing director in his company that has ties to Rogán, reports mno.hu. That friend, attorney Balázs Kertész, had to step down from his managing director position last year after index.hu’s investigation highlighted his conflicts of interest. (A full English translation of that investigation can be read here and our summary here.)

The current attorney code, in force since 1998, strictly prohibits any employment relationships for attorneys outside of a legal praxis. The new bill would abolish the conflict of interest through two loopholes, which would allow lawyers to hold managerial positions in business organizations if they do not receive payment for their services. The new bill also adds a new exception that would allow lawyers to hold managerial positions, which means that lawyers could effectively work for a fee in companies.

Former co-chair of Politics Can Be Different (LMP) András Schiffer, who practices law, told mno.hu that the bill is hypocritical and contradictory, and highlighted that it would still not allow a lawyer to be a part of a small family limited partnership, but could occupy the directorial seat of a private limited company. Schiffer argued that new exceptions were tailored to Balázs Kertész’s needs.

László Réti, president of the Budapest Chamber of Attorneys, praised the innovations of the new bill, but he also added that it was not the chamber that recommended the expansion of exceptions to conflict of interest.

Apart from the new exceptions to conflict of interest, the new bill contains numerous innovations, including eliminating conditional fee assignments, reducing the administrative burden on lawyers, and new measures protecting the clients.