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.”
I feel sick in the stomach reading this article. The truth to the matter is that the legal profession is the only profession that believes six sigma does not apply to them. Lawyer regulation is simply a register of frequent flyer points – a lawyer becomes a Dalmatian when they obtain 101 dismissed complaints.
I can assure you its not the foreigners that complaint about the system its also the spaniards that have moved overseas too! Hiring a lawyer today is pretty much a risk management task – getting wrong and the risk is dangerous.
Lawyers believe in 100% self regulation. Group thinking does not police an industry
There is only one good think about spanish lawyers they don’t have the billable hour – no one would go to a lawyer if they did!
Abogados do not enjoy a good reputation among the foreigners, especially after suffering some practical experience. Trying to sue one would be considered by most a very good waste of time and money (no offense!).
So what’s different to the shysters in the UK, none at all as far as I know – Will Shakespeare had it right – now how many centuries ago was that.