RSS

Tag Archives: Andrew Penman

Prevention is better than Penman : Law Society of Scotland’s ‘One Profession’, ‘One Big Rip Off’ conference is just another ‘Client Relations Killer’

law-in-scotlandSponsored by Master Policy Insurers Marsh & HSBC Bank, Law Society of Scotland’s annual conference debates way forward for lawyers. THE LAW SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND, the infamous anti-consumer regulator of complaints against crooked Scottish solicitors, holds its ‘one profession’ conference tomorrow, Tuesday 6 September at the ‘plush’ Glasgow Hilton. The event is sponsored by well known UK Based bank HSBC and the Law Society’s own Master Policy insurers, MARSH, the convicted of bid rigging in the US insurance broker firm linked in an independent report to the suicides of clients who dared approach the courts & Master Policy to recover funds stolen by crooked Scottish lawyers.

Law in Scotland – One Profession’, which, according to those in the know may be better described as One Profession, One Big Client Rip Off, is being held on Tuesday 6 September at the Glasgow Hilton. Attendees expected, mostly solicitors and those from the legal establishment will be those who have rather large financial interests in making the legal profession as profitable as possible, stepping on as many clients along the way as is humanly possible.

marshMarsh, the Master Policy insurers co sponsor this year’s conference, along with HSBC Bank. This year’s event at the Glasgow Hilton, itself the scene of various cosy lunches between law firms, universities & the Scottish Government which appear to have influenced the awarding of multi million pound publicly funded contracts to Scots law firms, is, according to the Law Society’s website, structured around 6 streams each focusing on highly topical issues for Sole Practitioners, High Street firms, In House, Big Firms, Legal Aid practitioners and New Lawyers.

Topics for tomorrow’s conference, (with the reality check in bold for consumers), include:

1. Winning more business from existing clients and new clients (and ripping them off through a variety of well tried & tested fraudulent methods, safe in the knowledge you are going to get away with it)

2. Tenders & Procurement: What Corporates look for in a law firm (Bribes, blackmail, backhanders, hospitality, access to crooked politicians, sympathetic or crooked members of the judiciary etc)

3. Ensuring your income from Legal Aid (and ensuring the Crown Office doesn’t prosecute you for stealing millions in legal aid by calling in the Legal Defence Union & favours from the Law Society)

4. Dealing with Difficult Clients (How to harass clients into withdrawing their complaint, sending someone round to threaten to burn their house down if they don’t, threatening client’s children (in one case, rape), use of corrupt Police Officers to threaten arrest, having a client’s home repossessed, breaking up their family, provoking a client into suicide (becoming increasingly popular)

5. Building your Professional Network (Meeting up with crooked colleagues from all walks of life & professions including the criminal underworld who may be of use in the future)

6. Your clients want WHAT? (none of the above, just a honest job on their case rather than it being strung out for a few years just to generate huge fees and a few rip offs including thefts from wills & property.

Despite the Law Society of Scotland claiming to represent both the legal profession and the public interest in legal issues & regulation of the profession, clients are not welcome at the event, however, the two faces of what the Law Society preaches as “Client Relations” versus what “Client Relations” actually is, will most certainly be discussed.

The Law Society of Scotland will have the public believe “Client Relations” is about dealing with client complaints effectively and ensuring clients are well protected from mishaps in their relationship with their solicitor or the legal profession as a whole. As many readers & consumers now know, through the power of the alternative & online media to that of the legal profession, the reverse is true.

Fact. In reality, experiences of real clients, rather than third party script writers show ”Client Relations” is in truth, about sending a client round so many twists & turns in the legal world, ending up with a law firm that represents & defends crooked lawyers, and is acknowledged to have intervened to prevent criminal charges against corrupt solicitors in legal aid fraud cases, that the client, a married family man was provoked into suicide after well over three years of torture at the hands of the Scottish legal profession and its many tentacles.

Prior to tomorrow’s conference, some sections of the media have been helping the Scottish legal profession over the past few weeks to promote itself as an honest bunch, albeit with ‘imperfections’ which can be easily put right. The usual, now incredibly worn script is followed – a lawyer can only achieve what is possible, not always what the client wants, and of course, the lawyer should put right mistakes immediately, something which invariably does not happen.

However, the same tired arguments & ostensibly the same articles written by solicitors and some of the most senior officials from the Law Society in newspapers since the early 1990’s, have done nothing to stem rising client fraud committed by members of the legal profession over the past two decades, and noticeably have spoke nothing about the rising numbers of client deaths, home repossessions & sheer outright harassment which clients have experienced at the hands of vindictive solicitors & law firms who have in recent times started to use the courts to recover alleged fee notes for work which never took place.

So worrying is the silence on the consumer’s point of view and actual experiences of genuine clients with genuine grievances, it is as if there is a media blackout of clients woes in some sections of the press, and when someone dares to point it out, or write about the issue on their own, a national newspaper tags along with the profession to in a concerted attempt to silence criticism. Clearly, no accident, according to how one journalist told it.

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society of Scotland “Client Relations” ensures solicitors interests come first before consumer protection. Clearly, enough time has passed where more & more experiences of clients ruined by their solicitors have hit the internet based media, showing without a doubt, clients usually receive the sharp end of the stick from their solicitors and the legal profession once a fraud has taken place, and upon receipt of an actual complaint by a client, the Law Society of Scotland will despatch the likes of the Legal Defence Union and a charity called “Law Care” to help the solicitor out of their ‘difficulties’ by any means possible, while the client is left with no support, no help, no one to speak for them, and certainly no return of what is now typically tens of thousands of pounds stolen from their funds.

While the Law Society gives lectures to its masses, and consumers about “how to deal with difficult clients”, the truth of how the Scottish legal profession perceives & deals with complaints is reflected in what one well known solicitor in an interview about how to deal with difficult clients once said.

Referring to an example where a client had considerable cause to complain to the Law Society of Scotland about the loss of hundreds of thousands of pounds, the solicitor said : “He should have a shotgun stuck in his mouth and the trigger pulled.”

This, is the attitude, and indeed the practice of the legal profession and the Law Society of Scotland when dealing with complaints against their colleagues.

Scotsman coverage of some of the stories relating to Andrew PenmanPrevention is better than Penman : Want to prevent this happening to you ? Avoid going through the doors of a lawyer’s office if you can help it. If you want to avoid what happens next, ask yourself do you really want to put yourself and your family through a living hell dealing with the legal nightmare which comes after dealing with a solicitor. Take it from someone who has already been through the system, if you want to prevent Penman happening to you, think again about how you use your money in these troubled financial times, and don’t go wasting it on the fantasy services provided by many Scottish law firms, services which quickly degenerate into dishonesty and just another escapade in taking as much money from you as possible, without being able to achieve the desired result in law, where you will invariably end up as the victim.

MURDER ON THE LAW SOCIETY EXPRESS : How the Master Policy’s killer streak protects Scots solicitors :

SLCC report headerAfter the release of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission’s investigation into the claims process against solicitors, harsh evidence emerged of the human cost to clients, where suicides, illness (some resulting in death), family break ups and huge financial losses are the horrific consequences sustained by members of the public who have tried to make claims against the Law Society of Scotland’s ‘Master Policy’ insurance scheme, touted by the legal profession as protecting lawyers and clients but which the ground breaking report released by Manchester University School of Law on Monday reveals “is simply designed to allow lawyers to sleep at night.”

Page 8 - Consumer Focus Scotland refused cooperation from Law SocietySuicides, illness, family breakdown, loss of homes, loss of livelihood were all identified by interviewees as being directly associated with members of the public’s dealings with the Law Society & Master Policy. During the research team’s investigation of claims against the Master Policy, team members were told of suicides which had occurred due to the way in which clients of crooked lawyers had been treated by the Law Society of Scotland and the insurers who operate the Master Policy protection scheme for solicitors against negligence claims. Quoting the report : “Several claimants said that they had been diagnosed with depression; that they had high blood pressure; and several had their marriages fail due to their claim. Some had lost a lot of money, their homes, and we were told that one party litigant had committed suicide.”

Further excerpts from the Manchester University report into the Law Society’s Master Policy & Guarantee Fund show the intolerable strain clients who attempt to claim against their ‘crooked’ solicitor have to endure : Claimants “described being intimidated, being forced to settle rather than try to run a hearing without legal support, and all felt that their claims’ outcomes were not fair. Some claimants felt that they should have received more support, and that this lack was further evidence of actors within the legal system being “against” Master Policy claimants. Judges were described as being “former solicitors”, members of the Law Society – and thus, against claimants. Some described judges and other judicial officers as being very hostile to party litigants.”

One direct quote from the report, depicts a claimant, who was forced to become a party litigant : “I keep fighting cases, and they keep coming at me, and now I have become ill. But they still keep coming at me. They threw me out onto the street, I couldn’t get my medication, I’ve got nothing, I was homeless, ill, sleeping in the car. Now I am appealing. But I can’t get a solicitor. They are just shutting me down…. My health has been damaged, they kill you off. It’s a proven fact. All of us have stress related problems after years and years of stress.”

The full story of the University of Manchester’s report on the Master Policy and its effects on clients, can be read here : Suicides, illness, broken families and ruined clients reveal true cost of Law Society’s Master Policy which ‘allows solicitors to sleep at night’

Some of the ways in which clients have been targeted by the Law Society of Scotland were revealed in an earlier article, documenting how Private Investigators & corrupt Police Officers have been used to intrude into client’s lives, featured here : HERE & HERE

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Where There’s A Will There’s A Crook : OFT say choose your will writing service wisely, consider costs, avoid making a solicitor your executor

will photo stockSurveys reveal consumers frequently make poor choices in will writers & executors. EVERY ONE of us should ensure our assets & financial affairs are put in order after we die, however the dangers of writing a will with an unscrupulous professional such as a crooked lawyer or an overcharging bank are well known to many families & relatives across Scotland who, after the death of their loved ones, have ended up being forced to deal with complicated complaints procedures put in place by biased self regulators such as the Law Society of Scotland or some rather dubious Ombudsman with little or no powers to put right the inevitable financial disaster for the beneficiaries, while the solicitor or bank pockets the remains of the will.

oft2OFT say consumers should not be led to appoint a professional solicitor as an executor. Today, the will writing services of the banks has come under wider public scrutiny as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced the big four banks, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group & Royal Bank of Scotland have all voluntarily agreed to review and, where necessary, improve the way they sell will-writing and executor services. The move follows discussions with the OFT during 2010 as part of a wider effort to improve the will-writing market for customers and their beneficiaries, following concerns that some (well, most) consumers are appointing professional executors without fully understanding the likely costs and the alternative options.

The OFT’s announcement states the big four banks have agreed to meet three key principles, to ensure customers are able to make well-informed decisions.

  • Consumers making a will should not be led to believe that appointing a professional executor is essential or the norm.
  • Consumers should not be encouraged to appoint a professional executor unless it is clearly in their best interests.
  • Providers should be satisfied, before the will is drafted, that the consumer has the information necessary to make an informed choice. The consumer should understand the options around executor appointments and be aware of the likely basis of charging for the professional executor service.

The OFT reported all four banks are currently reviewing their product literature and processes and any necessary changes should be in place within six months at the latest. Barclays Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS Group are the only banks that currently offer will-writing and executor services, however consumers may not always be aware that each bank outsources the preparation of wills to external solicitors, although the bank provides the executor service itself.

While the OFT survey applies only to will writing services of banks, services which are used perhaps more so in England & Wales than in Scotland, many Scots consumers who are thinking of writing a will usually end up blindly walking into a solicitors office somewhere in the country, with absolutely no knowledge of what to expect from their solicitor or bank in terms of what kinds of services are offered, how much a will could cost to be implemented after death, and what action could be taken by beneficiaries if there is poor or negligent handling of a will by the executor, the bank, the solicitor or the will writer who drew up the will in the first place.

If the lack of information on costs of handling a will and how to put things right if its handled badly isn’t confusing enough, the serious question of who to appoint as executor is often handled poorly by consumers, who, almost unbelievably in 2011, end up appointing the same solicitor who writes the will, which is almost like giving a blank cheque to a house burglar who will more often than not charge as much as they can for handling a will after death, to the point in some cases, there is no money left for anyone except themselves.

The OFT today reminded consumers there is no requirement in law to appoint a professional executor, although, according to a survey published by the OFT last year, some 43 per cent chose to appoint (usually through ignorance) the same professional will-writer or solicitor who wrote their will.

While the costs for preparing a will can be relatively modest, the costs for a professional executor to administer an estate can be high and vary considerably. For an average estate, consumers can pay between £3,000 and £9,000. Failing to shop around for executor services could be costing UK consumers around £40 million a year, according to OFT estimates.

David Stallibrass, Director in the OFT Services and Public Markets Group, said: “The wrong decision when appointing executors could mean a potentially expensive professional service is chosen, when a family member or friend may be quite capable of handling the task either alone or with professional support. We are pleased that each of the banks has agreed to review its selling practices and marketing literature to ensure customers are getting the information they need to make informed choices.”

When a will is prepared, thought will usually be given to who is legally responsible for administering the estate according to the provisions set out in the will. When appointed under a will, these persons are known as ‘executors’. Lay executors – such as friends or family members – can be appointed instead of appointing a solicitor who can end up charging what they like for administering the provisions set out in the will.

The alternative is that consumers can employ a professional executor, who will administer the estate in return for a significant fee – often a sizeable percentage of the value of the estate or possibly even the entire estate if the actions of some solicitors are taken into account. Any consumer ignorant enough to appoint such a person who is covered by their profession’s self regulator may end up appointing the same person or firm who wrote the will such as a solicitor. Bad decision in nine out of ten cases.

Speaking from a personal perspective as a victim of the legal profession over a will rip off, if you do end up appointing a solicitor as your executor, you may well end up with an Andrew Penman, or a Norman Howitt which means you are basically giving all your money, property, possessions etc over to a lawyer so they can enjoy it. Bad decision.

Don’t do it. Don’t fall into the trap of trusting the person behind a desk in a lawyers office just because they sit in an office and give the appearance they can be trusted. The experience of many people each year in Scotland indicates when it comes to wills and solicitors, the phrase Where there’s a will, there’s a crook has considerable weight.

SLCC LAW SOCIETYCase after case has proved the Law Society & SLCC take no action against lawyers who rip off wills & bereaved families. Do you really want to put your remaining family, friends or loved ones through the nightmare of dealing with a crooked lawyer, crooked law firm, or even worse, having to go through the self protecting Law Society of Scotland or the anti-client Scottish Legal Complaints Commission ? Take my advice, avoid it all and make sure you never appoint someone such as a solicitor or an accountant as your executor, certainly not in Scotland, because there are absolutely no safeguards to poor, negligent or even the criminal handling of wills by Scottish solicitors.

Given the significant degree of negligence or even criminality in the handling of wills in Scotland, it is long past time for a review of will writing services offered by the legal profession, and wider public education of the real costs & hidden dangers of who you as consumers allow to write & implement your final wishes.

However, any such review of the disgraceful state of will services offered by the Scottish legal profession may well have to come from south of the border because most political parties in Scotland realise its just too much of a cash cow for their friends & donors in the legal profession, a cash cow for lawyers which is guarded to the death …

My previous coverage on the subject of wills, will writers, and the crooked lawyers who handle wills can be found here : Where there’s a Will, there’s always a crook, a crooked lawyer & a crooked self regulator

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Former lawyer jailed for embezzling £130K returns to run will-writing business as Law Society continues to protect still-working solicitors who rip off wills

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society refused to confirm whether victims of Valerie MacAdam had been repaid. A SOLICITOR who was jailed for three years in 2008 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after being found guilty of embezzling £130,000 of client funds has returned to Scotland’s legal services marketplace with a will writing business, according to an investigation carried out by the Sunday Mail newspaper.

Valerie Macadam, now Valerie Penny has been identified as running the “wills at home” website, which states : “A new service is available! After a successful career as a lawyer, Valerie Penny lectured in law for several years. She then moved to the traditional Craft Town of West Kilbride six months ago having married local man, David Penny. She has now established a new business that will be of use to the whole community.”

The website goes onto state : “The firm also offers preparation of documents in the comfort of clients own homes or another convenient place of their choosing. This is much more relaxed and personal, but no less professional than the service conventionally provided in an office environment. Clients are ensured not only confidentiality, but also safe keeping of deeds as documents are retained in a secure document safe.”

There is no mention on the wills at home website of Ms Penny’s colourful history as a lawyer, nor are clients alerted to her conviction & three year jail sentence, which the Journalonline reported “was reduced from four years for an early guilty plea. Macadam took money from the bank accounts of clients and life savings of others as she handled their wills, stealing from five clients in total over a period of six years. Macadam had been banned from practising as a solicitor in 2004 following a Law Society of Scotland investigation.

Philip YellandPhilip Yelland, the Law Society of Scotland’s Director of Regulation for over 20 years. Philip Yelland, the Law Society of Scotland’s director of standards, said: “The Law Society of Scotland acted to protect the firm’s clients and Ms Macadam has not been able to practise as a solicitor in Scotland since 2004. Solicitors are trusted to handle millions of pounds of client funds each year. Honesty and integrity are absolutely paramount within the solicitors’ profession. Those who are suspected of stealing from clients will be investigated and, if they are found to be acting dishonestly or fraudulently, strong action will be taken against them, both by the Society and the courts.”

What a lot of rubbish Mr Yelland. You may as well have sent all her clients off to Andrew Penman at Stormonth Darling in Kelso to be fleeced again.

I covered Valerie Macadam’s conviction and side issues relating to solicitors ripping off clients for double fees in an article during late 2008, here : Lawyers stealing from clients to earn ‘double fees’ while Law Society looks the other way in vast network of legal aid fraud & embezzlement

The report from the Sunday Mail follows, although I feel I should emphasise some points to my own readers. The lawyer quoted in the Sunday Mail’s story, Bruce de Wert, who is an “Honorary Sheriff” and runs a will writing business (Scottwills) along with a divorce business (MyScottishDivorce) states : “When you deal with a solicitor, you will normally find they also offer a will storage service – usually for free. But the difference is solicitors are heavily regulated and, in the event they were to retire or go out of business, the Law Society ensures these wills are properly passed on to another solicitor.”

Many solicitors actually charge for holding wills & documents. I know this to be the case as I’ve had fee notes for this service. I have also had numerous readers come to me with examples of similar fee notes, with some solicitors occasionally refusing to hand over documents they are holding for clients until very dubious & usually very high charges and fee demands are paid.

The part about solicitors being heavily regulated is of course irrelevant because as we all know, solicitors are ineffectually regulated by the Law Society of Scotland & Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, and that is why I have seen & reported on hundreds of cases of will fraud by solicitors over many years. If solicitors were so well regulated, I wouldn’t be able to write about such cases, and of course, if solicitors were so well regulated, there wouldn’t be so many Andrew Penmans out there doing much the same as those featuring in headline after headline after headline.

Personally of course, I don’t believe anyone should make tens of thousands of pounds out of a family member passing on their final wishes to their family or whoever they choose to leave their wealth.

After being dragged through the Law Society’s sinister complaints practices, and having a solicitor and an accountant basically put a gun to my family’s head, hound us for years, harass us, follow us, threaten us, make our lives a misery while they both got away with it, I am of course bound to say this, but I say it because I don’t want anyone else to go through it, so be careful who you trust your will to, and indeed for that, all your legal interests and remember, there are just as many criminals still inside the Scottish legal profession who will ruin your will & your legal interests, as those outside who might not be telling their clients all they need to hear.

For those readers concerned about their wills and other documents being held by their solicitors, I have written articles which readers might be interested in HERE

The regulation of will writers has entered into law as part of the Scottish Government’s Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010 (pdf) Chapter Two specifically referring to regulation, and it may come as no surprise to all, the Law Society of Scotland is in the frame to regulate non-lawyer will writers, as I featured earlier, here : Scottish Government plan to regulate non-lawyer ‘will writers’ may see Law Society regulate all complaints against mishandled wills, legal business

I recently covered the subject of will writers, lawyer & non-lawyer, and their lack of effective regulation, here : R.I.P. OFF : Lack of independent regulation reveals solicitors, accountants & will writers should not be trusted on wills, final wishes & bequests

Now over to the Sunday Mail :

Where there's a will there's a crook - Sunday Mail November 28 2010Shamed lawyer who robbed clients out of jail and back in business

Nov 28 2010 Exclusive by Russell Findlay and Lauren Crooks, Sunday Mail

A CROOKED lawyer jailed for stealing money from dead clients is back in business, we can reveal.

Valerie Penny, 54, runs a slick website to lure customers into handing over £80 for wills. She is selling the same legal services she used to steal £130,000 from clients and their estates – a catalogue of dishonesty that landed her in prison.

The struck-off solicitor, who was called Macadam before her marriage, boasts of her “successful career”. But she makes no mention of her jail time for robbing clients’ cash or her shocking record of professional misconduct.

Last week Sunday Mail investigators caught her back in action touting wills and other legal services.

US-born Penny, who has practised law in Scotland and New York, was jailed for three years in December 2008 for stealing £130,000 from clients, some of whom were dead. She seized control of their finances through “power of attorney”, then syphoned their life savings over a six-year period. She specialised in conveyancing and wills at her law firm in Edinburgh’s posh Charlotte Square before her crime spree was uncovered.

After being freed from Cornton Vale prison in June, Penny launched Wills at Home from her house in West Kilbride, Ayrshire. She and second husband David, 50, a nuclear power station security guard, sell wills and power of attorney documents through online ads.

Her website states: “After a successful career as a lawyer, Valerie Penny lectured in law for several years. “North Ayrshire is the first area in Scotland to have the benefit of Wills at Home but Valerie plans to extend the service throughout the country quickly.”

Last week Penny and her husband met our reporters – posing as a couple – at a Kilmarnock hotel and offered two wills for £120. After making and printing the first will, she said: “Now do you have somewhere fireproof to keep the wills? No, well, we have a safe. We can keep them there if you’re happy for us to do that. It’s what normally happens.”

She handed a copy of one will to our team but forgot to print the second. She promised: “I’ll send it to you. Are you wanting to pay cash? If we’re holding the deeds, there’s a small extra charge of £15 per deed. But if you’re paying cash, we can make it £140 instead of £150.”

The Scottish Government are set to pass a new law to tackle the unregulated will industry.

Lawyer Bruce de Wert, a wills expert based in Wick, was stunned at our revelations about Penny. He said: “I am distressed to hear a convicted embezzler is offering a will-making and storage service.

“I can’t imagine anyone who knew her background would accept her service. Apart from the obvious concerns of dealing with a criminal, I do worry that the wills she has produced may never be found.

“When you deal with a solicitor, you will normally find they also offer a will storage service – usually for free. But the difference is solicitors are heavily regulated and, in the event they were to retire or go out of business, the Law Society ensures these wills are properly passed on to another solicitor.”

Penny first appeared in front of the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal in 2003, which found her guilty of a catalogue of misconduct but failed to strike her off. Two years later she was finally kicked out of the profession for another long litany of misconduct.

The SSDT found Penny “deliberately and fraudulently” forged a signature on a document relating to a dead client’s will and acted in a “dishonest fashion by misleading” another client. They also said she embezzled client funds in a “calculated and devious scheme”.

Penny’s entry on the LinkedIn website for professionals had claimed she worked for global financial giant Bank of New York Mellon between November 2008 and May this year. But she was behind bars during that time. The dates were later changed to when she did work for the bank – from May to December 2008, when she was fired. A bank spokesman said: “As soon as we discovered her conviction, we terminated her employment.”

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Penny accused her first husband, lawyer David Macadam, 54, of driving her to embezzlement by his “bullying”. He was also rapped for misconduct by the SSDT in 2004. They ordered that he could only work as a lawyer under supervision for a five-year period.

When confronted last week, Penny said: “This will destroy me. The dates on LinkedIn are a mistake.” She then told her husband to snatch the will from our reporter’s hands.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

R.I.P. OFF : Lack of independent regulation reveals solicitors, accountants & will writers should not be trusted on wills, final wishes & bequests

Will fraud bkWill fraud by solicitors, will-writers & accountants prove many professions cannot be trusted with consumers final wishes. A CONCERTED CAMPAIGN by solicitors & other financial professionals to retain market dominance in the multi billion pound will writing & will handling business in the UK has been brought back into focus in the past two weeks after allegations were made by solicitors against ‘cowboy’ will-writing private companies offering the same poor, often extortionately costing & woefully under regulated services for will-writing & will handling as many people have already experienced from the legal profession, who currently dominate the will writing & will handling market.

Put simply, solicitors, accountants, will-writers and all their colleagues who are in the will writing & will handling business, should not be trusted by members of the public to handle wills, final wishes & bequests. All are as bad as each other, and all are as poorly regulated as each other. Not one to mend another – trust one over the other, and you are sure to be ripped off, either by the solicitor, the accountant, the bank, or the will-writer.

Sure, there are many professional bodies who openly & publicly guarantee their so-called professional members will never rip off your will, will never rip off your remaining family, will never ruin your final wishes & take what you leave behind for themselves, but the sad truth is all these guarantees are hollow, as hollow as a rotted tree with no innards. I covered this issue in more detail in November 2009, here : Consumer warning on wills : Don’t make your lawyer your executor as soaring cases of ‘will fraud’ show Law Society closes ranks on complaints

Scotsman coverage of some of the stories relating to Andrew PenmanRipping off the dead – Guarantees from the Law Society of Scotland of professionalism of their solicitors on handling wills are worthless as the media reports time & again. Trust a lawyer to handle your will, and you may well get one of the many Andrew Penmans running around, more of which you can read about here : Solicitors who rip off dead clients : How Borders solicitor Andrew Penman ruined an executry estate Trust an accountant as your executor, and you may well get one of the many Norman Howitts running around, more of which you can read about here : Accountants who rip off wills & abuse their positions as Executors : How Borders accountant Norman Howitt ruined a will and a family

Last week, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners – the international professional body for workers in the trust industry and the (often overlapping) field of estate administration whose members are mainly solicitors, barristers, attorneys, accountants, trust officers and trust administrators as well as banking and insurance professionals in the trust field, issued a press release claiming that a Survey Reveals Incompetence and Dishonesty of “Cowboy” Will Writers. The Press Release from STEP, bearing in mind their membership includes solicitors, accountants & bankers, reads as follows :

Interim results from a survey published today by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), reveal the scale of the threat posed to the consumer from cowboys in the will writing market. The survey found that 75% of STEP members have encountered cases of “incompetence or dishonesty in the will writing market in the last 12 months”, and prompted STEP to again call for better consumer protection. Two thirds of respondents reported coming across hidden fees which were not outlined in the stated price for a will, and 63% had direct experience of cases where will writing companies had gone out of business and disappeared with their clients’ wills. Just over one third had encountered cases where incompetence had led to significant additional tax bills.

Chief Executive David Harvey said: “This research shows how widespread cowboy will writers have become and it is clear those who charge a fee for writing a will should now be regulated. They must have an appropriate qualification, and they must have proper indemnity insurance. Soon the consumer will be protected by new regulation in Scotland and this benefit needs to be extended to cover the rest of the UK.”

Examples of malpractice included a company which approached young mothers in shopping malls, telling them their children would be taken into care after they died if they failed to make a will. One consumer was charged £12,000 up-front for executor services only for their family to find the firm involved had gone out of business not long after, disappearing with their wills and money. In June the Legal Services Board launched a review of the threat posed to consumers in England & Wales by unprofessional will writers and is currently seeking evidence of consumer harm. The Scottish Parliament is currently going through the process of regulating non-lawyer will writers through the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill.

Certainly an interesting Press Release from STEP, but it hardly tells the real story of what is going on in the UK will industry, where solicitors dominate the market. Notably, STEP use an example where one consumer was charged £12,000 up-front for executor services yet the Scottish legal profession can beat that hands down, where, to quote one example, Edinburgh law firm Turcan Connell charged fees of more than £16,000 to administer an estate with net assets of under £14,000 – and the Law Society then rejected a complaint from the deceased client’s widow, Dr Kate Forrest.

Legal bill wipes out net assets - The Herald January 02 2007The Herald newspaper reported : “[Dr] Forrest complained that the firm had told her only that it would charge £200 an hour, had entered into unnecessary work, and had failed to give her estimates, or issue itemised bills, despite repeated requests. She claims the firm then gave an undertaking to halt the charges, in a meeting with witnesses at the firm’s office, but this did not materialise. When the Law Society examined the complaint, it ruled that the meeting could not be taken into account as the firm had no record of it, and it accepted an explanation by managing partner Douglas Connell that the complaint had been based entirely on a “misunderstanding”. The £16,000 in charges had the effect of more than wiping out any assets in the estate, which had gross assets of £69,574 but debts of £55,731.”

Hardly a glowing recommendation for regulation by the Law Society of Scotland of solicitors handling wills, rather it proves deceased clients will be ripped off by any professional, with no recourse for their remaining family while the solicitor gets away with it – the perfect, ultimate, R.I.P. OFF.

BBC Panorama investigation on wills - no longer existsBBC Panorama report into corruption in the will writing industry omitted problems of solicitors ripping off dead clients. Coincidentally, the BBC’s Panorama programme ran a report on the wills industry, highlighting various rip offs by will-writing companies. The programme bizarrely implied while will-writing companies were quite obviously ripping off consumers to the tune of thousands of pounds, the situation was very different if a solicitor handled a will – something many victims of solicitors mishandling wills all across the UK could easily dispute. Curiously the BBC Panorama programme on this issue is now no longer available, although readers can still view a summarised text version of the report carried out by Panorama journalist Vivian White, here : Call for tighter will-writing laws as consumers duped

The new regulation in Scotland which STEP are referring to in their Press Release, relates to amendments contained in the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill, which may well end up seeing the Law Society of Scotland regulate non-lawyer will writers. I reporter on the Scottish plans for regulation of non-lawyer will writers, here : Scottish Government plan to regulate non-lawyer ‘will writers’ may see Law Society regulate all complaints against mishandled wills, legal business

Consumers should be in no doubt the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill is turning into one of the biggest rip offs of consumer choice of legal services in Scotland, a far cry from the intentions of the Which? super complaint and the Office of Fair Trading’s report into lawyers dominance of Scotland’s legal services marketplace.

Since the Law Society of Scotland (dubbed by some as the World’s worst regulator) cant even regulate their own member solicitors when it comes to defrauding deceased clients, wills, executry estates & beneficiaries, I doubt the Law Society is going to be very effective in regulating anyone else who is involved in the rip off will writing & handling industry, unless of course, the Law Society simply use their regulatory powers as an excuse to wipe out the competition, ensuring everyone has to use a lawyer to write or handle a will.

This advice may be hard to swallow, but take it from one who has witnessed, investigated and been a victim of solicitors ripping off the dead – trust no lawyer, accountant, will writer, or any other so-called professional when it comes to your will & final testament, and never appoint one as your executor … its the sure fire road to perdition ….

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Another Way to Spy : Complaints form allows Law Society a ‘blank cheque’ to snoop on clients who identify crooked lawyers

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society of Scotland’s role in complaints now extends to snooping on complainers. THE LAW SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND is now routinely asking clients who complain about their solicitors to give the discredited law complaints self-regulator permission to snoop on the complainer’s own background as well as that of the solicitor identified in the complaint, a policy revealed in today’s publication of the latest version of the Law Society’s own ‘complaints form’, which asks anyone making a complaint about a lawyer to authorise the Law Society to authorise the Law Society of Scotland to contact “any person, firm or body contacted by the Society to provide and deliver any information, files and related papers required by the Society.”

SLCCScottish Legal Complaints Commission give clients a choice to authorise similar snooping powers. Curiously while the Law Society says it requires such a vague, open ended level of unprecedented access to the private lives of consumers before it will complete an investigation into conduct complaints against solicitors – access which apparently includes asking for criminal background checks, medical details and other private information on complainers themselves, the ‘independent’ Scottish Legal Complaints Commission offers complainers a choice to authorise whether or not those it approaches in connection with an investigation can disclose information, documents, files or related papers in order to investigate the complaint. The Law Society offers no such choice and claim they will not be able to complete an investigation without all of its terms being agreed to.

Snooping Complaints Form : Sign this, and you give permission for the Law Society to snoop on every detail of your life, not just that of the solicitor complained against.

Law Society complaint form scan

A senior official with one of Scotland’s consumer organisations, commented on the Law Society’s complaints form expressed dismay at the wording of several parts of the document, and agreed that ‘Item 2’ on the complaints form in its current wording allowed the Law Society unusual levels of access to the personal details & lives of anyone making a complaint against a solicitor.

He said : “While it may be a case of poor wording, although since this form is coming from the Law Society itself one would expect them to get it right, the terms, after being signed by a complainer would in effect allow the Law Society to approach any individual, any public body, a Police Force, local health trusts, financial institutions etc for information on the actual complainer.”

He continued : “Personally I would have to question why the Law Society would need access to such private information on consumers. If I were put in the position of having to approach the Law Society over a complaint, I would be hesitant to sign the document in its current terms. I would advise consumers to question the wording of this form before they sign it, and ask to see all the data the Law Society gains from the form’s use during their investigation of the complaint.”

Shockingly, it transpires from details leaked by a legal insider, there have been numerous uses of private information apparently engathered by Law Society officials during the course of investigations into crooked lawyers, key information on the private lives of the complaints which has been used during Complaints Committee meetings to sway decisions in favour of the lawyer, quashing numerous complaints, many involving the most serious of offences. In several instances, it appears that Law Society Complaints Committees were even told of criminal background information on complainers, and members were asked to ‘find for the solicitor’ on the argument the complainer’s criminal background was of such bad character it merited letting the lawyer off the hook from the complaint.

The legal insider, citing one example said : “We were told the complainer had a driving conviction for an SP30. I had to ask what that was as I had no idea. I was told “breaking the 30 mph limit”. The complaint being considered in that case was in relation to the solicitor making a mess of the complainer’s father’s will. The solicitor’s agent at the committee implied the complainer was of bad character as he had been convicted of the driving offence and we should find for the solicitor. Myself and a lay member said this information had no relevance to the complaint. Even so, a decision was taken to find for the solicitor.”

In another instance, a Complaints Committee were informed the complainer had an assault conviction with a suspended sentence. Members were supposed to take this into account even though the complaint being considered related to the solicitor’s mishandling of a property transaction. The complaint against the solicitor in this case was also quashed, yet the solicitor in question has faced and is currently facing several more complaints made by other clients.

In another revealing instance, where it appears private medical information on a complainer was gained, either from the use of the form or from the solicitor who was the subject of the complaint, members of a Complaints Committee were told the complainer suffered from mental health issues and was undergoing treatment. Members were told his local NHS trust had confirmed this. A lay member asked why the committee were being told this and who had disclosed the information but his question was not answered. The complaint on that occasion related to contested fees for work the complainer said he had not instructed to proceed.

Jury  still out on law in the dock - The Scotsman 2 March 1998Law Society Committees have often been the scene of information gathered by Law Society snooping to save a crooked lawyer. The Law Society’s desire to snoop on complainer’s backgrounds is of course, nothing new, as I personally found out in the early 1990’s when I was forced to make a complaint against Borders solicitor Andrew ‘Drew’ Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso. Thankfully, the Scotsman newspaper, under its previous ownership had reported extensively on the Law Society’s concerted attempts to thwart any prosecution of Mr Penman by using a similar smear tactic session against of false information relating to my bad character (a bad character of publicising the complaint in the Scotsman) as well as Mr Penman’s own marvellously long career in the law, to get Mr Penman off the hook from jointly ruining my late father’s estate with a crooked accountant Norman Howitt, currently of the JRW Group based in the Scottish Borders.

Scotsman 5 June 1998 Law Society accused of closing ranks as claim failsLaw Society Chief Douglas Mill stepped in to block court action to reveal Law Society’s misuse of information back in the 1990’s. It was so important to the Law Society of Scotland I was not able to find out exactly what was said at the Complaints Committee and that I be prevented from taking judicial steps to reveal the Law Society’s method of halting the prosecution of Andrew Penman, the then Law Society Chief, Douglas Mill stepped in to block my legal aid application for legal action against the Law Society over its protection of Penman and misuse of information, which was widely reported in the Scotsman again, and later became evidence in two Scottish Parliament inquiries into regulation of the legal profession in Scotland, which eventually led to the creation of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.

It now appears, from the wording of the current version of the Complaints Form, the Law Society of Scotland are attempting to legitimise their snooping on consumers, by ensuring they get signed permission to do so, thus protecting themselves from the raft of privacy laws now in existence since I had my own battles with the Law Society during the 1990’s …

A client of a solicitor who is currently attempting to file a complaint with the Law Society of Scotland today branded the form an attempt at intimidation to stop people making complaints against their lawyers.

He said : “I think the form is designed to put people off making a complaint. Clearly the Law Society want every single piece of information on you they can get their hands on yet at the end of the day what do they do against the lawyer you are complaining against ? Nothing.”

He continued : “I think the Law Society just want to be able to look into people’s backgrounds to see if there is anything they can use to get the lawyer off the hook. I wont be signing it until they change that wording and give me assurances any information they are using about me I get to know about too.”

Another client who has approached the Law Society over the content & wording of the form has so far been refused an explanation over its terms, from both the Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission have been asked for their reaction to the revelations and the terms of the Law Society Complaints Form. The SLCC were also asked if they monitor who the Law Society approach as per item 2 of the complaints form, and what type of information is engathered by the Law Society. While no reply has yet been received I have been informed a response will be forthcoming, which will be published in an update to this article.

For now, I would advise clients who are complaining against their solicitors to the Law Society of Scotland, not to sign the Law Society complaints form until it is reworded to be more specific in detailing who exactly the Law Society can approach seeking information on consumers.

Also, since the Law Society of Scotland is currently exempt from the transparency of Freedom of Information legislation, clients who make complaints against their solicitors to the Law Society of Scotland should ask to be made fully aware of each & every organisation, body or individual the Law Society approaches concerning their complaint, along with the Society giving to clients, a full disclosure of any information they have gathered on the complaint.

As I note the solicitor who is being complained against (and their legal agent, along with other bodies such as the Legal Defence Union) appear to be entitled to see all the information the Law Society accumulates on a complaint, therefore the client making the complaint should have equal access & disclosure of all information engathered regarding the complaint.

Complaints forms & advice on how to complain from the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission can be downloaded at the following links :

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Clients must publicise complaints against solicitors ‘to name & shame’ or Law Society & ‘anti-client’ SLCC ‘will whitewash as usual’ say consumer groups

John G O Donnell Sunday Mail 19 April 2009Complaints against lawyers in Scotland ‘are whitewashed’ without media coverage. MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC who are forced to complain about their solicitors were today reminded by consumer groups & law reform campaigners their complaints to the Law Society of Scotland and ‘anti-client’ Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, especially complaints involving the most serious issues such as fraud, embezzlement, theft, mishandling of wills etc.. stand a much better chance of being more thoroughly investigated if the media become involved and the case is well publicised, after a string of reports exposing crooked lawyers in the national media were reported to have helped along complaints made by clients of Scottish solicitors while also helping other members of the public fall victim to the same rogue lawyers.

The 4m Crooked Lawyer - Daily Record 1991Would you use a lawyer who stole £4million ? The Law Society did nothing until the media exposed the crooked lawyer. The publicity of naming & shaming ‘crooked lawyers’ – which has become common knowledge among many Scots who have been forced to deal with the extremely prejudiced anti-client complaints system operated by both the Law Society of Scotland and now the hapless Scottish Legal Complaints Commission has been held up as an example by consumer officials for all clients who register complaints against their solicitors or law firms, in the firm belief based on firm evidence that media interest in complaints against solicitors speeds up investigations against ‘crooked lawyers’ while also drawing attention to the endemic problems of corruption within Scotland’s legal profession, and the legal profession’s unwillingness to regulate its own members unless headline grabbing stories begin to appear in the national or online media.

REVEALED - Top Lawyer at the centre of 12 negligence claimsBanned solicitor John G.O’Donnell is one of many lawyers in Scotland facing multiple negligence claims – would you use such a lawyer the Law Society seeks to protect ? After continual media coverage relating to the case of the banned-for-now solicitor John G. O’Donnell, which revealed more of the lurid world of Scottish legal regulators & major insurers conspiring to prolong & defeat financial claims made by ruined clients against hundreds of crooked lawyers still allowed to practice in Scotland, an official from one of Scotland’s consumer organisations today urged anyone who has registered a complaint against their lawyer with the Law Society of Scotland or Scottish Legal Complaints Commission to come forward to the national media and publicise the details of their complaints, to protect themselves from any prejudice the legal profession show against investigating their complaint, and help protect others from falling victim to the same fate.

SLCC LAW SOCIETYLaw Society of Scotland & Scottish Legal Complaints Commission both branded prejudiced, anti-client by consumer groups & campaigners. The official said : “Both the Law Society of Scotland & Scottish Legal Complaints Commission have consistently demonstrated in thousands of complaints investigations they are too biased towards the legal profession to be of any benefit to members of the public who are placed in a position by their legal representatives of having to complain to either of these regulators.”

She continued : “I urge all those consumers who have made complaints to the Law Society of Scotland or SLCC to publicise their complaints along with the names of the solicitors & law firms involved to force the regulators to pay more attention to complaints rather than constantly seeking to cover up even the worst acts of their members against clients by doing nothing over the thousands of complaints made against members of the legal profession each year in Scotland.”

will photo stockFrauds against wills & executry estates are a favourite targets for lawyers who often get away with stealing from deceased clients after a Law Society ‘complaints whitewash’. A client whose complaint against his family lawyer has been with the Law Society for over two years with as yet no action after over £100,000 had gone missing from the client’s late mother’s will said the only way to get some justice against lawyers who steal is to go public and keep the pressure on the lawyer and the Law Society to do something.

He said : “Despite my complaint being watertight and the bank details showing the solicitor had taken the money which has now been shown to have ended up in his own law firm’s accounts to prop up his supposedly ailing law firm, nothing has been done two years later and I think the Law Society are just going to whitewash the whole thing. On top of that he has been allowed to practice all this time so god knows what he has been doing with other clients money.”

An individual who was formerly employed by an independent regulator of complaints against solicitors said he welcomed the call for members of the public to publicise their complaints against solicitors.

He said : “People who make complaints against their solicitors have no idea how biased & secretive the legal profession are when it comes to investigating their own.”

He continued : “Fully independent regulation of solicitors will only come with a steady stream of media attention to the issue highlighting the sheer numbers & similar types of complaints made by clients against identifiable solicitors & law firms. The Law Society & SLCC know this to be the case which is why both keep a lid of confidentiality on all complaints they receive.

“Having spent some of my employed life in the field of complaints regulation I would advise anyone making a complaint against a solicitor to seek media interest when they submit their complaint to the Law Society or Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.”

Ian Donnelly - Lawyer begs for sex with mum & girl of 11 - Daily RecordEven complaints which involve criminal allegations of a sexual nature against solicitors are buried by the legal profession unless media attention ensues. As media reports have already revealed, complaints or scandals involving members of the legal profession are not limited to financial matters as revelations of some complaints to the Law Society show members of the public have been forced to complain against inappropriate conduct of their solicitors, where in one shocking instance now coming to light, a married solicitor & father of two began pestering the young son of a client to attend clandestine meetings with a sexual intent. In this particular case, as yet unreported in the media, it appears the allegations have not been reported to the authorities by the Law Society, even though the solicitor concerned – a ‘leading partner’ in a famous Scottish law firm used by many of Scotland’s top businessmen, has faced similar allegations in the past of seeking inappropriate contact with children.

Scotsman coverage of some of the stories relating to Andrew PenmanMedia exposure of the Law Society’s efforts to protect crooked Kelso solicitor Andrew Penman led to long road to reform of complaints against Scottish solicitors. Admittedly in some cases, media coverage can take years to have any effect on a case, where in my own particular complaint, the Scotsman’s (of old) exposure of the Law Society of Scotland’s efforts to protect crooked Borders lawyer Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso from a prosecution before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal, eventually led to many reforms of regulation of complaints against solicitors in Scotland.

james_nessLaw Society Council member James Ness prevented SSDT prosecution of Andrew Penman. While the media coverage in my own case did not change the Law Society’s cover up of the Penman case, nor did it resolve the issue of the senior Law Society Council members who halted the prosecution of Mr Penman before the Discipline Tribunal on everything from deceiving the Inland Revenue to Banks, the publicity on Andrew Penman & Stormonth Darling helped publicise many other serious complaints against rogue lawyers in Scotland, also helping a few members of the public to avoid publicly identified lawyers & law firms associated with complaints & corrupt practices, a lesson which should be learned by all.

MacAskill tight lippedJustice Secretary Kenny MacAskill compromised SLCC & legislative reforms to complaints against solicitors. Lessons on reforming complaints against solicitors must also be learned, after witnessing the mess of the Legal Profession & Legal Aid (Scotland) Act, considered by the Scottish Parliament in the summer of 2006, and eventually passed at the end of that year. The regulatory aims & reforms of the LPLA Act sadly now lie in dust, after the SNP minority administration which came into existence in May 2007, completely compromised most of the planned reforms of the LPLA Act, with the Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill going onto appoint Law Society stooges to what was to have been an independent Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. The SLCC as we all now know, has turned into little more than an anti-client front company for the Law Society itself, demonstrating well that lawyers cannot be involved in regulatory role against themselves in the future if reforms to regulation are to succeed in giving the public unrivalled consumer protection from Scotland’s notoriously poor legal services sector.

Scottish GovernmentThe Scottish Government are planning to approve the Law Society to continue regulating complaints in the new Legal Services Bill. Despite the infamous history of corrupt self regulation of the legal profession in Scotland, where lawyers have covered up for lawyers for decades, the Scottish Government are planning to allow the Law Society of Scotland as an ‘approved regulator’ to oversee complaints against even non-lawyers in Scotland’s ‘expanded’ legal services market to be ushered in after the passage of the Legal Services Bill, once aimed at expanding access to justice in Scotland but now viewed as little more than a bill aimed at consolidating the legal profession’s grip on Scots access to legal services. Such plans will only increase the cover ups associated with lawyers regulating themselves, while it is likely the non-lawyers will face more harsh treatment in an attempt by the legal profession to quash any competition in the legal services sector.

So to all those seeking advice on whether it would be best to publish your complaints against your solicitors before going to the Law Society of Scotland & Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, the answer is a firm YES .. however, if you do, seek out a newspaper with a decent circulation who will investigate and report on the story. If readers want recommendations on which newspaper to approach, please ask questions in the comments section.

Remember readers, wider publication of your complaint against your solicitor will help the progress of your own complaint as well as help to prevent others from falling victim to the same actions taken against you by your own solicitor, who may well have done the same to many other clients … You can all help end the cycle of ‘crooked lawyers, crooked self regulation’ by wider publication of complaints against solicitors.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Law Society welcomes new President, firm has links to dishonest Borders solicitors who mishandled wills & executry estates

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society of Scotland gets a new President, business as usual. JAMIE MILLAR, a partner with Edinburgh Law Firm Lindsays has taken over from Ian Smart as the new President of the Law Society of Scotland after what has been seen as one of the most problematic periods yet for the Scottish legal profession, who are facing everything from eventual regulatory reform to increased competition in the still-solicitor-monopolised legal services sector.

While the Law Society of Scotland have been kind enough to publicise the change of presidency by focussing on the usual self congratulatory messages, what Drumsheugh Gardens chose not to reveal was regulatory record, or the amount of client complaints made against the law firm of Mr Millar.

Scotsman coverage of some of the stories relating to Andrew PenmanLindsays bought up Borders law firm linked to Law Society-Penman scandal. Lindsays, who, on their website describe themselves as “ a highly-regarded Scottish law firm. We combine high levels of service with legal expertise to tailor the best possible outcomes and results for you, your business, or your family.” purchased a law firm based in Jedburgh, named Turnbull Simpson & Sturrock in early 2007 which were heavily involved in the maladministration of my late father’s estate by Borders solicitor Andrew Penman of Stormonth Darling Solicitors, Kelso, which used to be a partner firm to Turnbull Simpson & Sturrock until the Scotsman newspaper began reporting on the Law Society cover up of my complaint against Mr Penman.

Philip YellandThe Law Society’s Philip Yelland personally handled complaints against Penman & Sturrock. As the Scotsman continued to report on the Law Society’s whitewash of the complaints against Mr Penman, Turnbull Simpson & Sturrock’s senior partner, Mr David Sturrock took over the administration of my late father’s estate, only to make the actions of Mr Penman and the accountant/executor Norman Howitt (still working as an accountant at JRW Group) much worse, resulting in several more years of financial damage & negligence which was carefully swept under the carpet by the Law Society of Scotland in the true cover up style we have all come to expect from lawyers investigating themselves.

Turnbull Simpson & Sturrock JedburghJedburgh based Turnbull, Simpson & Sturrock – Complaints of poor & negligent service to clients were whitewashed by Law Society of Scotland. Equally many other complaints made against Turnbull Simpson & Sturrock by locals in Jedburgh & the surrounding area received a similar whitewash treatment, but as with many Borders firms, they only continue to survive because locals have no one else to use when it comes to legal services, hence you can get a situation where one day, someone brings a large ornate gold mantle piece clock into a jewellers for valuation, allegedly owned by a solicitor, but which in reality was stolen from a house of a deceased client whose will was being handled by that very same solicitor who claimed to own it .. and nothing done about the incident (& many others) by the Law Society or the authorities, although in the case of the clock, it was apparently returned to the family after the conscientious jeweller told the relatives of the deceased … (details ring any bells ? – PC)

So, don’t expect any changes at the Law Society of Scotland this coming year which might benefit consumers, clients of solicitors, or anyone seeking redress or justice against ‘crooked lawyers’ … its more a case of ‘business as usual, burn the client for as much as you can, and if you do anything bad we will let you get away with it’ but you expected me to say that anyway, because its always the case with the Law Society … business as usual …

If you are in the Borders looking for legal services and want any recommendations, well .. I wouldn’t recommend any legal firms in Jedburgh – simply, you’d be much better off just opening your front door and letting the burglars walk into your house .. because you can expect the same treatment if you take on any of the town’s law firms as your legal representatives …

The Law Society of Scotland’s announcement of their latest President, Mr Jamie Millar :

New President of the Law Society of Scotland

Jamie Millar, a partner with Lindsays solicitors, has become the President of the Law Society of Scotland.

Mr Millar (61) has been vice-president since May 2009, and was the Society’s Treasurer for three years before that. He has been a member of the Council for six years and served as a member of a Client relations Committee for seven years from 1997.

A trainee with the then Tindal, Oatts and Rodger, Mr Millar qualified in 1973. He was a partner with the firm from 1975 to 1986. From 1986 to 2006 he was a partner at Bishops and from 2006 he was a partner at Brodies.

Jamie has over thirty years experience as a corporate lawyer specialising in acquistions/mergers, joint ventures, trade associations and corporate governance.

“The Legal Services Bill has been the major focus for the Society in the past year and will continue to be in the coming months as the Society looks at how it could regulate the new business models as well as supporting the profession during their introduction.

“The Society is continuing its modernisation programme to meet the profession’s needs now and into the future, and with that the profession continue to be consulted and asked for feedback as we develop services which will support them during this challenging time.

”Scotland’s solicitors play a major part in Scotland’s economy and I would like that to be recognised. The Society will continue to promote the profession to attract business to Scotland and enhance our economy.”

One of the key areas of work the Society is focusing on is the implementation of its review of education and training in 2010-2011.

Thursday 27 May

To sum up the latest President, his own quote seems appropriate : ”Scotland’s solicitors play a major part in Scotland’s economy and I would like that to be recognised. The Society will continue to promote the profession to attract business to Scotland and enhance our economy.” – Yes they certainly do, although not always in an honest manner, as the complaints statistics over the years have & continue to illustrate …

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,