The Law Society of Scotland Edinburgh HQ provides access to justice ? More like a license to steal from clients. DURING A BIG FREEZE, plumbers & repairmen are often demonised for charging what are branded ‘exorbitant fees’ by the press for coming out to fix your broken down gas boiler, frozen pipes or whatever the disaster is at home. Last winter for instance, we were treated to headlines such as “Big Freeze means big money for plumbers” who were alleged to be charging £150 an hour for repairing your frozen or broken pipes. However lawyers get away with this all the time, charging anything from £137 upwards an hour, yet newspapers, and most consumers pay no attention to these rip-off fees from the legal profession until its too late, that is, when the bill lands through your letterbox for yet another botched up job done by your soon-to-be unfriendly lawyer who has taken three years and several thousand pounds more to do a job you were told, or thought, could land you a tidy sum and be completed in a few months at most.
Now, as consumers you all like to think you are savvy, and wont be taken in by a cowboy builder who claims they can miraculously knock half your house down and rebuild it complete with a solid gold extension for £10.52 +VAT. In fact many [although not all] consumers do appear to be able to spot the cowboys in the building trade.
Not so with the legal profession, where it appears just about all of you, that is, everyone & anyone strolling through the doors of some lawyer’s office lose all their common sense and their supposed consumer savvy to the little-more-than-a-snake-charmer sitting behind the desk, promising you access to justice, a reasonable deal on a house or some resolution to some [let’s be honest, idiotic] dispute between you & your neighbours which is going to be blown out of all proportion by yours & their lawyers for years, at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds to both of you and your families.
Have you heard the one about the boundary dispute between two neighbours which started in 2006, where both parties have forked out over SEVEN THOUSAND POUNDS and are still nowhere near a court or a resolution to their squabble? There must be thousands of cases like this in Scotland & throughout the UK, and all that happens is your friendly lawyer who is billing you for several pints of blood by the hour, is making themselves & their law firm a lot richer while you get a lot poorer.
How about the one where the lawyer arm twists you into writing a will, appointing your lawyer as your executor and its witnessed by the secretaries of the law firm ? Again, thousands of times a year this happens throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK, and thousands of times a year there are complaints about the same lawyers ripping off the wills of their dead clients yet not one of these consumers who believe themselves to be savvy enough to spot a hot deal, or a cold crook, twig to the fact they are being ripped off in a scam which sees lawyers steal hundreds of millions of pounds from deceased’s estates every year throughout the UK.
Divorce, wills, boundary disputes, land & property transactions, damages claims, negligence, you name it, your lawyer provides it, all in the name of access to justice. Its actually business, and a very profitable one for them.
We could sit here talking about examples where lawyers have ripped off consumers all day, thousands of cases happening all over the country, to people who consider themselves able to spot a hot deal on the internet, yet when it comes to dealing with a lawyer, just about all consumers seem to turn into a soggy old bar of soap waiting to be scooped up and thrown in the bin.
So, the next time some lawyer tells you they exist to provide access to justice, and want to rip you off at £130 plus an hour, or when your solicitor hands you some surprisingly cheap estimate of what you legal troubles will cost you to resolve, walk out of your lawyers office before your life becomes a living hell and you join the thousands of people out there every year who have to deal with the same ‘surprisingly cheap estimate from their lawyer’ which then turns out to be anywhere up to 17 times the figure a few years on from when you first stupidly engaged your solicitor on some frivolous issue just because you were promised a megabucks settlement which turned out to be fantasy.
You made a mistake hiring your lawyer in the first place, you know that now. You realise your will is a bit of a scam, because the lawyer is going to help themselves to most of it, you realise your years long boundary dispute, or your years long trek to court to sue a hospital over a medical injury is going nowhere because the case is really more about your lawyer making their fees, rather than any final settlement for you obtaining the ‘justice’ you claim you deserve.
So, why don’t you do something about it and stop throwing your money at lawyers you know nothing about who are in reality doing this on a regular basis to client after client ? We are in a recession, you know, and the last people you should be going anywhere near is the best pals of the bankers, the lawyers who are so worried about their dwindling business, they are beginning to place stories in newspapers in attempts to bring more clients through the doors of their chambers of horrors.
AND NOW THE GOOD NEWS : LAWYERS PROFITS IN STEEP DECLINE
FIGURES put out by the Law Society of Scotland (which means we have to take these with a pinch of salt) claim the value of the legal sector to Scotland is around £2.2 billion pounds, perhaps one of the reasons that even the First Minister has been wired up to the Law Society’s lobby machine to promote Scottish lawyers in the middle east while stripping away consumer protection from crooked lawyers in Scotland.
Earnings of Scottish solicitors have taken a dive since the recession of 2008, however, to compensate for their loss of earnings, theft of client funds, fraudulent fee demands, embezzlement, negligence, and the numbers of cases being taken on by solicitors to scoop up fees and dropped later on without a result are swelling by the day.
Profits per partner have fallen from £104,000 in 2008 to £64,000 in 2010, while fees per partner are down from £125,000 to £104,000 over the same period. This reflects the fact that solicitors were able to charge £146 per hour on average in 2008 but were charging £137 per hour by 2010. To compensate for this, salaries have risen as a proportion of fees from 30% in 2008 to 34% almost in percentage terms, in line with the rising levels of fraud against clients.
The figures also report there are 10,380 too many solicitors in Scotland, plus about the same number of paralegals, who are also looked after by the Law Society of Scotland (escpecially the ones who like to steal from client’ accounts to fund their spending, or even drug habits).
Of those 10,380 solicitors wrecking havoc throughout the country and dipping their fingers into your finances, 3659 work in private practices as principals, with a further 3416 as partners or juniors. Of the rest, 1734 work in the public sector either for the Scottish Government, councils or quangos, doing as much damage as they can to public services in Scotland and taking as much as they can from the public purse, and 761 work as in-house legal advisers for private companies, which is probably why a lot of private companies are suffering because they are being provided by bad & expensive legal advice. A higher proportion of solicitors are men, with the split currently standing at 54% to 46%.