A Shot across the Bows

OTHER than politicians I doubt if any line of work attracts more cynicism and criticism than does the legal profession; Spain’s lawyers in particular.

One way or another I have had dealings with this line of business for over 12 years and feel the need to take a good shower as a consequence.

There are some fantastic lawyers, granted, but those of us who write for newspapers receive a constant stream of letters from frustrated clients of some legal firms.

Let us take for example the Costa Blanca solicitor who, on hearing of the lady client’s need for a divorce, looked her in the eye and told her it would be no problem. But, he would need €200 down payment to begin the procedure. All she received in return was a single undelivered solicitor’s letter to her ex-husband. When this cost was queried she was told it was for his research into the divorce procedure. I wonder then what he was taught at college.

It taught this unfortunate lady, poorer by two-hundred sobs, that Woody Guthrie was right: there are men and women who will rob you not with a gun but a fountain pen.  She was offered a solution by a Costa del Sol solicitor.

She with equal glibness took the money and was eventually run to ground when she ran out of excuses. Her client’s marriage certificate was returned only after I personally and persistently intervened.

Yea; the power of the pen is mightier than the sword. There’s an old Spanish saying: ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’

It would seem that some solicitors can afford to be complacent about client retention as there’s trusting souls born every minute; more sheep to be shorn.

Robert Frost, who died in 1963, was one of the United States great poets. On four occasions this venerable thinker received the Pulitzer Prize for Literature.  Of his many observations one I recall:   ‘A jury consists of 12 persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.’   I would suggest that the term lawyer be modified to read better liar, or is there a difference?

I suspect that this article will bring a tsunami of letters from people who feel they too have been short changed or betrayed by some solicitors.

My shot across the bows of the Spanish legal profession is to suggest they clean up their act before the loss of public confidence in them goes the same way as that of the sometimes dodgy construction and property market.

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