What's worse than 2 dead lawyers?
Just 1 dead lawyer! Yeah, I know, stupid joke but the following may slightly justify it.
Ursula and I have been looking for a new lawyer for a while now and, as we're hanging near Nerja for a while thought we'd look there. Our last lawyer was a Spanish Abogado in Antequera but with their poor English and our poor Spanish, communication was never easy. Anyway, they were consumed by a host of personal problems and unable to continue working for a while, so we were on our own at a difficult time when strong legal representation could really have helped.
Needing to be able to communicate clearly and easily and hoping to find someone more dynamic and proactive, we thought we'd go for an English lawyer based in Spain, hoping to get the best of both worlds. After some research, a likely candidate emerged; a team of English and Spanish lawyers with branches in Nerja, Marbella and London. So I phoned up to make an appointment and had the following conversation with a snobby person who might have been called Naomi.
Me: Hi, I'm looking for a lawyer to represent my wife and I in some future property deals, company formation stuff and some personal matters and would like to come in for a meeting to see if you would be right to represent us.
Snobbette: Er, so you want a consultation?
Me: No, I want to meet with, interview if you like, one of your senior partners to see if you would fit with us and our plans.
Trust me, if you're going to work with lawyers, they often come to know more about you than anybody else; wife, parents, doctor, holy person if you're that way inclined, none of these will ever know as much as your lawyer, so it's important to work with someone you feel comfortable with.
Snobbette: A___ J______ is the partner here.
Me: How long has he been with the firm?
Snobbette: Oh, about a year!
This should have been my tip that these people weren't clued up!
Me: You do remember me saying I wanted to meet with a senior partner?
Snobbette: Shall I set up the consultation?
Me: Why don't you tell AJ what I've told you and check with him?
After several mins on hold, Snobbette returns...
Snobbette: Mr J will meet with you but if he gives you any advice the charge will be 80 Euros an hour.
Me: Oh, there won't be any advice given, I just want to meet to see if I think you'd be right for us
Snobbette: Er, so you don't want legal advice?
Me: NO! I want to interview one of your senior partners to see if you'd be the right legal represention for us!
I'm not famous for my patience and this clueless twit is really starting to hack me off. I'm looking for sharp legal minds and I'm practically being hustled for a lousy 80 Euros.
Me: Have you told AJ what I said?
Snobbette: Yes and he said he would meet with you but if he gave you any advice it would be for 80 Euros an hour.
Me: I've decided you're not the right firm for us, you don't hear what I'm saying to you and all you want to talk about is money, before we've even met. Goodbye.
And I hang up.
A few days later, Ursula and I are walking in Nerja and see a little law firm and for some reason are drawn to their door. I didn't really want to go in, still hacked off over my last lawyer experience and not being sure where to try next, given our English strategy was in tatters. So Ursula popped in and got their card and told me that everyone in there spoke English, though appeared to be Spanish. I noticed they had a website and planned to check them out later back home.
I didn't actually get round to looking at their site til the next day, but, surprise, it was built in not only Spanish, but also English and German! And it was a good site, nice simple design, quick to load and easy to use and not too big! And their philosophy of getting to know the client, of treating the client's needs and problems as if they were their own, was just what we needed! This was looking good.
They had a page showing all the staff, their qualifications and areas of expertise and I was able to identify 3 or 4 who had the necessary legal and commercial background. S0 I phoned up and was able to set up a meeting the next day with one of the 3, a senior partner with a solid financial understanding. and we went in, had a great meeting with one Ernesto Yagüe Sánchez, who spoke good English and just seemed to get us straightaway.
To cut a long story shorter, we now have new lawyers in the shape of the good people of Del Prado & Partnersand are feeling a lot happier after another difficult 15 month stretch as we continue growing into our new lives here in Spain. Several people messed us about quite seriously during that time, our 3rd year in Spain, but now well into our 4th, we feel able to make up for lost time, confidence restored by the new alliance and come out fighting!
When you're a stranger in a strange land, and are doing any kind of business, it's vital to have a strong team of people supporting you, to protect you against yourself and your lack of knowledge of the way they do things here, the very different way of doing things they have here in Spain. And now we do! So watch out world, here we come, again.