Letter: ‘Less is more’

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Now that the innate lunacy of capitalism is threatening the profit margins of Scotland’s lawyers (Business, 14 February), we are not surprised to hear a voice from the Scottish legal establishment bewailing the “part” played by clients in this unfolding tragedy.

According to Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Law Society, “the legal services sector will remain highly competitive with clients continually pushing to get more for less, particularly in the current economic climate”.

The most exhaustive search of every relevant archive would never reveal a statement from any section of the legal establishment to the effect that, in the good old days, clients were regularly short-changed by a culture of “less for more” when many unaccountable (they regulate themselves) solicitors, advocates and QCs peddled untenable advice, baffling opinions, anaemic advocacy, petulant pomposity, boorish arrogance and a very shaky grasp of the relevant law. This talent was packaged as the provision of “professional services”.

The consequent complaints that flooded through the doors of the Law Society and the Faculty of Advocates (the self-regulators) were dealt with in the customary manner: they were dipped in a vat of bubbling sophistry, rinsed in a solution of obfuscation and untreated obscurantism and then, with the precision traditionally associated with keyhole surgery, sprayed and coated with shimmering chicanery.

This process is classified in-house as “facilitating total exoneration”.

A microscopic analysis of all the correspondence between the regulators and the complainants failed to reveal any trace of the regulators “pushing” to criticise the “less for more” philosophy that compelled clients to waste their time by complaining to the Law Society and the Faculty of Advocates.

Thomas Crooks

Dundas Street