Our regular Olive Press legal column by lawyer Antonio Flores
IT is every so often that we get enquiries from disgruntled former clients of colleagues, claiming that their chances of recovery, on occasion of a legal dispute or in a failed property transaction, have been seriously diminished or even thwarted by, in their view, negligence of the acting lawyer.
And whenever the option to sue another lawyer is raised by a third participant in the meeting (it tends to be a friend, acting as the good Samaritan for the occasion), the victim of the suggested negligence tends to raise all kinds of objections, arguing that ‘lawyers tend to stick up for each other and they will avoid filing lawsuits against fellow practitioners’.
Admittedly, this perception is widely spread among foreign people, further aggravated when they throw in other elements of collusion (lack of determination or bias, the logic idea that other lawyers are naturally antagonistic toward lawyers who sue lawyers, corrupt judges, unknown timescales, costs etc.).
The reality is that, unlike in the US, in Spain we don’t have lawyers specialised in suing other lawyers. It is in fact a field of the law that is almost unknown, and you will normally find that it takes a lawyer with very tough skin to feel comfortable in this practice.
Yet there are now more and more articles devoted to legal malpractice being published, quoting relevant rulings and other interesting material on the issue and astonishingly, when you make a search on one of many legal libraries in use, using the words “abogadonegligencia”, the result shows a whopping… 5,221 court rulings!
So it might be that we need to embrace the motto of a known Miami-based malpractice lawyer, Warren Trazenfeld, who some years back said: “Good lawyers always want to police their profession, they believe that lawyers who have damaged their clients should be held accountable.”