Aivar Pilv recalled the history of the association at the Bar Association Gala
On 23.09.2022, the Estonian Bar Association Gala was held at the Cruise Terminal of the Old Port in Tallinn, dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the re-establishment of the Bar Association at the General Assembly held on 20-21 February 1992.
Attorney-at-law Aivar Pilv (Chairman of the Estonian Bar Association 2004-2010, Member of the Management Board 1995-2010) gave a presentation at the Gala, which gave a historical overview of the activities of the Bar Association as the ESSR Chamber of Attorneys from the late 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, i.e. the period during which significant and fundamental changes took place in the Bar Association and the activities of attorneys. The historical recollection also dealt with the working conditions that prevailed at that time, both in the provision of legal assistance to clients, as well as in the redevelopment of soviet-era legal advice offices and the establishment of independent law firms. The reorganization of the activities of the Bar Association and the formation of working bodies were guided by the principles developed in 1938. The historical retrospective recalled the various issues and problems that both the Presidium of the College of the Estonian Bar Association (future Board) and attorneys encountered in 1991-1993 and to which they had to find solutions. In comparison to the current working conditions, it was also noted, for example, how to use and distribute among the attorneys the 4 computers and faxes machines sent by the Finnish Bar Association to the Estonian Bar Association as an aid and how to justify the financial costs for its transportation to Estonia. The references to historical documents also revealed the extremely difficult economic environment of that period and its direct impact on the restructuring of the bar association’s activities. The legislation that has been developed by now and is generally known was still in the process of being formed and presented many new challenges for attorneys, but at the same time, in the years that followed, it required a very large amount of learning about new legislation. At that General Assembly, following the example of 1938, the Ethics Tribunal of the Estonian Bar Association was also elected, whose general principle of operation was to be independent and sovereign from the elected board.
On 20 February 1992, all members of the Estonian Bar Association took the oath of attorney-at-law and received the professional title of attorney-at-law. When the Estonian Bar Association was re-established, the professional association consisted of 200 lawyers and 191 of them continued to operate. The General Assembly elected an ethics tribunal and adopted the rules prohibiting unfair competition – which was a temporary guide before the adoption of the Code of Ethics. As of today, the Estonian Bar Association consists of a total of 1074 attorneys, who operate in a total of 221 law firms.