… a kind of Legal Column

Archive for April 2012

The Morality of Lawyers acting for Banks

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Eviction in Ireland around 1879 ("Land Wa...
Eviction in Ireland around 1879 (“Land War”) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I qualified over thirty years ago. During that time I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with and acting against some great lawyers, both solicitors and barristers. They fight tooth and nail for their clients and after an exhausting battle, we retire for coffee, or stronger and engage with each other as colleagues. I have great memories over those years and sadly some of these people have died and moved on to greener pastures. They epitomised what the law was about. The battle was by and large, a clean one. You didn’t have to watch your back, just concentrate on the job in hand. Your clients interests were what it was about. There was always a great satisfaction when the job was done and your client went off happy. As I am not in the habit of losing cases, I can say that this was nearly always the case. That might sound smug. It’s not meant to be. I have always surrounded myself with the best team available and this has been the recipe for success.

Unfortunately, all encounters have not been as described above. When dealing with the Irish Nationwide on behalf of a client who was in financial difficulties, I encountered a somewhat different story. The client was clearly in arrears but upon investigation I couldn’t make head nor tail of the figures. No matter how I read them, they didn’t add up. The Nationwide’s solicitors just wanted an Order for Possession and were not prepared to engage in any manner so the matter proceeded in the Circuit Court. Judge Frank Roe, then President of the Circuit Court had the same difficulty with the case as I had and decided to strike out their case and awarded costs to my client. Some days later I received a phone call from the Solicitor for the Building Society. It took me aback somewhat. He told me that he was phoning me on the instructions of his client. He named his instructing Arrears Manager and said he had instructions to call me  ‘a Liar’. I asked him to repeat what he had just said and indeed he did. I asked him did he do everything his client told him to do? He replied Yes, of course. I hung up on him after a few brief words which I will not repeat.

When I was qualified a couple of years I was asked by my local friendly Bank if I would take a look at something for them. As I knew the Assistant Manager, I said ‘No problem’. I was expecting something of a personal nature as I do get the odd call from them when they encounter matrimonial difficulties and such like. What I was presented with was a list of debts outstanding at the branch. I browsed through the list and was horrified as it was like reading a list of old age pensioners in the area. The amounts varied from Fifteen to One Thousand pounds. I stormed into the Bank and informed them that under no circumstances would I take action on their behalf against these pensioners and in fact if they pursued them I would act for free for them against the Bank. I think about three of the pensioners came into me and happily all arrears were written off. It opened my eyes as to how the Banks treat weak and vulnerable people and I made a decision that day that I would never act on behalf of a Bank or Building Society ever, as a matter of principle.

Some months ago I was disgusted, while listened to the Morning Show on Newstalk, to hear a Solicitor talking about how he was really doing well acting in repossessions for the local Banks. He had no qualms about so acting. He went on to say that since the recession had taken a grip that he was now dealing with ‘a better class of client’.  I sometimes wonder about the morality of acting on behalf of some people. If solicitors really valued their clients and by clients I mean people, the citizens of this country, would they not think twice and look beyond the professional fee. How can you in all honesty act for such institutions as the Banks and the cohorts in having someone evicted from their family home ?  Do they have a conscience?  While in other countries lawyers are to the forefront of social reform and indeed put their lives on the line for their principles, it would seem that in Ireland today the lure of manna is all that excites some people who I would once have expected to be men and women of integrity.

LegalEagleStar , Wednesday , 25th. April , 2012 .

Written by LegalEagleStar

April 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Today I lost my Best Pal. Jerry Lee R.I.P.

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Jerry Lee has been my constant Companion, always at my side, since he was 10 months old. The late Paddy Hughes, who at one stage worked with the German Shepherds in Dublin Airport, got him for me from a Breeder in Carlow. Paddy knew that I wanted a companion so spent many months looking for the right dog for me. And boy, did he get me the very best German Shepherd that I could ever have wished for.

Jerry Lee was a quiet dog by nature, although he’s undergone Protection Dog Training prior to my acquiring him. Paddy phoned me up and asked me to call out to his house in Dunshaughlin. I left my eldest daughter Lisa and son Tom to the Airport as they were off on holidays to Lanzarote before driving excited to see Paddy. When I arrived he brought me down to see Jerry Lee. He put a lead on him and had me walk him. From that moment we developed an instant bond which was never to be broken. Later that day I brought him home where he met Rachel, my other daughter and within a short time he had sussed out that there were more than the two of us living there. The next weekend he met Lisa and Tom and a great family relationship was started.

Over the years he has stood with me at the side of a soccer pitch watching Tom progress in the game. When Tom headed to England he missed him but delighted at his many visits home. He also went to work with me and would sit behind my desk as good as gold for as long as I was working. He also delighted in attending meetings with the Bank and I can tell you that he didn’t suffer them fools at all. He would stare them out of it and make them feel uncomfortable, which I must admit gave me great satisfaction. Upon the birth of my Grandson ‘Toes’ Jerry Lee was always on hand to keep a watchful eye over him. I only hope that the pup he has been grooming for me, Nala, will be even half as good. Big boots to fill.

Last night his back legs became paralysed and when I got him to the Vet this morning, the prognosis wasn’t good. In order to spare him any pain or disappointment I decided to let my Best Pal go. I am heart-broken as are my children but we all feel privileged to have known the most intelligent, loving and loyal dog anyone could ever imagine. I know Jerry Lee is now in a better place and hope that Paddy and indeed my late father enjoy his companionship until I meet with him again.

Love you Jerry Lee. Good Bye Pal and I will meet up with you again soon.

LegalEagleStar, Easter Sunday , 8th. April , 2012

Written by LegalEagleStar

April 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm

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