Hands up if you think the expression Honest Lawyer is a contradiction in terms!
It is fair to say that lawyers have never had the best press in the world. Many people wrongly quote Shakespeare in Henry VI - "The first thing we must do is kill all the lawyers,".
In fact the actual context relates to the role of lawyers in protecting the rule of law. But it probably reflects what many people think.
As in all areas of life there are good lawyers and bad. But in my 30 odd years as a solicitor, not only have I never been out to make a fortune at clients’ expense, I don’t know of any others either.
The problem is that whenever politicians or the media need someone to blame the lawyers fit the bill. So the mythical compensation culture is the fault of no win no fee lawyers. The drain on the NHS is blamed on clinical negligence lawyers. Lawyers are blamed for defending the rights of those accused of crimes and those seeking asylum. It seems that if there is any group in society that they want to attack the finger is pointed at the easier target – the lawyers. In the age of bankers’ bonuses and phone hacking this all seems a bit dated.
Most lawyers I know are just working long hours to achieve a good result for their clients. Sometimes that means speaking up for the unpopular but in a democracy they are entitled to a voice.
Now I am not calling for a – Be Kind to Lawyers Day
But there are many myths about lawyers and the law. To be honest they have not always done themselves favours in the past. But we live in a different age. So as I mentioned a few weeks ago – don’t be scared of seeing a lawyer. Ask questions. Be clear about what you want. And tell them if you are not happy.
Fighting for your rights – honest..