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Notaries in Europe and their effects on law department staffing and spending

The vital role played by notaries, particularly in Europe, raised questions for me about the overlap between what lawyers do and what notaries do, and law department management implications. Italy has 5,000 notaries while France has 9,000 of them, and the latter enjoy a monopoly over property conveyancing. Typically, governments fixed the fees of notaries and the profession can be highly lucrative.


An article in the Economist, Aug. 11, 2012, at 53 touches, on the changing roles of notaries, but doesn’t mention whether in-house legal departments must pay notaries for their services. If they do, I assume those fees are covered in outside counsel budgets. I would further assume that the requirement to use notaries for some activities reduces to a degree the number of in-house lawyers that are necessary.  Both of those points, if accurate, suggest that the ratio of internal to external spending tilts a bit more toward external.

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