LegalEagleStar

… a kind of Legal Column

Posts Tagged ‘Mental health

You Need Your Solicitor

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At Early & Baldwin we divide our work into three separate Departments. Personal Injuries, Family Law and Probate & Conveyancing. Over the years it has actually evolved that way due to our involvement with our clients and their needs. When I qualified in 1980 there was in general, the local solicitor who undertook all types of work. I had been a Director of The Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) so had been heavily involved in Family Law. I was in charge of the Ballymun Centre located in the basement of Padraic Pearse Tower, since demolished as part of the Ballymun Regeneration Scheme. Our clients, primarily the women of Ballymun with children, needed us when their husbands abandoned them. There was no civil legal aid available to people and FLAC stood in to help. Disgraceful situation people were in but sure this is Ireland, and it seems we’re used to it ! While they were tough times, it really was the first time in my life that I came face to face with such abject poverty and deprivation. A learning curve I would never forget. After qualifying, I did a lot of Family Law Cases and indeed, continue to do so today. I’ve recently engaged the services of Carol McGuinness, one of the best family lawyers around, to head up our Department.

 

Well then… Why did we open a Department dealing with Personal Injury Law?                In 1987 my law firm partner Kevin Early died. He was primarily involved in the Conveyancing and Probate work, while I looked after Litigation and indeed Family Law. With the introduction of lawyer advertising, which was not previously available, I saw an opportunity to change the direction of the firm from where we were, a general practice, to a more progressive model which could be developed to better meet the needs of our clients. I made it policy that we would not act for Banks, Insurance Companies or indeed large Corporations. I felt that as our clients were ordinary decent people that we owed it to them to act solely for them and not have any conflict of interest. Unlike some of Ireland’s ‘leading’ law firms which it appears, employ ‘Chinese Walls’ to enable them act for all sides !  But I digress.

 

We made some radio ads, employing Emmet Bergin to do the voice overs. He was the sexy Auctioneer in the RTE Sunday night soap Glenroe. The ads worked well and we established a Personal Injury Law Firm. This Firm took on the cases of the ‘little guy’. There was a great buzz in the Office. We all pulled together and engaged with our clients. We saw people at the lowest point in their lives having suffered in an accident. Many lost limbs or had disfiguring injuries.  We came into contact with mental health issues and depression. All of life flashed before us and we felt job satisfaction like never before.

 

All this continued for a number of years until our Government, after lobbying from the Insurance Industry, brought in PIAB, the Injuries Board to take our work away and take it out of the hands of lawyers. It seems they only felt that Big Corporates should avail of lawyers, not the man/woman in the street. Even the Law Society were not happy with our Firm. Their Director General personally told me that they ‘didn’t act for me’. Tough times followed but eventually the Courts pointed out the error of their ways to the Government who couldn’t Ban Lawyers from Personal Injury Cases. The injuries Board continues but we can take our cases to the Courts once we deal with the formalities, should it be appropriate.

Well, as a result, we now have a Personal Injury Department. Excellent people I work with and great clients as before.

 

LegalEagleStar , Wednesday 26th. July 2017.

 

 

Written by LegalEagleStar

July 26, 2017 at 4:22 pm

End of Days… and Remembering the Poor at Christmas, it just might be You !

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Homeless

Homeless (Photo credit: fotografar)

According to the Mayan Calendar, tomorrow marks the end of the world. Living in Ireland today we might think that the end of the world, as we know it, is indeed nigh. So, if you are reading this next Saturday, the prophesy is obviously wrong but you never know. Stranger things have happened as my Uncle Bernie used to say.

For many years now I have had the privilege, as a solicitor, to act for some of those we refer to as the poor. I do not make such a reference in any disparaging way but mention it now as it appears to be more meaningful at this time of year and in the Ireland of Christmas 2012.  Scripture mentions that the poor will always be with us, but today, more than anytime I can remember, the poor are very close to us. Yes, those living in this depressing country called Ireland. It was not always so. I love my country and condemn those that have abused it for their own selfish needs.

Poverty can be of many varieties. The obvious being those on low and middle incomes who have found it desperately hard to pay their household bills; to feed their children and indeed put clothes on their backs. If it wasn’t for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, The Simon Community and other such charities, many would have lost their homes and literally be on the side of the road. Those that have, will and should dig deep into their pockets in order to help their fellow-man survive this tough winter. We live in unprecedented times when our Government has literally turned their backs on the Irish Citizens in pursuit of a greater European vision of a New Beginning. Unfortunately that vision does not cater for, nor improve the lot of the working man. It is a Europe where Big Business will thrive at the expense of the ordinary citizen.

There is another type of poverty rampant in Ireland today that crosses all class barriers, if indeed you do believe in the class system, which I do not. This is the issue of the mental health of the nation. While you may be lucky enough to be able to pay your bills this winter, you may well be suffering mental illness brought on, in many cases by the disastrous state of the country. Those that brought about this economic decline and indeed those that continue the austerity policies which are drowning the citizens in debt, have a lot to answer for. The number of suicides is unacceptable but seem to be the inevitable consequences of austerity and the policies being imposed by those Elites who continue to pursue their own selfish agenda to the detriment of the citizen. Shame on them and their fellow travellers.

May I wish everyone a Happy and Holy Christmas but ask that you remember those less well off than yourself especially at this time of year. Be as generous as you can and remember to spend time with people. Many times it is the time spent with our fellow-man that brings about the most benefits. If the Mayans have got it right, then maybe our suffering poor can be spared the indignity of yet another harsh winter of discontent.

LegalEagleStar , Thursday 20th. December , 2012.

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