Sharp practice by solicitors

Letter in today’s Irish Times



Several solicitors have expressed concerns (November 2nd, 3rd, 6th) arising from the activities of two of their colleagues, Michael Lynn and Thomas Byrne.

Some blame the situation on the intense pressure solicitors are under, the exploitation of solicitors by the banks and the greed of some clients who are prepared to risk paying peanuts for monkeys.

Also, in mitigation of their profession, they trot out the old canard that only a few rotten apples are involved – thus suggesting that, by and large, the legal profession has its house in order.

The reality is different. In recent years it has become obvious that solicitors, operating under the privileged protection of self-regulation, are among the least accountable groups in society. It is ridiculous and unacceptable that the Law Society should regulate and at the same time represent its members.

This scandal is just the latest in a series that have brought the profession into disrepute. The disgraceful rip-off by solicitors of abuse victims appearing before the Residential Institution Redress Board has yet to be resolved more than two years after the victims were assured by the Law Society that their cases would be dealt with immediately and transparently through a fast-track system.

In his letter of November 2nd, Muredach Doherty is highly critical of the banks, claiming they are at least morally deserving of the difficulties they find themselves in as a result of the activities of Byrne and Lynn.

He and his colleagues would be well advised to examine the quality of morality in their own profession in order to preserve a rapidly dwindling level of public trust. – Yours, etc,